Wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against two Eureka nursing homes alleging that neglect and lack of nursing staff led to the deaths of two patients in 2016. According to a news report in the Times-Standard, both men died after developing severe pressure ulcers that became infected when they resided at the Eureka and Seaview rehabilitation and wellness centers. An attorney representing the families of the deceased said the facilities were consciously understaffed.
Lack of Care and Attention
Eureka was fined $160,000 by the state last month for patient care and staffing violations in 2016, which are being appealed by the nursing home. The lawsuit alleges that a 64-year-old man who was admitted to the nursing home for care developed tailbone ulcers in August 2016. His condition became so bad, the complaint said, that he had a large hole in his back. He eventually died from bone infection and pneumonia.
In the other case, a 76-year-old man who was admitted to Seaview developed a pressure ulcer. The complaint alleges that due to lack of care or attention, the man developed an abscess on his hipbone. During his stay there, the man never once got a shower or a bath and his nutrition or weight were not monitored regularly as required, the lawsuit states. He also died from the infection.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Under California law, a “wrongful death” refers to a death that has occurred due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. For example, in the case of the nursing home deaths, neglect and lack of care on the part of the nursing home staff is the basis of the wrongful death lawsuits. Often, in a wrongful death case, the person who is accused of causing the death would have a duty of care to the deceased. In this case, the nursing home and its employees had a duty of care to protect residents and provide a standard level of care for them.
In a fatal car accidents case, for example, a driver has a duty of care to operate a motor vehicle safely. If a motorist is found to have been operating a vehicle under the influence or while speeding or breaking the rules of the road, then, he or she can be found negligent and liable for the wrongful death of the decedent.
Justice and Compensation for Victims
A wrongful death claim is a civil action. This means it is different from a murder trial, which is adjudicated in criminal courts. In a homicide case, a jury will have to make a determination if a defendant is guilty of committing the crime. If found guilty, the defendant will be convicted and likely receive a prison sentence. In a civil wrongful death case, which is brought by survivors of the deceased, a jury will find whether a defendant is liable or not for the death. If so, defendants will be required to pay compensatory and often, punitive damages for the wrongful death.
Families should contact an experienced Sacramento wrongful death attorney if they have lost loved ones. Call the Demas Law Group P.C., at (916) 444-0100 for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.