Can a Claim be Brought for the Death of a Nursing Home Resident Who Has No Close Relatives?

Jacksonville Attorneys Fighting for the Rights of Aging Citizens

Nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable parts of our population. When a resident dies as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse, without any close relatives, there often are still legal options available to pursue justice. Although wrongful death actions are limited to certain family members, there are other statutes that may apply when a nursing home resident dies. If you are a friend or family member of someone who has died in a nursing home as a result of neglect or abuse, and you have questions regarding the legal process, the Jacksonville nursing home negligence attorneys at The Lawrence Law Group are available to speak with you about the possible steps to take.

Can a claim be brought for the death of a nursing home resident who has no close relatives?

Generally, Florida’s Wrongful Death Act only allows certain family members, such as spouses, parents, and children, to bring a legal claim against someone for a careless action resulting in the death of a loved one. However, if a nursing home resident dies without any surviving close relatives, a legal action against those responsible can be brought under Florida’s survival statute, Florida Statute Sec. 46.021. This survival statute states:

“No cause of action dies with the person. All causes of action survive and may be commenced, prosecuted, and defended in the name of the person prescribed by law.”

This law allows an individual’s personal representative to bring a legal action against those responsible for causing the individual’s death in the decedent’s name, as part of their estate. In Florida, a personal representative is a person, bank, or trust company, either named in an individual’s will or appointed by a probate judge to administer the decedent's estate.

The survival statute is directly referenced in Florida Statute Sec. 400.023, which specifies civil enforcement for actions against nursing homes and related health care facilities. The statute states that claims for neglect or abuse can be brought by a nursing home resident on their own, or they can be brought by a personal representative of the estate, regardless of the cause of the resident’s death. This means that even non-relatives, or other types of relatives who are not specified in the Wrongful Death Act, should consider retaining an attorney to pursue claims against a negligent nursing home facility following the death of a resident.

When a nursing home resident dies as a result of neglect, such as when a facility fails to provide appropriate medical services or treat residents who are exhibiting signs of malnutrition, responsible parties need to be held accountable, regardless of whether or not there are surviving close relatives. The same is true for deaths caused by a nursing home employee’s abuse. An estate can collect damages similar to those sought in wrongful death actions, which include an amount for the pain and suffering of the deceased resident, medical costs, funeral expenses, and lost earnings up until a victim’s death.

Explore Your Legal Options by Contacting an Experienced Jacksonville Lawyer

When a nursing home resident dies as a result of abuse or neglect, claims that close family members would be entitled to bring if they existed do not disappear just because no close relatives exist. The nursing home abuse attorneys at The Lawrence Law Group offer compassionate and zealous legal representation to residents of Jacksonville and surrounding areas. Our firm helps people pursue justice for those who can no longer fight for themselves. We represent clients throughout Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Baker, Nassau, Union, Columbia, Suwannee, Flagler, Putnam, Brevard, Hamilton, Jefferson, Volusia, and Alachua Counties. If you have questions regarding your legal rights and options following the death of a loved one while in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, you can contact us online or at (904) 632-0077, and one of our attorneys can help you assess your next legal steps. We offer free consultations and handle nursing home cases on a contingency fee basis, so we do not require fees unless we are able to obtain compensation for you.

Client Reviews
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I have known Mr. Lawrence for several years and in my opinion he is the most professional and trustworthy lawyer I have ever known. I have had dealings with other lawyers but they were not as good as Mr. Lawrence. I would highly recommend him.
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Greg Lawrence of The Lawrence Law Group did an outstanding job with my case and I highly recommend him to others that need a competent, professional attorney. David P.
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I had a difficult disability case, and was referred to Greg by a judge. As an experienced lawyer myself, I was apprehensive about using someone I didn't know. As it turned out, however, I could not have been more pleased. Greg mastered the case in no time, and was nothing short of brilliant in getting me a substantial settlement. He's a lawyer's lawyer, and I recommend him highly and without reservation. Steve
★★★★★
I would like to take a moment to say thanks to Greg, and his staff for doing an excellent job with my deceased mothers nursing home case. After hiring two other law firms my brothers and I decided to hire Greg. This was the best decision that we made regarding this case. Greg took the time to get to know who our deceased mother was, and the important facts involving our claim. As a result Greg was successful in resolving our claim to our satisfaction. Greg is the best attorney that I have ever met! I would highly recommend hiring Greg for any nursing home, or any other claims. Falsario Arnold
★★★★★
Of all the things that pleased me about Greg was that he was always available to me. If I called or emailed, I spoke to him and wasn't pushed off to one of his paralegals or assistants (although they were very helpful as well). I felt like I had a lawyer - not a factory. Scott