Moving a family member into a nursing facility is never an easy decision. You entrust their care to the staff members and assume the nursing home treats all patients with the respect they deserve. It’s unthinkable that someone would have the means to commit suicide in a nursing home or assisted living facility, but it happens. Understandably, family members want answers. How did this occur, and who’s responsible? Does the facility have patient suicide liability?
Determining fault in a patient’s suicide depends on individual circumstances and various factors. If you have questions on who’s responsible for a patient’s suicide in a California nursing home, contact our skilled California wrongful death lawyers at Silva Injury Law.
Nursing Home Liability for a Patient Suicide in California
Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide reasonable care for their residents. This duty can include identifying and watching patients who are at risk of trying to commit suicide. However, not every patient suicide will involve nursing home negligence. It’s necessary to investigate and get answers to some of the most important questions to determine whether the facility has liability.
Was the Resident’s Suicide Foreseeable?
If the patient’s suicide was reasonably foreseeable, the nursing home could be liable if the staff did nothing to prevent it. If there were absolutely no warning or red flags that the patient was at risk, it might be tougher to place liability on the nursing home. Someone admitted with notes of prior attempts or while actively suffering from depression is a patient at risk for attempted suicide.
How Did the Person Commit Suicide?
The manner of death matters. Was the suicide preventable by the facility, or was there nothing they could’ve done? If your family member commits suicide while away from the nursing home, it can be harder to attribute liability to the facility. However, if you can establish a pattern of abuse or neglect that might’ve led to the patient’s depression and subsequent suicide, you can try to make that argument in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Assisted Living Liability for a Patient Suicide in California
Assisted living facilities vary in their levels of service, which can complicate determining liability in the event of a resident’s suicide. Some assisted living facilities are more like independent living communities, with assistance available should a resident need it. It might not be 24/7 round-the-clock care like we often think of with nursing homes.
You need to answer the same questions and look at how much control the facility had over your family member. It’s much harder to prove patient suicide liability if your family member was not receiving round-the-clock care and monitoring.
How Can Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Reduce the Risk of Suicide?
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities cannot prevent 100% of suicides. However, but they can take steps to reduce the risk and monitor residents who are at the highest risk for suicide. At a minimum, these facilities should be:
- Identifying and supervising residents who present with suicidal thoughts;
- Recognizing when a patient is showing signs of depression;
- Tracking all patients’ medications to reduce the chance of overdosing;
- Ensuring residents get acclimated to the facility and community; and
- Acting immediately if a staff member suspects a resident might be contemplating suicide.
When facilities appear to have taken all the proper precautions, and a resident still commits suicide, you need the assistance of a skilled attorney to assess whether the nursing home has cupability.
Contact Silva Injury Law for More Information About Patient Suicide Liability
If you believe a nursing home or assisted living facility has liability in your family member’s wrongful death, our lawyers stand ready to help. In a wrongful death lawsuit, your family could be entitled to compensation from the nursing home.
We recognize what a stressful and emotional time this is for your family. Let us review the circumstances of your family member’s suicide. We can advise you on whether you have a viable lawsuit against the facility. Not every case will result in finding negligence against the facility. However, we will do our best to explore all potential sources of recovery. Attorney Michael Joe Silva has prior experience working as a prosecutor in the Merced District Attorney’s office. He understands what’s necessary to build a successful case against these nursing homes.
Losing a family member is a devastating tragedy. You don’t have to go through this alone. Contact Silva Injury Law today, and let us help your family during this difficult time.
FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP
At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.