Whenever you are filing a lawsuit, it is important that you get the assistance of an attorney. With nursing home lawsuits, this is especially important. Lawsuits against nursing homes can be extremely complex because they often involve federal and state regulations, specific medical knowledge, and wrongful death claims.
In order to win a lawsuit against a nursing home and get the compensation you deserve, you will need to prove that the injury was caused by negligence or an intentional abusive act, and these are specific legal standards with procedure and requirements that lawyers best understand.
If the abuse of a patient was obvious, the administrators of a nursing home may offer compensation to the resident and the resident’s family. They are offering compensation because they hope to avoid the costs of a lawsuit. In some situations, the compensation may be generous enough to cover the costs of injury, but that is not always the case. The victim of abuse should always consult a lawyer accepting this compensation because they may be waiving their right to sue the nursing home for the abuse.
An experienced nursing home attorney will be able to evaluate the situation and look at the nursing home’s offer. The resident and his attorney can then decide if they should take the offer of if they should pursue legal action. Waiving the ability to sue the facility might be a bad idea if the injuries that were caused will require expensive and long term treatment.
Sometimes a facility will try to prevent the abuse victim from moving to another nursing home. In these situations, an attorney can provide guidance and tell the victim what his legal options are. The nursing home will be working with a lawyer, so it’s important that you have similar expertise and guidance when you interact with them.
Different states have different statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits against nursing homes. The statute of limitations will determine how much time you have after the abuse occurred to file the lawsuit. You should consult with a lawyer to make sure that you completely understand the statute of limitations in your state, so that you don’t wait too long to file the claim.
States may have other laws that determine who can sue the nursing home, what you can sue a nursing home for, and how much compensation you can be awarded. Working with an attorney will help you understand the limitations specific to your state, so that you make the right legal decisions.
Without an experienced lawyer, most families will not know how to file their claim, gather evidence, and then proceed with the legal process. Especially in cases that involve medical knowledge and expertise, it can be very difficult to win a case if you haven’t hired experienced legal counsel.
An attorney can also help you navigate the process if the nursing home would like to settle out of court. Your attorney will be able to read the agreement and let you know if it’s fair as well as help you negotiate to a better agreement. Afterwards you can decide what makes the most sense for you and your family and choose to go to trial or to settle out of court.
Nursing homes should not get away with abuse and neglect. In addition, it is impossible for some families to handle the medical bills themselves after abuse and neglect occurred. Hiring a lawyer will help you get the best possible outcome, so that you and your family get the compensation and justice you deserve.
“Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes.” Nolo. Nolo. Web. 28 May 2013. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/elder-abuse-nursing-homes-30162.html
“Interagency Coordination.” Center for Elders and the Courts. National Center for State Courts. Web. 28 May 2013.http://www.eldersandcourts.org/Elder-Abuse/Elder-Abuse-Assessment-Resources-and-Coordination.asp&xgt;
“Judicial System.” National Center on Elder Abuse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Web. 28 May 2013. http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Partners/Judicial/index.asp&xgt;
“Nursing Home Abuse Increasing.” CBS News. CBS News, 11 Feb 2009. Web. 28 May 2013.http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-304038.html