Nursing homes are supposed to help the elderly and infirm get well, stay well, and maintain some standard of living that is worth living. When you put your elderly parents in a nursing home, you expect them to be taken care of. Unfortunately, there are always a couple of bad apples in the bunch. If your mother or father recently died, and he or she died after a fall on the nursing home property, you may have a lawsuit. Here is what you should do next.
Meet with a Slip and Fall Attorney to Discuss the Particulars
You should meet with an attorney within days after accident, or, if the death occurred a few days after the accident, with a few days of the funeral. It is imperative that you meet with the lawyer as soon as possible, as some wrongful deaths attributed to falling have statutes of limitations set on them. If you wait too long, you cannot gather enough evidence or make any valid points to prove that the fall was the result of your parent's death.
Get Your Parent's Records from the Nursing Home Right Away
Before a nursing home can do anything shady, like hide an accident report, you need to get copies of the records. You can do this so long as you were your parent's physical/health guardian. Make sure you have a full and complete file, from the time your parent entered the home until the time of his/her death. Compare the record against any medical or health appointments that you took your parent to, to verify that it is a complete record.
Give the Record and Your Parent's Doctors' Names to Your Lawyer
The lawyer will need a copy of the record, too. Be sure to round up the names of all of the doctors that your parent was seeing during the last six months, regardless of specialty. The investigative work your lawyer does into the accident will require ruling out any health issue that could have contributed to the death and not to a case of negligence or wrongful death. Being able to talk to all of your parent's doctors is essential to this investigation and ruling out anything the defense might have to say on the matter.
Asserting That the Death Was Caused by the Fall
When your lawyer has definitively ascertained that the fall caused your parent's death, the next step is to assert that the improper care of your parent was wrongful death from negligent actions on the part of the nursing home staff. It is important to find out how frequently rounds were supposed to be done on residents in the nursing home, and whether or not the staff provided for the needs of your parent before, during, and after the fall. This is where nursing home documentation helps, and why you needed to get it as soon as possible.
Failure to Act
Once you are able to prove that the nursing home staff failed to act when your parent was in pain and did not seem otherwise unable to move, you can prove neglect and wrongful death. Clearly, the staff should have made an effort to report the pain your parent was experiencing. They should also have made an attempt to get your parent to a hospital to check for a broken hip or other broken bones.
Broken bones can puncture organs just enough to cause internal bleeding. Choosing to treat a broken bone as nothing more than a broken bone is dangerous and potentially lethal. Expert medical witnesses can attest to this. Now you are ready to go to court and get compensation for your parent's death. For more information, contact companies like Putnam Lieb Potvin.