What to Know Before Suing a Nursing Home for Wrongful Death

June 9, 2023

Wrongful death is a painful and difficult reality for families. When a loved one passes away due to the negligence of another, families often want to seek justice for their family member by filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties.

But before you rush forward with this decision, it’s important to understand the legal realities of suing a nursing home for wrongful death. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that filing this type of claim may be difficult. State and federal laws protect nursing homes well, and any legal action taken against them must comply with this legislation.

This article will discuss what you need to know before considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home. We’ll explore the legal basics and some considerations you should make during decision-making.

Overview of Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Our aging loved ones deserves to be cared for in a safe and nurturing environment. When those entrusted with their care fall short of the promised standards, the trust between patient and caregiver is broken. When a nursing home’s negligence results in the wrongful death of a loved one, it can have a profound effect on family members.

Thankfully, families of nursing home abuse or neglect victims may have legal options. Sometimes, they can take action by filing a claim to recover compensation for medical expenses and damages.

Before filing such a suit, it’s important to understand what wrongful death is, who can file a suit, and how much compensation is allowed under the law. It’s also important to know what evidence will be necessary for success—including medical records, police reports, and witness statements.

Families should also understand that wrongful death lawsuits are complex legal matters which require experienced representation for maximum success.

Requirements for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Nursing Home

If a loved one has passed away due to negligence in a nursing home, filing a wrongful death claim could be an option. However, knowing the requirements before proceeding with any action is important. Here’s what you need to know before pursuing a wrongful death claim against a nursing home.

  • The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate must file a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina.
  • There must be damages resulting from the wrongful death. These damages include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
  • The care provided by the nursing home must have been below the accepted standards of care. For this to hold ground in court, you’ll need evidence of any standards violated by the nursing home.
  • Finally, there must be proof that they had responsibility for the damages caused by their negligence—meaning that the nursing home was directly responsible for your loved one’s passing.

Knowing these requirements upfront can help you decide whether or not filing a wrongful death claim against a nursing home is feasible and worth pursuing in your situation.

Proving Negligence in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claims

When someone dies because of the negligence of a nursing home, you may be able to sue for wrongful death. To succeed in a wrongful death claim, you must prove that the nursing home’s negligence caused the death.

nursing home neglect can lead to a resident's death.

Duty of Care

You will need to establish that the facility had a duty of care to the deceased person and breached or failed to meet that duty. This can be done by showing that the facility was negligent in its care or treatment of the deceased person. Negligence may include failure to provide proper medical care, failure to properly manage medications, or failure to protect them from abuse or neglect.

Breach of Duty

To prove negligence, you must also prove that the breach of duty was a direct cause of your loved one’s death. This means you have to show there was a connection between any negligent action taken by the facility and your loved one’s death. This can involve presenting evidence such as medical records and testimony from witnesses familiar with how the facility handled the deceased person’s care.


Finally, you must demonstrate that damages were incurred as a result of your loved one’s death. In other words, if successful in a wrongful death claim against a nursing home, you must be able to demonstrate what value has been lost due to their negligence—this could include economic losses such as lost wages and non-economic losses like emotional distress or loss of companionship.

Recoverable Damages in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases

Before you sue a nursing home for wrongful death, you should know what damages may be recoverable. Though what is recoverable will vary from case to case depending on the circumstances, here are some general damages that may be available.

Compensatory Damages

These damages are used to financially compensate the plaintiff for any losses they have suffered as a result of the wrongful death. Examples of compensatory damages include medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, especially when there is evidence of negligence or neglect on the defendant’s part, the court may award punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish and deter these types of behavior in future cases.

Non-Economic Damages

These types of damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff for pain and suffering from their loved one’s death. This could include emotional distress, loss of consortium (a spouse’s loss of affection or companionship), or other intangible losses.

Recoverable damages in wrongful death cases vary significantly from state to state, so it’s important to speak with an attorney familiar with your local laws before pursuing a claim. With their help and knowledge, you can ensure that you receive full compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death.

Get in Contact With a Connell Law Wrongful Death Attorney!

If you believe your loved one died due to the negligence of a nursing home, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek legal help. The experienced attorneys at Connell Law understand the trauma and emotional distress of losing a loved one and can help guide you through the wrongful death process.

At Connell Law, we provide dedicated representation from experienced wrongful death lawyers passionate about providing justice for families who have lost a beloved family member due to someone’s negligence. We understand that no amount of money will ever bring a lost loved one back, but we strive to hold responsible parties accountable to prevent other families from enduring similar losses.

If you believe that someone else is responsible for the death of your loved one, call us today at (803) 310-5700 for more information on how we can help. Let us fight for justice and get you the compensation you deserve for such an unimaginable loss.