$ 5,000,080 Assisted Living Wrongful Death Verdict

An Oakland County, Michigan jury recently returned a $ 5,000,080.00 verdict in favor of the estate of a 90 year-old woman against a assisted living facility.  The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the son of a resdient who died after ingesting a caustic detergent in the memory care unit at the Fountains Of Franklin in Southfield, Michigan.   The estate was represented by Lawrence J. Buckfire and Randall Blau of Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.   The Honorable Dennis C. Drury presided over the seven day trial.

The resident was transferred into the facility’s memory care unit five weeks before the incident due to condition of dementia and her need for supervision. The unit had locked doors to prevent residents from wandering away from the facility.  It also had two caregivers in the unit to supervise seventeen residents.  The unit also had a barrier free kitchen accessible to residents, but meals were prepared outside the unit and served to the residents in the unit’s dining room by an outside contractor.

Although meals were prepared outside the unit, the contractor washed the dishes in the unit’s kitchen sink and loaded them into a dishwasher near the sink. The facility stored a caustic dishwashing detergent beneath the sink with a spigot connected to the dishwasher.  The detergent was stored behind two cabinet doors, one which had a plastic child magnetic lock and the other door had a wood lever closing mechanism designed by the maintenance staff.

On December 1, 2012, the resident gained access into the cabinet and ingested the detergent. She was not supervised at the time because one of the caregiver’s was on a meal break, leaving the other caregiver to supervise and dispense medication to seventeen residents by herself.  The caregiver who left for dinner was gone from the unit for fifty-six minutes, exceeding his thirty minute allotted break time.  During his absence, the facility did not bring in a substitute to supervise the residents.

When the caregiver returned from his break, he saw the decedent sitting alone in the dining room with her head leaned back and her lips swollen. He and the other caregiver called EMS and then discovered the kitchen cabinets open and the bottle of detergent on its side.  The resident was rushed to Providence Hospital with serious damage to her mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach.  The injuries were so severe that surgery was not an option and she was unable eat or drink.  She died thirteen days later in the hospice unit of the hospital.

The lawsuit was filed on May 2, 2013 seeking damages under the Michigan Wrongful Death Statute. During the trial, jurors heard testimony from facility employees, expert witnesses, and family members.  Plaintiff’s contended that the doors were not secure enough to keep a dementia resident from accessing the deadly chemical and that supervision was sub-standard.  The Defendant argued that either the decedent or some unknown person forcibly tore a hinge out the cabinet to get access to the chemical.

“The Defendant chose not to provide the necessary supervision and used wholly inadequate locking mechanisms to prevent residents from gaining access inside the cabinets. The detergent did not even have a secure lid on it just in case someone forgot to lock and secure the door.  It was a tragedy just waiting to happen,” said Buckfire.  “She suffered a horrible and agonizing death which was completely preventable if proper basic safety measures had been taken by the facility.”

The jury award included compensation for her pain and suffering from the time of incident until her death, the loss of society and companionship suffered by her surviving family members, and both medical and funeral expenses. The jurors deliberated for approximately two hours.

Flint Adult Foster Care Home Wrongful Death Settlement

We recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit against a Flint area Adult Foster Care Home.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the resident’s surviving family members in the Genesee County Circuit Court in Flint, Michigan.

Our client was a 69 year old gentleman who had resided at the home for many years.  He was mentally impaired and had physical disabilities, including the inability to use his legs due to polio as a child.  As a result, we relied on a motorized wheelchair to get around.

The incident that led to his death involved the failure of the AFC home staff to safely assist him from getting off of the transportation van.  At the time of the incident, he was on the ramp of the handicapped van and drove off of the van.  He fell several feet and was struck in the head by his wheelchair.

The lawsuit alleged that the AFC Home staff was negligent because they did not turn off his wheelchair and manual assist him onto the ramp.   He had several prior instances in which he was unable to control the wheelchair, including at least one when he almost drove off the ramp.  The suit also alleged that the staff failed to use a safety strap which would have prevented the incident from occurring.

After the fall, the resident was taking to a local hospital and was diagnosed with a brain bleed.  He was never able to recover from the injury and passed away shortly thereafter at that hospital.  His entire family was at his side.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed and the depositions of numerous witnesses and family members were taken.  Prior to trial, the parties agreed to attend a private mediation to see if the case could be settled before trial.  After lengthy negotiations, the sides agreed to a confidential settlement.

Contact Our Michigan Nursing Home Lawyers

Want to know the settlement value of your case?    Tell us your story and we will evaluate your case.

  • Toll-Free Phone                               (800) 606-1717
  • Contact By Fax                                (248) 569-6737
  • Contact By E-mail                           Larry@Buckfirelaw.com

You can also contact us initially through our website Free Case Review Box. If you prefer that type of contact initially, we will review your case and get back to you quickly with our initial opinions. Our goal is to learn as much as possible about your case and then provide you with your best legal options.

Bowel Impaction Settlement Against Detroit Nursing Home

We recently reached a confidential settlement with a Detroit nursing home for the family of a resident who died from a bowel impaction.  The resident died shortly after she was taken to a local hospital emergency room for her impacted bowel.  The delay in diagnosis and treatment caused severe sepsis which led to her death.

