When a nursing home resident is harmed by a negligent or an intentional act, it’s not always clear what the root causes are and who is to be held responsible. Nursing home abuse cases are complex legal matters that can involve intensive investigation and extensive experience in navigating the legal system.
There are many things you need to know about a lawyer who handles cases involving nursing homes. The first thing a lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse will do is to meet with the complainant or the family representative who has the legal authority to manage the abuse victim’s affairs. A general discussion will take place about the history of the victim, their mental and physical capacities, and the circumstances surrounding the allegation of abuse.
The lawyer will apply the circumstances to the tests of law and determine if there’s a case which can be litigated. There are three primary legal requirements to be addressed:
- That a legal contract existed which binds the nursing home to a duty to care for the alleged victim or plaintiff.
- That the nursing home facility failed to uphold their responsibility of care either through negligence, omission or intentional acts.
- That the abuse is a “direct or proximate” result of the acts and that the legal action is related to this cause.
If there is “just cause” for the victim or victim’s representative (plaintiff) to commence a legal action against the nursing home company, its employees or any third party such as an offending resident (defendants), the lawyer will begin an investigation into the facts and will obtain evidence to prove the abuse in fact occurred. Proving the case is paramount to successfully winning a lawsuit and obtaining just compensation.
How A Good Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
A competent lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse cases should initially attempt to reconcile the complaint between the parties. This might involve addressing a letter to the responsible person in charge of the nursing home that outlines the concerns and requests a reply with a course of corrective measure.
Should that step fail and the lawyer is confident that there is a founded case that can be brought before the courts, the lawyer will then take steps to undertake a lawsuit. These steps include:
- Gathering information. It’s important to be as informed as possible regarding the history and facts of the abuse allegation. This might be medical records, witness statements, and other documentary or photographic evidence.
- Starting legal action. This is done by filing a claim in the court of proper jurisdiction and by having the defendants served with notice of the action.
- Preparing for discovery. This involves collecting and organizing the information prior to trial and may involve having the plaintiff and defendants deposed or sourcing expert witness testimony.
- Negotiating a settlement. Civil cases rarely go to trial as in over 90 percent of the time a settlement is agreed upon by all parties before the case is heard at trial.
- Commencing a trial. When a settlement cannot be reached and the lawyer is convinced that sufficient evidence exists to rule the balance of probabilities in the plaintiff’s favor, then a trial is conducted and a judge and/or jury will make a decision regarding the facts and decide the outcome, including an amount for settlement.
- Resolving the lawsuit. Regardless of the outcome, the lawyer is seized with the case and must conclude the proceedings in accordance with the law.
If you find any indication of a nursing home neglect and injury, don’t hesitate! Contact McEldrew Young’s dedicated nursing home abuse attorney and consult the issue before it’s too late.