There are few things more distressing than the loss of a loved one, especially if it occurred suddenly. If you have reason to feel partly responsible for the circumstances that led to the loss, such as placement in a nursing home, then it could alleviate your conscience to know that the fault might not be yours at all. The California legal system is set up to investigate these events, and processing your loss through the law could lead to closure as well as your receipt of proper compensation for your loss.
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil proceedings. If you were to pursue a claim in civil court, you would not have to provide as much evidence to receive a favorable decision as you would to secure a guilty verdict in criminal court. However, you would probably follow a similar investigatory process for both the civil and criminal cases. Additionally, you might be able to use articles from a related criminal case in your civil claim.
The unfortunate fact is that nursing home abuse is not entirely uncommon. Furthermore, your loved one’s facility could be subject to negligence on the part of those responsible for maintaining the facility, overseeing the staff or providing medical treatment to the residents. For example, although the CDC reports that unintentional falls are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths per year, some nursing homes do not take every reasonable step to reduce the risk of this deadly accident.
If you were to experience a loss, it probably would not do you much good to bear all of the responsibility yourself. Investigating the incident with the help of the courts could help you gain perspective on the loss — as well as potentially prevent the same thing from happening to somebody else. Please think of this as information only. It is not intended to be legal advice.