What types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases do You Handle in Akron?
We handle all kinds of nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Akron, Ohio. These cases usually involve one or more of the following:
Elder abuse refers to intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm, regardless of whether harm is intended, to an elderly person by a caregiver. Abuse includes failure by a caregiver to satisfy an elder’s basic needs—neglect.
Bedsores shouldn’t happen. We investigate to find answers for families when a nursing home allows a bedsore to worsen or kill their loved one.
Nursing home residents should never choke or suffocate in nursing homes. Choking and suffocation deaths in nursing home are preventable. Unfortunately, they do happen. And probably much more often than most people can imagine. Choking and suffocation continue to be leading causes of death in nursing homes.
Nursing home dehydration and malnutrition are serious and deadly threats to older people. When nursing homes are understaffed or careless with resident health, dehydration can set in all too quickly.
Nursing home residents are often frail, weak, and unstable. They need help moving from place-to-place or getting in and of bed.
Unfortunately, nursing homes continue to allow residents to fall and become injured. Fractures of large bones (like hips and femurs) often lead to death in the elderly.
Nursing homes need to protect their residents. Elderly people with memory problems sometimes wander off. This is called “elopement.”
Nursing homes are required to assess residents to prevent this from happening. Nursing homes must have precautions in place to prevent residents from wandering off. This includes having the appropriate amount of staff to monitor residents. Nursing homes must also place alarms on doors and respond to those alarms to stop residents before they are injured.
If residents are permitted to wander off they can be severely injured. There have been examples of residents freezing to death in cold, being struck by cars, and falling down stairs.
It should go without saying that sexual abuse anywhere, including in nursing homes, is a crime that must be eradicated from society. Disgustingly, every year we see nursing home sexual abuse cases make headlines.
These are frequently the result of corporate greed and incompetence refusing to do required background checks.
When a nursing home’s abuse and neglect causes injury, the injured resident has a personal injury case. When that injury causes the resident’s death—whether immediately, or over time—the resident’s family has a case. It is called a “wrongful death” claim.
Assisted Living Facilities, called Residential Care Facilities in Ohio, are not nursing homes, and are not as well regulated as nursing homes. That doesn’t mean someone injured or killed in a residential care facility has no claim. But the types of claims, and how to pursue them, are different.
What Are the Nursing Homes in the Akron, Ohio Area?
There are many nursing homes in the Akron, Ohio area. Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers investigates claims against all of them.
Below are some of the worst-rated Akron nursing homes according to Medicare.
1211 W MARKET ST
AKRON, OH 44313
330 SOUTHWEST AVE
TALLMADGE, OH 44278
563 COLONY PARK DRIVE
TALLMADGE, OH 44278
2631 COPLEY ROAD
AKRON, OH 44321
200 WYANT RD
AKRON, OH 44313
85 THIRD STREET SE
BARBERTON, OH 44203
3131 SMITH RD
FAIRLAWN, OH 44333
575 S CLEVELAND MASSILLON ROAD
FAIRLAWN, OH 44333
708 MOORE ROAD
AKRON, OH 44319
120 BROOKMONT RD
AKRON, OH 44333
Where Do Akron Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Cases Go to Trial?
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Akron go to trial at the Summit County, Ohio Courthouse, located at 209 S. High Street, Akron, Ohio 44308. The courthouse phone number is 330.643.2162.
The Summit County Courthouse is located on South High Street between University Avenue and W. Bowery Street. Parking is available at the Broadway Parking Deck, 120 S Broadway, Akron, OH 44308 (330-375-2597).
Who are the Judges who will Preside over My Akron, Ohio Nursing Home Case?
The judges in the Summit County Common Pleas Court who hear Akron nursing home abuse lawsuits are:
- Alison M. Breaux
- Christine Croce
- Paul J. Gallagher
- Amy Corrigall Jones
- Jill Flagg Lanzinger
- Alison McCarty
- Tammy O’Brien
- Joy Malek Oldfield
- Mary Margaret Rowlands
- Jason T. Wells
Will a Jury Decide My Akron Nursing Home Lawsuit?
We always insist on having a jury trial in nursing home lawsuits. Summit County jurors are called as a “jury pool” for a selection process that decides whether they will hear a trial.
Here is the information they’re given about the trial process:
Jury Selection: The court and counsel for both parties will ask you questions. These questions are intended to discover if you have any prior knowledge of the case, a private opinion which cannot be set aside, or a personal experience or relationship which could make you take sides with either party. The questions are intended to ensure impartial jurors. Although you are qualified to serve as a juror, something might disqualify you in a particular case.
The attorney for each side may challenge any prospective juror either for cause or without an apparent reason. This second type of challenge is called a peremptory challenge. Should you be challenged, the judge will decide whether or not you will be excused from service on that jury. However, by no means does this reflect on your ability or honesty. It only suggests that an attorney feels something in your personal background might make it difficult for you to decide in favor of his or her client.
