In a tragic incident in Suffolk County, a 72-year-old woman died when she was not attached to a ventilator, as per the doctor’s orders. According to a report by one local news source, several employees at the Medford Multicare Center for Living were indicted for their role in the woman’s death, including the administrator, the respiratory therapy director, and several nurses.
Back in May of this year, several of the employees who were charged with caring for the woman were charged with various crimes of negligence. While the woman’s death occurred back in 2012, the indictments were just handed down this year. While those involved still need to stand trial to determine their guilt or innocence, the possibility of a civil suit still remains to be seen.
Civil Suits Versus Criminal Investigations and Charges
In the article above, the report notes that the nursing home employees whom the attorney general believes to be responsible are now facing criminal charges for their role. However, there may be an entirely separate suit brought by the families of the deceased woman under the legal theory of wrongful death.
A wrongful death claim asserts that another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct resulted in the death of a loved one. Generally, a wrongful death plaintiff must be closely related to the deceased person. In New York, the elements of a wrongful death claim are slightly different than in some states. They are:
- The plaintiff must prove that there was a death;
- The death must have been caused by the wrongful conduct of the defendant;
- The wrongful act on the part of the defendant must give rise to a cause of action at the moment of death (as opposed to later on);
- The plaintiff must have some surviving distributees who have suffered some kind of pecuniary loss; and
- There must be a personal representative appointed to bring the suit.
If all of these elements are met, the person or people responsible for the victim’s death may be held financially liable for the losses of the deceased loved ones. Once the liability of the parties is determined, the jury then determines what amount of damages is appropriate.
In many cases, the bulk of the litigation comes dawn to whether the death was “caused” by the defendants. Often, defendants will argue that their role in a death was minor, and that the death was actually a result of some other factor. If a defendant is successful in arguing this, the plaintiff will not be permitted to recover.
Are You Thinking of Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you have recently lost a loved one due to the negligence of a nursing home or hospital, you may be entitled to monetary damages based on the negligence of the other parties. However, hospitals and nursing homes are experienced in defending against these types of lawsuits and have experienced attorneys to represent them in these matters. To ensure that you stand the best chance of recovering what you deserve, call (516) 394-4200 to schedule a free initial consultation with a nursing home attorney today.
We will fight for your justice. We understand that your fight will be our fight & fighting for the absolute best outcome is our priority.