On behalf of her surviving family members, we served a written Notice of Intent To Sue on the nursing home administrator.  This is the first step in the legal process to pursue a claim or lawsuit against a medical facility in Michigan.   The attorney for the nursing home contacted us to see if the parties would agree to attend a pre-lawsuit mediation to see if we could settle the case before filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit, Michigan.   We agreed to the mediation.

At the mediation, both sides presented written briefs and orally discussed their respective claims with the mediator.  Each side also had information and reports from both nursing and medical experts to support their positions in the case.  Under Michigan law, each side must file an Affidavit from a qualified medical expert to support their positions on negligence in the case.

After lengthy negotiations, the parties agreed to a settlement.  The nursing home required that all terms of the settlement be kept confidential for all purposes except for obtaining permission from the probate court to settle the case.  This is a common practice in medical malpractice and nursing home neglect lawsuits and is often demanded by the medical provider as a term of the settlement.

Bowel impactions are a very serious condition in the elderly and will lead to death if not properly diagnosed or treated.  Nursing homes must closely monitor a residents bowel movements and look for signs and symptoms of an impacted bowel.  The failure to do these things can lead to a nursing home lawsuit if the resident is harmed or dies due to this negligence.   If someone you care about was harmed by neglect or abuse in a Michigan nursing home, you should contact our experienced Michigan nursing home lawyers to investigate your the case.  We charge absolutely no legal fees or costs unless there is a settlement.

Contact Our Michigan Nursing Home Lawyers

Want to know the settlement value of your nursing home case?    Tell us your story and we will evaluate your case.

  • Toll-Free Phone                               (800) 606-1717
  • Contact By Fax                                (248) 569-6737
  • Contact By E-mail                           Larry@Buckfirelaw.com

You can also contact us initially through our website Free Case Review Box. If you prefer that type of contact initially, we will review your case and get back to you quickly with our initial opinions. Our goal is to learn as much as possible about your case and then provide you with your best legal options.

File Michigan Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Family members of a Michigan nursing home resident who dies due to neglect or abuse can seek compensation for their loss by filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit.  The lawsuits allow compensation for the conscious pain and suffering by the deceased person from the date of the incident until death. The family is also entitled to money compensation for their loss of society and companionship of their loved one.

To file a wrongful death lawsuit in Michigan, there are filing requirements that must be completed before the actual suit is filed.  First, there has to be a thorough investigation of the potential nursing home negligence claim to determine whether the case has merit. Once it is determined that a meritorious claim exists, a family member of the decedent is appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate of the decedent to pursue the lawsuit on behalf of the other family members.

The family usually agrees on who will be the Personal Representative but if there is a dispute, the probate judge will make that decision.  The personal representative does not determine which family members will receive shares of the settlement or even how much each person will receive. Rather, the probate court judge or circuit court judge assigned to the case will make that determination if the family members cannot agree on the distribution of the settlement proceeds.

If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a Michigan nursing home, you should call our office today to speak with one of our experienced nursing home lawyers.  We will listen to your story and let you know if we believe that you have a case that can be pursued.  If we believe there is a case, we will get of the medical records and review them with our medical experts.  When a determination is made that there is a case to be pursued, we will then begin the process in probate court to have a Personal Representative appointed by the court.  Next, we will start the lawsuit process.
We do not charge any legal fees to handle your case and we only receive a fee if we obtain a settlement for you.  If the case is unsuccessful for any reason at all, you do not owe us anything.  We put it all in writing for you.  Call our award winning lawyers today at (800) 606-1717 to start your wrongful death case.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Michigan Group Home

Lawsuit Against Michigan Group HomeOur Michigan group home lawyers recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit for a family of a resident who died from a fall out of a transportation van.  The case involves a 69 year old group home resident who had a medical history that cognitive dysfunction and polio, which limited the use of his legs.  Due to polio, he required a wheelchair for ambulation and movement.  He had a motorized wheelchair that he could control by himself.  However, he often had difficulty safely operating the chair and on two occasions almost drove off the lift in the handicapped transportation van due to poor judgment.

On August 1, 2013, he was returning back to the group home from an outside activity.  The caregiver parked the van and assisted other residents out of the vehicle.  When it came time for the decedent, the caregiver unstrapped the motorized wheelchair and went outside of the van to lower the lift.  The decedent then drove his wheelchair off the lift and  fell to the ground with the wheelchair landing on his head.  He was rushed to a Flint Hospital  but later died due to the head trauma.

The Michigan wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the caregiver was negligent by not safely assisting the decedent out of the van, onto the lift, and onto the ground.  He should not have unhooked the safety straps until everything was in place.  He should have also obtained the assistance of a co-worker and disabled the motor function on the wheelchair to prevent this incident from happening.  The wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the pain and suffering endured by the group home resident before his death and the loss of society and companionship of the surviving family members, as well as medical expenses and funeral costs.  The lawsuit was filed in the Genesee County Circuit Court in Flint, Michigan.  No trial date has been set by the court. (more…)

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