It is not always the elderly who may be found at assisted living facilities; individuals who are young but who also have special needs may also require the services that they live-in care facility provides. When the staff at such a facility performs those services negligently or does not perform them at all, the consequences can be not only tragic but deadly.

As an example, take the case of the death of a 15-year-old boy at a live-in care facility in Orange County. According to the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of his estate by his parents, the reason for his death was the failure of staff at the facility to take appropriate action when he was apparently found unconscious. The plaintiffs claimed that the staff failed to administer prescribed anti-seizure medication and also made no attempt to revive the boy through the use of CPR. The jury not only accepted the plaintiff’s claims, but also concluded that staff at the facility attempted to conceal what had happened and it also engaged in willful misconduct before the victim’s death.

The significance of the jury’s finding of concealment is that it freed them from the normal damages limitation for medical malpractice-related claims. As a result, the verdict in the case was for $5 million in damages.

The loss of a loved one as the result of negligence is traumatic enough. That the loss also occurs as a result of misconduct can only make that loss harder to take. In such instances, a wrongful death lawsuit cannot undo what happened, but it can at least provide some recompense for economic losses in connection with the death as well as noneconomic and possibly even punitive damages if the culpable conduct was sufficiently egregious.

Anyone who has lost a loved one due to the act of another person or business may be entitled to make a wrongful death claim. The first step in evaluating whether such a claim exists and how to pursue it if it does is to consult with a personal injury law firm that has experience with wrongful death cases.

Source: Lake Forest Patch, “Jury Awards Lake Forest Couple $5 Million for Son’s Wrongful Death at Care Facility,” Paige Austin, June 25, 2015