Read more about what Summit County jurors are told about trials: http://www.summitcpcourt.net/Jury/Pages/ExpectAsJuror.aspx
Who will be on the Jury in My Akron, Ohio Nursing Home Case?
The jury is made up of regular people who live in Summit County, Ohio. A large group of people will receive a letter (called a summons) telling them to come to court for jury duty.
Not everyone who receives a summons will be on the jury. The entire group that comes to court is called the “jury pool.”
The lawyers and the judge then get to ask questions to see who will be a good fit for the case. Some people will not be chosen for a number of reasons. It could be that they know one of the people involved in the case or may be biased for some reason.
A total of 8 people will be on the jury.
Who is the Coroner for Summit County, Ohio?
Dr. Lisa Kohler is the Summit County Medical Examiner, Ohio’s first female Medical Examiner. In Summit County the coroner is called the Medical Examiner.
The Medical Examiner determines the cause and manner of death for the death certificates. The Department of the Medical Examiner has become integral in the process of investigating crime. The Medical Examiner’s cause of death determination is presumed correct as a matter of law, although it can be rebutted in court.
Nursing homes should report deaths involving suspicious circumstances, or falls within a certain period prior to death. Often we see a “certifying physician” from a nursing home signing off on death certificates instead.
Every investigation where fatalities are involved starts in the Medical Examiner’s Department. After initial evaluation by the Medical Examiner’s Investigators, the office will determine what course of action to take and how to interact with law enforcement agencies in order to move the investigation forward.
You can contact Dr. Kohler’s office at:
|Medical Examiner:||Dr. Lisa Kohler|
Certified copies of death certificates can only be obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of each respective health district. For information on how to obtain a copy of a death certificate in Summit County CLICK HERE
When is an autopsy performed?
The Medical Examiner’s office does not autopsy everyone reported to their office. As the Medical examiner explains:
When no “foul play” is suspected and evidence of a natural death is present. In other cases, where there is the possibility of legal proceedings, which may arise as a result of a homicide, accident, suicide, etc., an autopsy will be performed. In these cases, both positive and negative information is found which substantiates the ruling and cause of death as signed by the Medical Examiner.
Does the Medical Examiner need permission from next of kin to perform an autopsy?
Ohio law (ORC 2108.52) provides that the Medical Examiner/Coroner does not need permission to perform an autopsy. The Department of the Medical Examiner will attempt to comply with the wishes of the next of kin, especially if there is a family religious interest and when this does not conflict with the duties of the Medical Examiner as charged by Ohio law.
What is an autopsy and is there a charge?
An autopsy is a systematic examination by a qualified physician respectful of a deceased person for the purpose of determining the cause of death and recovering from the body evidence of the cause of death. A record is made of the findings of the autopsy, including microscopic and toxicological laboratory tests. These laboratory tests are conducted after the release of the body to the next of kin for burial. There is no charge to the next of kin for an autopsy nor for any of the tests which may be conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Department. However, if you wish to obtain a copy of our written reports, they can be purchased for a nominal fee. Please contact the Medical Examiner’s Department at (330) 643-2101 for details about how to obtain these reports.
How long does it take for a death ruling to be made?
This procedure is handled differently by various Counties. In Summit County, in many cases, a signed death certificate accompanies the body when it is released by the Medical Examiner. When there is insufficient information available to complete the death certificate, a “Pending findings, facts, and verdict” death certificate is issued that accompanies the body. This death certificate enables the funeral services and burial to take place while additional chemical, microscopic slide preparation and examination, and other investigation continues. At the culmination of these tests and investigation, a ruling is made based on all available information. A supplemental death certificate is then issued with the cause of death and ruling which supersedes the “Pending” death certificate.
You can obtain Medical Examiner records regarding your loved one by calling the Medical Examiner’s Department at (330) 643-2101, to obtain the procedure.
Will an autopsy disfigure the body and prevent an open casket funeral?
Necessary incisions used to perform the autopsy are easily covered by clothing and do not prevent open casket viewing.
What Types of Deaths Should Be Reported to the Coroner’s Office?
Not all deaths have to be reported to the coroner, also called a medical examiner in some counties. However, whenever a person dies of “violent, suspicious, unusual, or sudden death,” that has to be reported to the coroner by law in Ohio.
Ohio Revised Code 313.12 says:
When any person dies as a result of criminal or other violent means, by casualty, by suicide, or in any suspicious or unusual manner, when any person, including a child under two years of age, dies suddenly when in apparent good health, or when any person with a developmental disability dies regardless of the circumstances, the physician called in attendance, or any member of an ambulance service, emergency squad, or law enforcement agency who obtains knowledge thereof arising from the person’s duties, shall immediately notify the office of the coroner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner, and circumstances of the death, and any other information that is required pursuant to sections 313.01 to 313.22 of the Revised Code.
