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When plaintiffs file a wrongful death lawsuit, they know that the defendant will defend the case just like it was a dog bite case: it wasn’t our dog, it didn’t bite you, if it did bite you, you deserved to get bit, and what are you hollering for, because the dog bite didn’t cause your injury. Now, substitute any kind of tortious or negligent act for “dog bite” and you have the defense bar’s approach to wrongful death cases.
I handled a nursing home wrongful death case in 2014 that took nine years to get to trial. Every conceivable way a case can be delayed, this case was. The negligence in the case was horrible. The 88-year-old victim, whose daughter was a nurse, and had been the Director of Nursing at that institution, testified that her mother was terribly neglected. The medical records demonstrated that she went 26 days without a single nursing note during a period of time where she lost nearly 20 pounds of body weight.