It’s normal to seek assistance with caring for our loved ones as they age. In fact, about one-third of adults will relocate to nursing homes at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, people in these locations don’t always spend their golden years how they should.
There are various types of abuse in nursing homes, and hiring a lawyer is sometimes necessary. Let’s break down what you need to know before filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Not all abuse that occurs in nursing homes is equal. It’s crucial to understand the possible scenarios so you can take action when necessary. Listed below are a few of the most notable.
General Nursing Home Abuse
This can include emotional, sexual, or physical abuse in nursing homes. To fall into this category, the acts must be intentionally committed. Accidental situations often don’t qualify as abuse.
Medical malpractice can lead to nursing home injuries. Malpractice involves a medical professional making a mistake that adversely affects the resident.
For example, a doctor might perform a procedure incorrectly and leave the patient with permanent mobility issues. Negligence and neglect occur when staff members don’t adhere to the basic standards of care.
In these situations, their inaction causes the residents to suffer. Common forms of neglect include not following a patient’s medical treatment schedule, not responding to emergency requests, etc.
Breach of Contract
When nursing home staff don’t honor the terms of their contracts, it often results in them providing inadequate care. These situations will vary between facilities, as many nursing home agreements are different. Lawsuits often cite breaches of contract in addition to other criteria, as breaching a nursing home contract inevitably leads to patient harm.
As the name implies, wrongful death occurs when a nursing home resident passes away due to abuse or neglect. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one passes away as a direct result of nursing home abuse. You can also file a wrongful death lawsuit if you have previously filed a suit for abuse but your loved one passes away before it is resolved.
How Compensation Can Help
Handling the aftermath of elderly abuse can be difficult and emotionally draining. Receiving the appropriate level of compensation can help you better manage your situation. You can allocate this money toward obligations like funeral costs, lost wages, therapy, and medical bills.
In some situations, a judge may require nursing homes to pay punitive damages. This money transcends the compensation you’re owed and is meant specifically to punish the nursing home for its behavior. Although winning a lawsuit will never undo the damage that’s been done, it can help you get your life back on track.
Seeking justice can also prevent additional incidents in the future. The staff members at fault will likely be fired. Egregious cases of abuse can expose a shady facility and ruin its reputation. Afterward, they won’t have the opportunity to cause harm to other people.
Finding a Reliable Lawyer
Finding the right lawyer is essential before you take action. It’s in your best interest to research their past reputation and level of industry experience.
See what other clients have had to say about working with an attorney or law firm. There should be no shortage of people who were satisfied with their results.
Is the lawyer comfortable going to trial? Not all cases make it to the courtroom, but they should have experience in this area in the event that yours does. The last thing you want is to deal with the emotional turmoil of a nursing home abuse lawsuit and then have your attorney fail to perform in court.
Make sure you work with someone you’re comfortable with. If they’re difficult to get in touch with or don’t seem interested in your case, continue searching elsewhere.
Ask about their payment structure. Some lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay money upfront. Instead, they’ll take their compensation out of the amount you’re awarded. This is a great opportunity for those who don’t have the budget to file a lawsuit.
Ensure that you meet with the attorney who will handle your case. Some firms delegate cases to other lawyers, and this could result in someone you’ve never met handling your lawsuit.
If the attorney you speak with plans on delegating, ask them to meet with the person to which they will give the case. From there, you can make your decision.
What Is the Expected Timeline?
In general, it takes a large number of months to settle a nursing home abuse case. Some situations can take over a year. You’ll need to remain patient throughout the process and understand that there isn’t much you can do to speed things up.
In fact, it’s better to take longer and gather more evidence of the nursing home’s wrongdoing. Trying to reach a settlement as quickly as possible could leave you with much less compensation than you deserve. It could even cause the judge to rule in the other party’s favor.
How to Improve Your Case
Aside from hiring legal services, there are certain steps you can take to improve your chances of success. You should present your attorney with any evidence that you have that abuse occurred.
This could include photographs of injuries, malicious text messages, recordings of phone calls, etc. Medical records are also key pieces of information you shouldn’t overlook.
The more evidence you provide, the stronger your case will be. Your lawyer will guide you through this process and help you determine what’s relevant and what isn’t.
Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
Dealing with abuse of any kind can be stressful, and this is especially true when it involves an elderly loved one. Knowing when to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit can bring offenders to justice. It will also help you get the compensation you deserve.
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