What Is the Average Nursing Home Wrongful Death Settlement? [2024] Staff Profile Picture
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According to a survey conducted by Health Affairs in 2022, the average nursing home abuse settlement is about $406,000. However, depending on the case specifics, some patients may receive more or less than this. According to recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), about 154,118 people have died in nursing homes since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 2023, 12% of nursing home caregivers admitted to neglecting residents in their care. If a resident dies from nursing home negligence, lawyers may be able to file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death means your loved one would still be alive had they received proper medical care and not suffered abuse or neglect.

If you believe a loved one has suffered a wrongful death at a nursing home residency and you are interested in collecting compensation, seeking the guidance of a personal injury lawyer could help increase your settlement. While these statistics are shocking, we at Expertise are committed to helping you and the deceased receive the justice your family deserves. 

Do I Need an Attorney?

While nursing home wrongful death cases will not reverse the pain of losing a loved one, they can help you and your family cover medical and funeral expenses. Many nursing home abuse and neglect cases are settled outside of court, which can spare the family the stress of a trial. However, If a settlement isn't reached, the client may continue to trial in court, where a judge or jury decides a verdict.

A personal injury attorney with experience representing wrongful death cases can guide you and your family through the legal process and will accommodate much of the work for you. Attorneys will gather the basic facts and evidence of the case for the initial filing that supports their claim. Then, both parties will enter negotiations to settle the lawsuit. 

Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlements: What To Expect

On average, nursing home abuse and wrongful death settlements are about $406,000. However, in some cases, families have received upwards of $1 M based on the severity of their circumstances. If you accept the settlement offer, you will be compensated according to the agreement. This decision is final. The case may go to trial if a settlement amount cannot be negotiated. Recovering compensation will determine if you are owed money and how much. If you, however, or your attorney cannot reach an agreement, the following will detail what you can expect for your trial and frequently researched questions. 

1. How long does it take to settle a nursing home lawsuit?

While every case and patient need differs, these cases can last anywhere from 18 months to two years or more. It would help if you referred to the state's laws in which you live regarding wrongful death suits. Your lawyer will update you on if and when you can expect a settlement. It's also important to remember that settling out of court takes less time than going to trial.

2. Who Can File Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases?

Who can file a wrongful death claim varies from state to state. For example, in some states, only Immediate family members, like spouses and children, often have the right to pursue nursing home wrongful death cases. In some instances, extended family members like siblings and cousins can file a wrongful death lawsuit for the decedent. In some states, non-relatives, like dependents or executors of wills, can also file wrongful nursing home cases if the resident's death has impacted them.

3. What Are Considered Damages?

Economic damages, such as medication and treatment bills, funeral expenses, and the loss of any of the decedent's monetary contributions to their family, are recoverable in wrongful death cases, as are non-economic damages, such as compensation for grief, pain, and suffering, and the lack of companionship. 

4. How Are Wrongful Death Suits Paid Out?

Wrongful death settlement compensation occurs in two different ways, depending on whether you get your verdict at trial or some time before that during pre-trial. It will vary from a structured distribution of payments to a lump sum owed to you in up to 30 days, usually paid out with a check delivered to your lawyer.

Average Settlements for Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes

The exact dollar figure for nursing home settlements depends on the specifics of each case. In most cases, wrongful death settlements may range between $400,000 and $200,000; in some circumstances, they might be much higher. In 2018, the compensation for victims reached more than $400 million. Settlement awards consider the costs for the injured victim's emergency hospital services, medical expenses, required medical devices, prescription medications, ongoing care expenses, and pain and suffering for the surviving family.

Weight Loss, Dehydration and Infections

Malnourishment, dehydration, and infection are the leading causes of wrongful death in nursing homes. Any improper assistance with feeding, drinking, or tending to potential infection in compromised patients is a failure on behalf of the facility's staff to provide adequate care promptly to avoid fatal errors. The total amount awarded can also be affected by state laws that may limit the amount of compensation that can be recovered; it is crucial to be aware of any statutes of limitations regarding your case. 

Case Example

In Illinois, a settlement for $315,000 was awarded to a patient who became severely dehydrated after arriving at anIllinois nursing home. The patient’s subsequent dehydration exacerbated his kidney condition, ultimately leading to his death.

Medication or Treatment Mistakes

Prescription medications and treatment errors are another frequent cause of wrongful death cases. Because nursing home residents are often prescribed multiple medications daily, disrupting or ignoring these regimens can lead to fateful consequences. Care workers should be aware of the patient's holistic medical history before prescribing or changing a patient's medication or treatment plan. Any medication or treatment plan for wrongful deaths in a facility should be promptly investigated.

Case Example

In 2013, a medication error led to the death of a 63-year-old Baltimore resident being treated at the University of Maryland Medical System, resulting in a $10 million settlement. The family of the deceased filed a lawsuit after he was admitted to the Medical Center due to serious kidney failure and liver problems. 


Developing bedsores in nursing homes are entirely avoidable injuries, yet, unfortunately, nursing home neglect persists across America's elder care facilities is not uncommon. In some cases, nursing homes have delayed treating the infection and contacting the family after a bedsore injury occurs. 

Case Example

A Chicago Hillside nursing home patient was awarded a $2.8 million settlement because they developed bedsores and infections that took more than four years to heal fully

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Fractures

A TBI is caused by a significant blow to the head, including concussions, contusions, brain hemorrhaging, and intracranial hematomas. These injuries can be severe enough to cause life-altering complications or death. Elder physical abuse and neglect can lead to fractures or broken bones, such as when a resident falls or, in some cases, is physically assaulted by a staff member. Fractures are especially dangerous for elderly residents due to their limited healing capabilities and often contribute to a rapid decline in their health.

Case Example

In Fratto v. Wingate of Dutchess Inc. (New York 2018),  nursing home staff dropped an 88-year-old patient during a transfer, resulting in a broken leg. The decedent was in the nursing home for unrelated reasons but was now rendered immobile and later died in care. The family's estate sued the nursing home for negligence in the falling incident. The case was settled before trial for $175,000.

How To Find the Best Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

At Expertise, we aim to connect families of wrongful death victims of nursing home-related injuries and deaths with personal injury lawyers best equipped for their needs. If you suspect a loved one suffered an end due to caretaker negligence, willful ignorance, or violence, please click here to browse's personal injury lawyer directory. 

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