Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when their death may have been preventable. If you suspect your family member died due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you’re probably wondering who can take legal action. Let’s break down who can file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit in Kansas City and what steps you can take.

Whether your loved one suffered a fall, pressure ulcer, or some other injury at a nursing home, with The Steele Law Firm, LLC, you can know that you have a dedicated and experienced team focused on protecting nursing home residents and their rights. Call us today for more information at 816-466-5947

Understanding Your Legal Rights in Elder Abuse Cases

When a nursing home resident dies due to neglect or abuse, certain family members have the right to seek justice. In Missouri, the deceased person’s spouse, children, parents, or siblings may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If there are no surviving family members in these categories, the court may appoint a “plaintiff ad litem” to bring the case.

Tip: Gather all medical records and document any signs of neglect you noticed before your loved one’s death. This evidence can be crucial for your case.

Who Can File: Specific Family Members

The law in Missouri gives priority to certain relatives when it comes to filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Here’s the order of who can file:

  • Surviving spouse

  • Children or grandchildren (if the children are deceased)

  • Parents

  • Siblings

Tip: If you’re unsure whether you qualify to file, consult with a nursing home wrongful death lawyer who can review your specific situation.

The Timeline: Steps to Take After a Nursing Home Death

Acting quickly is crucial when you suspect wrongful death in a nursing home. In Missouri, you generally have three years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. However, gathering evidence and building a strong case takes time. Here’s a rough timeline of steps to take:

  • Immediately: Report suspected abuse to authorities

  • Within days: Secure medical records and death certificate

  • Within weeks: Consult with a nursing home wrongful death attorney

  • Within months: File the lawsuit (if advised by your lawyer)

  • 1-3 years: Case proceeds through legal system

Tip: Don’t wait until the last minute to seek legal help. Evidence can disappear and memories can fade, so it’s best to start the process as soon as possible.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Neglect Leading to Death

Recognizing signs of neglect can help you determine if a wrongful death lawsuit is warranted. Some common signs include:

  • Bedsores (pressure injuries)

  • Malnutrition or dehydration

  • Frequent falls or unexplained injuries

  • Medication errors

  • Infections due to poor hygiene

Tip: Take photos of any visible signs of neglect and keep a journal of your observations when visiting your loved one in the nursing home.

The Devastating Impact of Bedsores

Bedsores, also known as pressure injuries, are a telltale sign of neglect that can lead to death. These painful sores develop when a person is left in one position for too long without being moved or repositioned. In severe cases, bedsores can lead to life-threatening infections.

Tip: If you notice any redness, open sores, or discolored areas on your loved one’s skin, especially on bony areas like hips or tailbone, alert the nursing staff immediately and document your concerns.

How a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help

Navigating a wrongful death lawsuit can be overwhelming, especially while grieving. A nursing home wrongful death lawyer can guide you through the legal process and fight for justice on your behalf. They can:

  • Investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death

  • Gather and preserve crucial evidence

  • Handle all legal paperwork and deadlines

  • Negotiate with the nursing home and their insurance company

  • Represent you in court if a settlement can’t be reached

Tip: Look for a lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse cases and has a track record of success in wrongful death lawsuits.

Compensation in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases

While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, compensation can help cover expenses and hold negligent facilities accountable. In a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to recover damages for:

  • Medical expenses related to the neglect or abuse

  • Funeral and burial costs

  • Pain and suffering experienced by your loved one

  • Loss of companionship and support

  • Punitive damages (in cases of extreme negligence)

Tip: Keep all bills and receipts related to your loved one’s care and final expenses. These documents can help calculate the financial impact of their death.

Preventing Future Tragedies: The Impact of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit isn’t just about seeking compensation – it’s about preventing future tragedies. When nursing homes are held accountable for neglect and abuse, it can lead to:

  • Improved staff training and supervision

  • Better safety protocols and procedures

  • Increased awareness of elder abuse issues

  • Policy changes at both facility and government levels

Tip: Consider sharing your story (while respecting legal advice about what to disclose) to raise awareness about nursing home abuse and inspire others to take action.

Choosing the Right Nursing Home Wrongful Death Attorney in Kansas City

Finding the right lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. When looking for a nursing home wrongful death attorney in Kansas City, consider these factors:

  • Experience with elder abuse and wrongful death cases

  • Knowledge of Missouri laws and local court systems

  • Track record of successful settlements and verdicts

  • Compassionate approach to working with grieving families

  • Clear communication and willingness to answer your questions

Tip: Many reputable attorneys offer free consultations. Take advantage of these to meet with a few lawyers and find one you feel comfortable working with.

Taking the Next Steps: What to Do If You Suspect Wrongful Death

If you believe your loved one’s death in a nursing home was preventable, don’t wait to take action. Here are the immediate steps you should consider:

  • Report your suspicions to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

  • Request a copy of your loved one’s complete medical records

  • Document everything you remember about your loved one’s care and condition

  • Reach out to other family members who visited regularly for their observations

  • Contact a nursing home wrongful death lawyer for a case evaluation

Tip: Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong about the circumstances of your loved one’s death, it’s worth investigating further.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long do I have to file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri?

In Missouri, you generally have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, it’s best to start the process as soon as possible to preserve evidence and build a strong case.

  1. Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit if my loved one had a pre-existing condition?

Yes, you may still have a case even if your loved one had health issues. The key is proving that neglect or abuse contributed to or hastened their death.

  1. What if I can’t afford a nursing home wrongful death attorney?

Many wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. This allows families to pursue justice regardless of their financial situation.

  1. How can I prove neglect led to my loved one’s death in a nursing home?

Evidence can include medical records, witness statements, photos of injuries, and expert testimony. A skilled nursing home abuse lawyer can help gather and present this evidence effectively.

  1. What’s the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action in nursing home cases?

A wrongful death claim compensates family members for their losses, while a survival action seeks damages for the pain and suffering the deceased experienced before death. In some cases, both types of claims can be pursued.

Work with Missouri Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyer 

If you’re grappling with the loss of a loved one due to suspected nursing home neglect or abuse, you don’t have to face this challenging time alone. A compassionate and experienced nursing home wrongful death lawyer can help you understand your rights and options for seeking justice. Have you taken any steps to investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s passing? Your insights could be crucial in preventing future tragedies and holding negligent facilities accountable.

As a reputable nursing home abuse lawyer in Kansas City, The Steele Law Firm is ready to fight for elderly rights, championing against neglect or abuse of any kind—because dignity should be a non-negotiable in anyone’s later years in life. Call us today for more information at 816-466-5947