It’s horrifying to discover the facility and staff you trusted to take care of your loved one violated his or her basic needs. But when this happens, your family member, as well as countless others in similar situations, requires justice. That begins by filing a report with the Department of Social Services to investigate the facility, and also to align yourself with a lawyer experienced in nursing home negligence and elderly abuse.
Although many may consider finding an attorney “jumping the gun” before an investigation is complete, family members are just entering the complex, convoluted, and tortuous maze of personal injury law. Lawyers with elderly abuse and nursing home negligence experience can bring the following to the table:
• Understands a state’s specific laws concerning nursing home regulations, practices, and elderly abuse.
• Can assist with obtaining a fair settlement or, if the case goes to trial, sufficient compensation.
• Assist with obtaining access to key witnesses. In a nursing home negligence case, this may be physicians, therapists, and nutritionists, all of whom review the situation and testify in court.
• Can direct you to a class action lawsuit, depending upon the reported instance and nursing home’s history. With corporatization more rampant, the chances of wide-scale abuse across a chain of homes increase.
Approaching a nursing home neglect case is similar to other personal injury claims, in terms of finding a lawyer. Take the following factors into account.
1. How much experience? A lawyer taking on your case must have a history of representing nursing home negligence, elder abuse, medical malpractice, personal injury, or consumer fraud, depending on the incidence. These cases should represent a large portion of the lawyer’s cases already.
2. What kind of experience? Don’t just choose anyone with experience in the above fields; someone taking on your claim should have represented the plaintiff, rather than the defendant, in most trials. Lawyers primarily representing defendants may be more likely to side with an insurance company or hospital where the abuse occurred.
3. Seek out recommendations before arranging for a meeting. Ask people you know in similar situations, consult with lawyers, or look into your local bar association.
4. Who will be working on your case? Although a lawyer may agree to take on your case, find out first if the attorney will be the one doing the research, or if other, lower-ranked staff members take on the majority of pre-trial duties.