Articles Tagged with wrongful death

nursesWhen you entrust a loved one to the care of a nursing home, you understand that there are certain risks and that certain bad things can happen. The chances are, though, that you don’t expect that those things include having your loved one brutally killed by their roommate in an unprovoked attack. Depending on the circumstances of the attack and the events leading up to the attack, the nursing home may have some responsibility for creating the conditions that led to the death. If that happens, your family might have certain legal rights against the nursing home. A knowledgeable Massachusetts nursing home negligence attorney can advise you about your options.

One of the most recent fatal roommate-on-roommate nursing home attack cases, reported by the Boston Globe, occurred at a nursing home in Randolph. The 86-year-old James was lying in bed when his roommate, the 58-year-old Walter, attacked him with a heavy ceramic flower pot. The next day, the injured man died from severe head trauma.

James’ death is not the first of its kind in Massachusetts. A few years ago, a family pursued a wrongful death action on behalf of their 100-year-old loved one. Elizabeth died after her 98-year-old nursing home roommate, Laura, beat her and then strangled and suffocated her with a plastic bag. Elizabeth’s family was unable to win their wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home because they simply didn’t have the evidence they needed to show that the nursing home knew or should have known that Laura was at risk of murdering her roommate.

Legal News GavelWhen you experience the loss of a loved one due to an accident, it is always devastating. If that accident occurred because someone else was negligent, the issues you may be facing multiply. In addition to your family issues, that negligence may create legal issues. The loss of your loved one undoubtedly did major damage to your emotional happiness, and it may also have done major damage to the financial stability of your family. For all of these processes, it is important to retain a skilled Massachusetts wrongful death attorney to represent you and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Developing and presenting a persuasive case in a wrongful death action involves many types of evidence. A recent example was the case of a man named Albert, who sued a convenience store chain for the wrongful death of his wife, Kimmy. When the couple stopped at the store’s location in Chicopee, Kimmy went inside for coffee while Albert parked the vehicle. As the woman began to enter the store, an 81-year-old man, who may have had a stroke, raced his Ford Explorer through the parking lot and into the façade of the store at more than 55 mph. A store worker was hurt, and Kimmy was killed.

Albert sued the convenience store chain for Kimmy’s wrongful death. In a wrongful death case like this, you can pursue your case under a premises liability theory. This means that, much as with a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident that causes injuries, you can establish the property owner’s liability by showing that there was a dangerous condition present on the property, that the property owner knew or reasonably should have known about the hazard, that the property owner failed to fix the problem, and that this unresolved hazard caused the victim’s injuries.

Legal News GavelFor many people, the decision to enter (or to place a loved one in) a nursing home is a difficult and stressful one. The time when the patient first goes into the facility is one filled with many changes and many necessary things to consider. One thing that may be easy to overlook is the paperwork that must be signed as part of the admissions process. Don’t make the mistake of just “glossing over” this step and automatically signing everything put in front of you without legal counsel. Some of these documents may be optional, and signing them may not be in your family’s best interests in the event that you or your loved one is harmed as a result of negligence by the facility staff. Instead, make sure you are armed with knowledge before you sign by relying on the representation of a knowledgeable Massachusetts nursing home negligence attorney.

Knowing before you sign is important because, once you sign, you may not be able to “take it back,” and that signature could be a significant negative for your family. For example, take the federal case involving Emma, an elderly woman who entered a Chestnut Hill nursing home in early February 2013. Later that month, Emma’s daughter Jackalyn signed several documents related to the nursing home admissions process. Over the course of the month, the daughter signed in excess of a dozen documents, ranging from DNR to an authorization for assignment of insurance benefits. Among the numerous other documents Jackalyn signed, one was something called an “Arbitration Agreement,” which the daughter signed but didn’t date.

Early the following December, Emma died. Jackalyn subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. According to the daughter’s complaint, Emma died due to an extreme sepsis infection brought on by the pressure sores (or bedsores) on the woman’s body.

