When negligence of the staff or management at a Pennsylvania nursing home causes a premature death to your family member, a natural reaction is shock and outrage. You are furious because the people you have hired to look after your father, grandmother, or sister betrayed that trust so easily. You probably feel a little guilty, too, that you were unable to rescue your loved one from a dangerous living environment that led to his or her death.
But the idea of filing a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit may also leave a bad taste in your mouth. You don’t feel it is quite proper to profit from someone else’s death. You recognize that no amount of money will bring back your deceased relative, and trying to assign a financial worth to her life is petty and unfeeling.
The surprising news is that our Harrisburg nursing home abuse lawyers agree with you—to a point.
It’s not “profiting from the dead,” it’s collecting what you are due
Consider this: if your relative had left a life insurance policy payable to you after her death, or a bequest to you in her will, would you refuse the money? Of course not! Money obtained in this way both is a token of the bond of affection between you and the deceased, and an acknowledgment that you will have financial needs after your relative has passed away.
The same reasoning applies to a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home. You are not taking money from your deceased relative; you are demanding compensation from the nursing home that hurt you and other members of your family by its failure to take proper care of its residents. You have been harmed by the management and staff, and they are to be held accountable. You are eligible to receive this money because of your family bond with the deceased person and because you have suffered losses—financial and non-economic—from this premature death.
What you can fairly demand
In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death lawsuit can claim compensation for the parents, spouse, or children of a deceased person. After a nursing home fatality, they can demand a financial recovery for various categories of losses the family suffered as a result of the premature death. Typically, claims will include the following categories:
- Medical expenses incurred by the family as a result of the fatal incident
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages and future earnings if the deceased person was still employed
- Lost benefits, such as the value of pensions or health care benefits the person may have contributed to the family
- Lost emotional support, guidance, companionship, and other intangible benefits the person would have shared over the years with the family
- Punitive damages, if the nursing home or its staff operated in a particularly callous or deliberate way to hurt the decedent
Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, your family may be eligible to receive compensation only in some of these loss categories. To obtain a detailed, confidential analysis of where you stand after a Pennsylvania nursing home wrongful death, call (717) 888-8888 toll-free to connect to the Harrisburg wrongful death attorneys at Schmidt Kramer. In a FREE consultation, our legal team will explain your legal rights and how we are prepared to help you proceed.