Wrongful Death

Family of Nursing Home Resident Killed in Accident Sues for Damages

The relatives of a woman who died in a Deschutes County retirement facility are now suing the facility for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Learn more below about the accident and the duties of care held by Oregon nursing homes.

The recent lawsuit was filed by the surviving family members of Wilmetta June Cornell, who died at age 95 in September of 2016. For the final four years of her life, Wilmetta had been living at the Aspen Ridge Retirement Community, located east of Pilot Butte in Bend, Oregon. Pilot Butte functions both as a retirement community and an assisted living facility.

On September 10, 2016, Wilmetta was using her walker as she passed through a hallway in Aspen Ridge. An employee was pushing a laundry cart behind her. According to Wilmetta’s family members, the employee negligently collided with Wilmetta. The resident immediately collapsed onto her left side, reporting pain through her left leg and hip.

At first, Wilmetta was simply taken to her apartment. After three hours, the Cornell family’s lawsuit alleges that Wilmetta’s pain had increased to extreme levels, leaving her immobilized in her chair. The woman was then transported by ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. Wilmetta was forced to undergo hip surgery two days later. After her surgery, she suffered a drop in blood pressure and became unresponsive. Several hours later, Ms. Cornell passed away.

The Cornell family filed a lawsuit against Aspen ridge in November of 2017, alleging that the facility and its employee had negligently caused the accident and Ms. Cornell’s subsequent wrongful death. The family is seeking $2.3 million in damages from the facility.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a legal duty to provide a safe setting for their residents. Staff members are expected to not only administer physical and medical services with care, but also to keep residents’ limited physical capabilities in mind when interacting with them within the facility or working in areas where residents are likely to be present. If nursing home or assisted living facilities are careless or negligent when carrying out maintenance tasks or interacting with residents and injure a resident in the process, they may be held legally responsible for those injuries through a claim for damages.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an Oregon nursing home accident or through an incident of elder abuse, find out if you have a legal claim for compensation based on these injuries by contacting the dedicated and skilled Bend personal injury lawyers at the offices of Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys for a free consultation at 541-617-0555.

Teens to Be Sentenced in Racing Death in Eugene OR

two Eugene teens could face wrongful death suitTwo Springfield Oregon teens will soon face sentencing for killing a bystander while racing their cars down a residential road at more than 100 mph.  One of the teens swerved to avoid a pedestrian and struck the other vehicle.  Full details are below.

Two 17-year-old Springfield boys are to be sentenced Tuesday in the death of a Pleasant Hill man killed as the teens raced their cars along the victim’s street.

David Pena-Gomez pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree manslaughter and other charges. His co-defendant, Jonathan Delgado, pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this month.

The Register-Guard reports that the teens are expected to get more than six years in an Oregon Youth Authority facility.

Police said the boys told investigators that they were driving their cars at about 100 mph June 9 when Gomez swerved to avoid a woman in the road and sideswiped Delgado’s car. The impact of that collision sent the cars spinning out of control.

One careened off the roadway, hitting and killing Roland Vilett, who was standing in a drainage ditch near his driveway.  Albany Democrat Herald

Eugene actually has relatively low traffic fatality statistics.  This is just one instance of a wrongful death case caused by reckless behavior behind the wheel.

 

Veteran’s Suicide Led to $1.3M Wrongful-Death Claim

The demand for better and more substantial mental health care and practices continues to grow across this nation, particularly for our veterans. One instance caught not only statewide attention, but also nationwide notoriety, when veteran Jon Jacobsen, 50, chose to jump to his death from the roof of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland, Oregon.

Jacobsen served in Korea from 1977 to 1979 as a helicopter crew chief, and suffered from an isolated psychotic episode in early February 2007. After being provided with anti-psychotic drugs, the medical staff at the Adventist Medical Center sent him home the following day.

However, two days later he was again “delusional” and his wife alleges that the staff at the VA Medical Center refused to admit her ailing husband to a secure psychiatric ward, despite his repeated claims that he was going to kill himself. Though promised he would be watched closely overnight, Jacobsen repeatedly slipped out of his room, eventually finding his way outdoors where he climbed a tree, ventured onto the roof and jumped to his death.

Mrs. Jacobsen subsequently sought damages for his wrongful death.

Who Can File for Wrongful Death in Oregon?

Oregon allows for a number of individuals who may be related to the individual who has passed away to file a wrongful death suit:

  • Surviving spouses and their children
  • Surviving parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Stepparents
  • Stepchildren

When a claim is filed by a surviving loved one, he or she can receive financial damages for a variety of losses that have been suffered due to the death of their loved one:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • A loss of comfort, care, society and companionship suffered due to the unexpected loss of a loved one

The payments received for these losses can be substantial and are in place to financially protect the close family members of the deceased. In the case of Jacobsen, his widow received $1.3 million from the VA Medical Center to compensate she her and the surviving members of Jacobsen’s family.

Limited Time to File

In Oregon, there is a limited amount of time for filing wrongful death claims, known as the “statute of limitations.” Generally speaking, family members who suspect that neglect has played a role in the untimely death of their loved one must file a claim within 3 years of the date of the event that caused his or her death.

At the law offices of Dwyer Williams Dretke, we provide compassionate counsel to each of our clients the ins and outs of wrongful death claims while aggressively standing up for the rights of the deceased and their families in court.

We invite you to call us (541) 617-0555 to discuss your particular case.

Assistance for a Deceased Loved One’s Survivor

When an individual is killed by the negligent or wrongful acts of another person or entity, the survivors of that individual can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the person or entity that caused the death.

These suits can be anything from holding a school responsible for failing to notice and treat a child’s medical issue while playing sports, which led to the child’s death, to holding a landlord responsible for deaths caused by not having the appropriate exits or fire-alarm system to warn tenants of a fire.

When a loved one is killed, it is traumatizing to those left behind. That person may have been the primary income earner for the family, or may have been the parent who stayed at home to care for children while their spouse worked full-time. Fortunately, when a wrongful death claim is filed, the impact of the loved one on others’ lives is taken into consideration.

While each situation is evaluated based on its circumstances, the following types of compensation are always considered when awarding monetary damages to those bringing the wrongful death suit.

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical bills for the final illness or injury
  • Loss of potential income that the deceased loved one would have earned
  • Value of household services
  • Loss of anticipated financial support
  • Loss of love, community, affection, moral support, or guidance

The latter three items are based on specific losses that the surviving family members have suffered. For example, a spouse may seek compensation for loss of love or affection. Children may seek compensation for loss of guidance.

If you are considering filing a wrongful death suit against a person or entity, it is important to consult a wrongful death attorney who is familiar with the law surrounding this type of claim. Your attorney should have experience trying these claims to a jury as well as negotiating wrongful death settlements with the person, entity or any insurance companies that are involved.

The wrongful death attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke Potter have over 75 years of personal injury experience. This experience coupled with compassion for our clients help us secure the best possible outcome for your case.

For a free initial consultation, we welcome your call at (541) 617-0555.