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What's needed to support a nursing home wrongful death claim?

A check of the headlines of a normal newspaper in Illinois won't reveal a lot of stories about wrongful death lawsuits against nursing homes. Such is not the case if you look at specialty news sources such as the

There are many items related to this issue and typically they reference the fact that a decedent's estate administrator is suing a nursing home alleging staff negligence that resulted in death. Often the administrator is an adult child or some other relative of the victim. What the stories tend not to provide is much detail about what happened.

Most personal injury cases, including those related to wrongful death, are taken on by experienced attorneys on a contingency basis, meaning clients pay nothing unless a settlement is obtained. While this means upfront costs don't need to be a concern, there are other elements to have grounds to make a case.

  • Negligence or intentional abuse must be shown to be a cause of death. The evidence must show defendants failed to fulfill a clear duty of care to the resident and that death was a direct result.

  • Loss or damage due to the death must be shown. This doesn't necessarily have to be direct financial loss. It could be based on pain and suffering of the victim preceding the death or the loss of companionship suffered by the decedent's survivors.

Monetary compensation for such losses is a far cry from ideal but it is about the only means available under the law. If you think you have a case and to be sure you understand your rights, options and possibilities, it's important to consult with skilled legal counsel before making any decisions.

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