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Who Is Liable for Wrongful Death in Phoenix Nursing Homes?

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on November 22, 2016

Recently there have been quite a few wrongful death cases filed against nursing homes across the US. With the “baby boomer” generation entering their older years, the long-term care population is soon going to spike. The laws and policies regarding wrongful death claims against nursing homes have some variations among the states, including who associated with the deceased is able to file a wrongful death case. Wrongful death is defined in AZ Statute as being someone’s death resulting from wrongful action or neglect. Further, if the deceased were still alive, they would have qualified to bring a personal injury suit seeking damages. The AZ Statute states that a suit for wrongful death can be entered in the name of the surviving spouse, child, parent, guardian, or if none exist, the representative of the deceased’s estate.

Arizona specifically addresses injury & death liability for providers assigned to long-term care in the Adult Protective Services Act (APSA). Some of the key aspects of this act, which pertain specifically to our purposes include:

  • Purposeful physical harm
  • Injury resulting from negligence or inaction
  • Unreasonably confining a vulnerable adult
  • Assaults of a sexual nature
  • Defines the purpose of the AZ long-term care ombudsman, who investigates or refers cases for investigation.
  • Explains the duty of care providers to report any and all cases of reasonably suspected abuse, and more…

The Arizona statute allows for damages associated with either:

  • Those endured by the deceased and his/her estate.
  • Those endured by the remaining family.

These damages (relative to our purposes) include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral costs
  • The remaining family’s loss of companionship, pain and suffering.

Recent Case Review in Arizona

A 2015 Maricopa County Superior Court case was heard by a jury resulting from a resident’s death when she contracted the bacterium known as MRSA, which was a result of a bedsore that developed at the facility. The daughter of the deceased brought the case seeking damages, stemming from a “chain reaction” of occurrences at the facility.

  • Deceased was admitted and developed a bed sore.
  • This sore soon became infected with MRSA
  • In her weakened condition, the deceased suffering several falls, allowing the infection’s development
  • She was subsequently hospitalized and died from pneumonia.
  • The facility argued that the resident’s pre-existing condition caused her bedsore, and ultimately her death.
  • The jury ruled that the wrongful death claim was not proven; however, they awarded $2.5 million for damages resulting from negligence that led to her suffering for approximately six-months.

Have the actions or negligence of an Arizona long-term care facility resulted in the injury or death of a loved one? Make the call to the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. by calling (602) 457-6222. We have the experience and network of resources necessary to obtain compensation through verdicts and settlements.

Posted in: Nursing Home Abuse

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