Assisted Living Death Case

Case Type: Nursing Home, Wrongful Death
Jury Verdict: $ 5,000,080

Facts of the Case

Lawrence J. Buckfire won a jury verdict in the amount of $ 5,000,080.00 for the estate of a woman who died due to neglect in a Michigan assisted living facility. The 90 year old resident gained access to an unsecured cabinet in an open kitchen and drank a caustic chemical in an open container. She was not supervised by staff at the time of the incident. The evidence also established that the cabinet most likely was not locked or secured to prevent her from gain access to the dangerous substance.

The woman suffered severe burns to her mouth, throat, and esophagus and died two weeks later at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by her son as Personal Representative of her estate in the Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, Michigan.

Types of Injuries and Harm Suffered

The woman suffered severe burns to her mouth, throat, and esophagus and died two weeks later at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan. Hospital records showed that she had experienced significant pain and suffering during those two weeks prior to her death.

Legal Issues in the Case

  • Was the facility negligent for failing to properly supervise the resident?
  • Was the facility negligent for failing to store the substance in a locked cabinet?
  • Was the decedent comparatively negligent for ingesting the substance?
  • Did the decedent have conscious pain and suffering before she died?
  • What was the decedent’s life expectancy had she not passed away?
  • Did the surviving family members suffer a loss of society and companionship?

What We Did to Win the Settlement

Our experienced trial attorneys took the case to court because the Defendant would not offer to pay reasonable settlement. We took dozens of depositions of witnesses, performed multiple inspections of the property, and even created an exemplary kitchen cabinet to use at trial. We also hired an engineering expert, an assisted living facility expert, and a medical examiner to discuss the cause of death. The treating physician from the hospital also provided valuable testimony on the decedent’s pain and suffering prior to her death.

The trial involved seventeen live witnesses including family members, staff employees, facility management, EMS technicians, and an investigator with the State of Michigan. After a lengthy trial, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $ 5, 080,000 for the estate.