What to Do After the Wrongful Death of an Elderly Person

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2018 | Personal Injury |

As our loved ones reach an advance age, we prepare ourselves for the inevitability of their death. It is a slow process and too often we are not prepared for when it actually happens naturally. However, while often we have those precious last moments to spend with them as they reach their end, they can be snatched away by those we thought we could trust to care for them.

As the baby boomer generation is aging fast, the elderly are the largest growing group in our population. With a growing number of people who can no longer care for themselves entering nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the added pressure on the staff leads to rampant cases of abuse or neglect. Even if the staff didn’t mean to be neglectful, if their neglect resulted in death, you have a strong wrongful death case.

The wrongful death of an elderly person is controlled by Minnesota Statute 573.02 which allows the next of kin to seek monetary damages if they believe that their elderly loved one was neglected or abused in some way. Although there is no cap on damages and punitive damages in extreme cases, Minnesota does not allow for damages to be sought on what often hurts the most in these cases – emotional damages.

Damages for grief, emotional distress, and pain and suffering will not be factored into the damages that you may seek. However, you may seek damages from the responsible party for the wrongful death. In most cases, this is not one person unless it becomes a criminal case, but rather a company such as the owner of the nursing home or the employer of a caretaker. However, even if there is one person that is specifically responsible for the wrongful death of your loved one, you can still seek damages, but you may need to wait until the criminal case has concluded.

There are a number of different factors that can affect the damages you will receive in a wrongful death claim, but they can include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical and hospital expense within reason
  • Costs of living or support provided by the elderly person
  • Overall health at time of passing and life expectancy

What Constitutes as Neglect and Abuse?

Due the occasionally vague nature of neglect, it is often difficult to tell if neglect caused an aged parent’s death versus the infirmities of advanced age. There are a few red flags to when it comes to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Frequently cited signs of abuse or neglect include:

  • Bed sores
  • Medication errors
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Signs of physical abuse such as bruises, cuts, and burns
  • Infectious diseases such as MRSA
  • Poor sanitation resulting in urinary infections or sepsis

If one or more of these neglectful actions were responsible for the death of an elder, a wrongful death suit can be filed.

When you are grieving over the loss of a loved one, bringing legal action may be the last thing your mind.  You need representation by a lawyer that understands how painful wrongful death can be. Not only can they be there to support you and answer your questions, but they can make sure you get the damages you deserve. If your loved one has suffered wrongful death in the Minnesota, contact us today. The experienced attorneys at the Meshbesher Law Firm can help you get compensation for your wrongful death case.

FindLaw Network