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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Blog / Personal Injury / Plaintiff Secures $5.5M in Wrongful Death Suit Against Nursing Home

Plaintiff Secures $5.5M in Wrongful Death Suit Against Nursing Home


The family of an 80-year-old woman filed a personal injury wrongful death lawsuit against an Illinois nursing home after their loved one suffocated during a power outage. According to the lawsuit, the victim entered the defendant’s facility in June 2016 to receive specialized care for her medical conditions. She had a life expectancy of 3 to 6 months.

When she arrived, doctors determined that her condition required her to receive supplemental oxygen through a nasal cannula 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On October 16, 2016, the patient’s daughters visited their mother and discovered a power outage in her room. Without power, the resident was not getting enough oxygen and was in medical distress. Her daughters searched for a nurse to help their mother, but they couldn’t find any nursing staff on-hand to help. The resident struggled to breathe for 20 minutes and ultimately suffocated to death.

According to medical experts hired by the plaintiffs, the last 20 minutes of the patient’s life would have been hellish, akin to drowning.

Elements of negligence 

The case against the nursing home went to trial in 2023. During the trial, the family argued that the defendant’s nursing home failed to protect their loved one from neglect and provide nursing staff to meet her needs, ultimately resulting in the patient’s death.

In this case, the defendant admitted that they were negligent prior to the case heading before a jury. In some cases, defendants will admit negligence but dispute damages. The jury heard evidence provided by the plaintiffs that the last 20 minutes of the patient’s life were excruciating and she ultimately suffocated to death because the nursing home dropped the ball. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $5.5 million to compensate the family for the patient’s pain and suffering and the family’s emotional grief, sorrow, mental suffering, and loss of society.

Pain and suffering damages in wrongful death lawsuits 

There are numerous damages that you can claim in a wrongful death lawsuit. However, one of the most overlooked is the pain and suffering that the victim endured during their death. In this case, the victim had a life expectancy of 3 to 6 months and died roughly 3 months into her stay at the nursing home. However, the way she died and its preventability were two issues that the defense couldn’t overcome during this trial.

The nursing home failed to supply the patient with needed oxygen after power to her room had cut out. She ended up suffocating to death on her own breath and nursing staff wasn’t present to assist her in any way.

So, even though the patient wasn’t expected to live much longer, the plaintiffs were able to secure a jury verdict of $5.5 million because she suffered while she died.

Talk to a Decatur, IL Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorney 

Patel Law, PC represents the interests of grieving family members in wrongful death lawsuits filed against Illinois nursing homes. Call our Decatur personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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