The Fight for Justice In the Wrongful Death of a Father
When Lindsay Matthews saw her father on Jan. 21, 2015, she was shocked, horrified, and heartbroken. Within a few short weeks, of moving into a long-term health facility he had lost 40 pounds and developed aspiration pneumonia. He had entered the nursing home in November 2014 with dementia, but he was physically in very good shape — a healthy 69-year-old man who required very little assistance. Within weeks his health deteriorated to the point where he was feverish, severely dehydrated, and malnourished. When found unresponsive and incoherent on Jan. 21, he was admitted to the hospital where he passed away two days later.
Consumed with grief, Lindsay was determined to find answers but neither the nursing home nor the hospital had any to give. In Lindsay’s words, “I felt like something was very, very wrong. I saw my Dad one week, and then I saw him again just weeks later and he was emaciated and on death’s door. This should not have happened. No one should have ever been treated in this way. I walked away from this thinking that my Dad had just fallen off the cliff, and no one could tell me why.”
One of Lindsay’s best friends was an attorney, so she turned to her for help. This friend and her law partners recommended that Lindsay speak to the team at Hare, Wynn, Newell, and Newton. She told Lindsay we had considerable expertise in handling nursing home neglect lawsuits and that they had established a niche in dealing with similar types of situations. Her friend said they would be the very best firm to handle her case.
Lindsay explains, “I wanted the very best. I didn’t want a run-of-the-mill firm that would just take my case and do whatever they wanted with it. I had worked in nursing homes before, so I knew that there are firms that will just go through the motions of filing something, but their heart is not in it so the nursing homes just don’t take them seriously. I knew that it was going to take a big name for people to take this case seriously. Once I heard their name and had researched them, I could quickly see that these were the only people who could take on this case and find the answers for me that I needed.”
When Hare Wynn decided to take the case, Lindsay had a glimmer of hope and felt comforted and encouraged for the first time. She worked directly with Brittany Wilson and Matt Minner who handle many of the firm’s nursing home neglect cases.
Lindsay explains, “Brittany, Matt, and the firm really welcomed me into the entire process; they did not shut me out. I knew everything that was going on at all times. They were upfront, realistic, and honest with me and told me that this could end up being quite a long process — and it would not be easy. They were just amazing. There is just no other way to put it. Sometimes the information we needed just seemed to take forever, or we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, but they didn’t give up. They did not stop. The momentum they kept up with the case was just remarkable.”
Lindsay says that though there were many obstacles, the firm always found a way around them. Often, those very obstacles become critical turning points of the case. That is what Matt and Brittany told her from the beginning, and that is exactly what happened.
“Matt was certain there had been negligence and he was determined to prove it. He would just not back down and he was relentless,” Lindsay said. “Because of that, we were miraculously able to get key witnesses and physicians that provided care for my Dad in the emergency room to come forward and tell the truth about what occurred, even though those witnesses were affiliated with the group that provided care at the nursing home. The case turned completely in our favor because of this.”
Once Hare Wynn had confirmed the negligence, they drafted a demand letter to the nursing home outlining what they believed to have happened to Lindsay’s father, and what the implications and repercussions of those actions were with regard to the law. Subsequently, the nursing home agreed to mediation, and on December 2, 2016, a settlement was reached.
Lindsay believes the only reason the nursing home and its attorneys took this case seriously, and that she was able to receive the settlement she did, was because of Hare Wynn’s reputation, experience, and dedication to her father’s case.
“Matt again was very realistic and upfront with me in the weeks prior to mediation. He walked me through every step and what to expect,” Lindsay said. He gave me peace of mind that he would be there and that he would handle it all for me — he was a wonderful counselor. I think his name and the firm’s name just holds so much weight with the other attorneys that it made the whole experience easy. Matt, Brittany, and the firm exceeded any expectation I could ever have had going into this. When I try to describe how many ways they helped me, I am almost speechless.”
Lindsay stresses the critical importance of selecting the right firm — one you can trust — with these words: “I trusted Hare Wynn from the moment I first spoke with them. I don’t think you could go into this process and not trust the people who are fighting for you. You really only have one chance to get it right or you are finished before you even start. You have to have somebody who says, ‘We are going to fight for you, and we will not give up, no matter how long it takes.’ I consider Brittany and Matt not only my advocates throughout the process but also lifelong friends who made sure they gave me peace that no one else could. They never let me down. They will always hold a very special place within my heart.”
To more fully express her gratitude, Lindsay recently sent an email to Matt and Brittany which read:
“All I ever wanted was justice for my Dad and peace knowing I fought hard for him. I know that without the weight that the firm’s name carries, and without Matt’s reputation, the settlement I received would not have been possible. I am so thankful to both of you for helping me get to a point of peace — something I haven’t felt since he passed away. I believe God calls people to certain jobs and you both are doing what He called you to do. From the bottom of my heart thank you. Thank you for not giving up, for always being honest and being realistic with me. I am forever grateful.”
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