Legal News GavelWhen a loved one has been hurt, or has died, while in the care of a nursing home, it is a stressful time, and you very likely have a lot on your mind. Worrying about whether or not that arbitration agreement document you or your sibling signed when your mom or dad was admitted to the nursing home is valid is probably not at the top of your list of immediate concerns. However, it can make all of the difference when it comes to getting compensation for the nursing home’s negligence. Whether it is overcoming an arbitration agreement or defeating some other challenge in your negligence or wrongful death action, contact an experienced Massachusetts nursing home negligence attorney about your options in your case.

Last summer, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled in a case in which a daughter sought to sue her late mother’s nursing home for negligence. In that case, a daughter named Carol signed several papers on behalf of her mother when the mother was first admitted to the nursing home in 2013. Among those documents was an agreement stating that all disputes between the resident and the home would be resolved through arbitration instead of litigation. Carol did not have authority under any legal documents to sign on behalf of her mother. Her mother was not present when Carol signed, and the daughter did not discuss the document with the mother before the signature was made.

In early 2015, the mother died. A few months later, another daughter, Jeannette, who was also the administrator of the mother’s probate estate, sued the nursing home for negligence and wrongful death. The nursing home tried to invoke the arbitration agreement and get the judge to compel arbitration, but the court refused. The appeals court upheld that decision, concluding that there was no proof that Carol had any kind of authority to sign binding documents on behalf of her mother, and the absence of the mother’s signature, or the signature of someone legally empowered to act on her behalf, made the agreement unenforceable.

Legal News GavelWhen you entrust a loved one to a nursing home, you are entrusting them with one of the most important parts of your life. Sometimes, accidents are inevitable, even when proper care is provided. Other times, though, injuries happen (or are made worse) because nursing home staff don’t provide proper care, including sometimes not even following the facility’s own protocols. When that happens, you may be entitled to sue and obtain an award of compensation. Proof of things like a past history of similar problems or citations and fines following federal agencies’ investigations may help to strengthen your case further. Talk to an experienced Massachusetts nursing home negligence attorney about your situation and your options.

One recent case involved an accident with a tragic end. Walter was a highly accomplished accountant with many achievements, including helping to found a nursing home in Worcester. In 2016, after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, Walter moved into the nursing home that he helped to get started, according to a McKnights.com report.

In early August 2016, Walter got up in the night to go to the bathroom, but he fell and hit his head on a nightstand. A certified nursing assistant and a licensed practical nurse found Walter on the floor of his room. The pair helped Walter up, helped him to the bathroom, and then helped him back into bed.

Legal News GavelWhen a family makes the often difficult decision to place a family member in a nursing home, they are entrusting that facility with one of their most precious commodities:  a loved one. Nursing homes are supposed to be places where those requiring care and attention get what they need. Sometimes, though, that doesn’t happen, and the resident’s safety becomes compromised. When that happens, injuries or even death may be the result. In the case of an injury or death, knowledgeable Massachusetts nursing home negligence attorneys are available to help that family navigate the legal system.

A Massachusetts newspaper recently reported on the deaths of two residents of a Westboro nursing home and the legal actions that followed. The first of the two seniors to die at the Westboro facility was 89-year-old Betsy. Betsy had dementia and a history of falling. Betsy’s personal recliner had a chair alarm that would notify staff when she exited the recliner. One day in late July 2015, a certified nursing assistant at the nursing home helped Betsy get into the recliner but forgot to turn on the chair alarm, according to information the CNA provided to authorities. Betsy was discovered an hour later, face down on the floor, according to the Worcester Telegram.

According to the Telegram report, the staff at the nursing home knew Betsy had a head injury but, allegedly, did not notify a doctor or a nurse practitioner about her, even though the woman complained of head pain and had problems keeping food, liquid, or medications down. Two days after the accident, Betsy arrived at the emergency department of a nearby hospital. A radiology scan identified that she had a brain bleed. She died a week later.