Only the coroner or medical examiner can certify a death as being anything other than “natural.” This means that only a medical examiner or coroner can determine whether a person’s death was the result of suicide, homicide, or accident.
Most nursing home deaths that result in litigation are caused by accidental death or homicide.
Unfortunately, far too many primary care and other doctors choose not to alert the coroner or medical examiner after a person has died following trauma or other unusual circumstances, including after a nursing home resident falls.
When this occurs, it is important for the family to contact the coroner or medical examiner’s office as soon as possible. This can help ensure that the proper cause of death is given.
What Does it Mean to Probate An Estate?
The deceased person cannot file his own lawsuit. Ohio law has a process where all beneficiaries are represented in a single wrongful death lawsuit through the creation of an estate. Although each surviving member of a decedent’s immediate family may be entitled to receive monetary compensation, there is only one cause of action for the recovery of that compensation under Ohio’s wrongful death statute.
Opening An Estate
The actual lawsuit is brought in the name of the representative of the estate for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, children, parents, and other next-of-kin. The estate is created by filing certain paperwork in the probate court.
The “estate” is nothing more than a legal process where the probate court oversees the business of the deceased (including where money is being sent and how or if debts are being paid) and the wrongful death claim that belongs to the family members.
The probate court will then issue paperwork entitling a specific person to serve as the representative of the estate. The individual appointed by the probate court is the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative is then required to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate. The probate court must approve any wrongful death settlement.
Choosing A Personal Representative
Any competent adult person may serve as the personal representative of an estate. In order to be appointed as a personal representative of an estate in Ohio, a person must meet 4 requirements.
- Be at least 18 years of age (i.e., legally competent);
- Be mentally competent;
- Be bonded by a private insurance company; and
- Not have a criminal record (in order to be bonded).
If the deceased dies with a will, the will sometimes waives the bond requirement. Under those circumstances, in order to be appointed as the personal representative, the person must only meet the first two requirements, be over the age of 18 and be mentally competent.
Prior to appointing a personal representative of an estate, beneficiaries have the right to receive notice of the request and object to an applicant’s request to be the personal representative in a hearing. If the beneficiaries do not object to a person being named a personal representative and he or she meets the legal requirements, he or she will usually be named the personal representative by the probate court.
There is no requirement that the personal representative be a beneficiary of the wrongful death claim, be a member of the family, or even have ever known the deceased person. On certain occasions, a lawyer, bank official, or other neutral third-party may be appointed as the personal representative of the estate. This may be the most desirable outcome if, for example, no family member can be bonded or there is family conflict that prevents all beneficiaries from agreeing on a single family member to serve as personal representative.
What does A Personal Representative Do?
In many ways, the personal representative acts like plaintiff in a traditional lawsuit. The difference, however, is that the personal representative is not only making decisions that affect his or her own interests, but is making decisions that affect all beneficiaries of the wrongful death claim.
For example, the personal representative decides whether to file a lawsuit, who and when to sue, what lawyer to have represent the estate for court proceedings, and whether or not to settle the lawsuit, although the probate court must always approve the settlement before it can be finalized.
The personal representative often times has more contact with the lawyers representing the estate (although this is not always the case), is required to participate in certain stages of litigation after the lawsuit is filed called discovery, attends court hearings and pre-trials, and participates in settlement negotiations and mediations.
The personal representative is important because they have the power to choose which lawyer will protect all the beneficiaries’ interests. This is an important decision. The lawyer chosen has a tremendous impact on the final settlement or jury verdict. Picking an experienced wrongful death lawyer who has the ability and expertise to not only go to trial but secure a jury verdict is critical.
Given the amount of responsibility that goes into being the personal representative of an estate, it is important to have a personal representative who is organized, responsive, willing to vigorously pursue the claim, and make decisions that are most advantageous to all beneficiaries.
A probate court may remove the administrator of decedent’s estate when the administrator refuses to bring a wrongful death action when a legitimate wrongful death claim exists. See Toledo Bar Ass’n v. Rust, 124 Ohio St. 3d 305, 2010 Ohio 170.
Where is the Probate Court in Akron, Ohio?
The probate court is where an estate is opened. It is also where nursing home wrongful death settlements and verdicts are processed before the funds can be distributed to family members and charities.
The Summit County Probate Court is located at:
209 South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308-1616
HOURS: Monday-Friday 8am-4pm
(330) 643-2350 – Get Directions
The Summit County probate judge who handles Akron nursing home wrongful death probate matters is Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer.
Learn more about Judge Stormer.
Learn how you can make the difference in the life of a vulnerable senior by joining the Probate Court Senior Visitor Program: https://vimeo.com/135041412