Calgary Injury Lawyer Discusses Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes

While we hope for nursing homes to be safe havens for our elderly loved ones, sometimes they become places where neglect and misconduct lead to tragic outcomes. In Canada, the legal landscape surrounding wrongful death in nursing homes is difficult and varied. 

As residents of Calgary, it’s important to understand how these laws apply to us and what rights and protections are available for our elderly loved ones. 

This blog aims to shed light on the legal nuances of wrongful death cases in nursing homes. Nursing home abuse attorneys will provide insights into the Canadian legal framework with a special focus on the help of a Calgary injury lawyer.


Statistics and Data on Wrongful Death in Canadian Nursing Homes

Statistics Canada reports that in 2020, the number of employees in nursing and residential care facilities decreased by 2.1%, with a 4.3% decrease in residents, mainly due to fewer admissions​​. This decline in admissions is important because it connects with the overall availability and quality of care.

Also, the decrease in the number of residents was affected by a change in the ratio of deaths to total residents under care. In nursing care facilities, this ratio increased to 22.5%, suggesting a slight rise in the death rate among these residents. Similarly, in community care facilities for the elderly, the death rate increased by 0.7 percentage points to 7.3%​​.

These statistics reflect not just the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but also highlight the importance of looking at the causes behind these numbers, including any instances of wrongful death.

What is Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes?

It’s when the mistake or carelessness of a nursing home or its workers leads to someone’s death. Canadian law stipulates that the deceased individual’s family may seek assistance due to this loss.

Legal Implications of Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes

Aspect Description
Liability Identifies who can be held responsible (e.g., nursing home staff, management, third-party service providers).
Damages Types of damages that can be sought (e.g., funeral expenses, loss of companionship)
Limitations Time limits for when a lawsuit must be filed.
Proof The burden of proof required to show negligence or misconduct.
Beneficiaries Who is eligible to receive compensation (e.g., spouses, children, dependents)
Jurisdiction How provincial differences affect the case (specifics for Calgary/Alberta)

The Role of Calgary Injury Lawyers

Lawyers in Calgary specializing in injury law are important for families dealing with wrongful death. They help by:

  • Looking into what caused the death.
  • Getting together proof for the case.
  • Making sure legal action starts on time.
  • Talking for the family in court or with the nursing home.
  • Helping the family understand how much money they can ask for.
  • Keeping the family’s rights in mind at all times.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes

Wrongful death in nursing homes can happen for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, many of these are preventable. Here’s a simple breakdown of the common causes:

  • Neglect

This can happen when a nursing home doesn’t give the right level of care. It includes not providing food, water, medicine, or assistance with personal hygiene.

  • Abuse

Physical, emotional, or sexual harm by staff or other residents can lead to serious injuries or death.

  • Medical Malpractice

Sometimes, healthcare professionals might make serious mistakes, like giving the wrong medicine or dose, which can be fatal.

  • Accidents

These can include falls, choking, or other accidents that could have been prevented with proper care and safety measures.

Legal Framework Governing Nursing Homes

In Canada, the rules for nursing homes come from the main government and the local government in Alberta. 

Per the Canada Health Act, nursing homes must adhere to specific standards to receive funding from the government. Each location in Canada, such as Calgary, has regulations outlining the proper functioning of nursing homes and the care provided to residents.

You’d check out Alberta’s health care laws for the most up-to-date rules in Calgary. These local rules give more details, like how many nurses should be there and how to ensure everyone is treated well and safely.

Nursing Homes’ Legal Responsibilities

Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide residents with a safe environment and proper care. This includes:

  • Making sure residents get the right medical care.
  • Keeping the place safe and clean.
  • Providing proper food, water, and hygiene.
  • Preventing accidents like falls or other injuries.
Responsibility Impact of Not Following
Proper Medical Care Health gets worse, leading to possible death
Safety and Cleanliness More accidents and illnesses
Food and Water Malnutrition or dehydration, leading to health decline
Preventing Accidents More falls or injuries, which can be deadly

Detecting Wrongful Death

Detecting a wrongful death involves being aware of the signs that something wrong might have happened. Families and loved ones should look for:

Sign Indicators of Potential Wrongful Death
Injuries Bruises or wounds without a clear reason.
Weight Loss Not getting enough food or water.
Behaviour Change Acting very differently, which can show stress or harm.
Cleanliness Being dirty or in a messy place can lead to sickness.
Untreated Conditions Medical problems that get worse without care.

Observe and document any issues you notice, including details about what occurred, when it happened, and who was involved. Maintaining thorough records can be highly beneficial in the event of legal proceedings.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be a difficult and emotional process, but it’s important for seeking justice and compensation. Here’s a simple guide:

  1. Find a Lawyer: Contact a nursing home lawyer with experience with wrongful death cases.
  2. Gather Information: Collect all the evidence or any reports of incidents.
  3. File the Lawsuit: Your lawyer will prepare and file legal documents to start the lawsuit.
  4. Discovery: Both sides exchange information and evidence.
  5. Negotiation: Your lawyer may try to settle the case out of court.
  6. Trial: If no settlement is reached, the case will go to trial, where a judge or jury decides the outcome.

Calgary injury lawyers guide you at each step, offer legal advice, and represent you in court if needed. They handle the paperwork, talk with the other side’s lawyers, and fight for your rights.

Challenges in Wrongful Death Claims

When filing a wrongful death claim, families face two big challenges:

  • Proving that the nursing home was negligent. 
  • Showing that this negligence caused the death. 

It’s not enough to just say that the nursing home did something wrong; you have to connect that directly to the death.

Here are strategies to overcome these challenges:

  • Keep detailed records of everything related to care and any incidents.
  • Get medical experts to explain how the nursing home’s actions led to the death.
  • Work with a lawyer who knows how to handle these tough cases.

Prevention is Key

Preventing wrongful deaths in nursing homes is critical. This includes:

  • Regular Training: Staff should be trained on proper care and emergency responses.
  • Safety Checks: Regular inspections of the facility for hazards.
  • Quality Control: Monitoring care quality and addressing any issues quickly.
  • Government Oversight: The government should regularly check nursing homes to ensure they follow all the rules.
  • Community Involvement: Families and local communities keeping an eye on nursing home conditions.


Protecting Our Elders

It’s important to manage wrongful deaths in nursing homes to protect our elderly and ensure they live with satisfaction. By being aware and proactive, we can help prevent these tragedies. 

If you suspect something is wrong, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. Taking a stand can lead to safer homes for our loved ones and a brighter future for all seniors in care.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Canada, compensation from a wrongful death settlement is generally not taxable. This includes amounts received for pain and suffering, companionship loss, and reimbursement for funeral expenses. 

Yet, if any portion of the settlement is for loss of income, that part may be subject to taxes. It’s always best to consult a tax professional or lawyer for your situation.

If a wrongful death occurred a few years ago, you still might have options, but it depends on the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in your area. In Alberta, the Limitations Act typically allows two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. If you’ve discovered the cause of death recently, you might have two years from the date of discovery to file.

If the person responsible for the wrongful death doesn’t have insurance, you can still file a lawsuit against them. Yet, collecting any awarded compensation may be more challenging if the individual needs the means to pay. 

In such cases, a lawyer can explore other options, such as if the person has any assets that could be used to help the judgment or if other liable parties with insurance could be responsible for providing compensation.