Older people are the rapidly growing population in the United States of America. Thus, this demographic is significantly in need of assisted living and nursing care facilities. Although the main aim of the caregiving homes is to look after the senior residents, many cases exist where staff take negligent actions and risk the health of senior citizens.
Witnessing the injuries of your loved one is shattering. And it’s even more agonizing and heart-rending when such an incident occurs at a place you considered secure, i.e., the nursing home. Nursing home neglect refers to failing to fulfill the defined standard of care. A few examples of negligence include failure to keep the facility secure and hazard-free or failure to offer proper medical care.
And while you may decide to take legal action against the caregiving facility. However, navigating the legal aspects and proceedings can be an uphill struggle, even if the signs of nursing home neglect are apparent. Various questions arise: Is the deterioration in health due to negligence or a pre-existent medical condition? Also, to what degree does one influence the other? Besides, these cases can stretch for quite a long time, from filing a lawsuit to following the verdict or receiving financial recovery through settlement.
Nursing home cases aren’t a sprint; it’s more like a marathon. It requires thorough research, preparation, and a network of expert witnesses, which only competent attorneys can provide. Since lawyers are familiar with legal requirements and the standard of care, thus, they can correctly file the lawsuit on your behalf. Here’s how they can secure the justice you downright deserve:
It’s one of the most critical steps in suing a nursing home for negligence. First, it requires exhaustive research; the nursing home neglect lawyer collects all the relevant medical information. Including medical history, billing records, and other resident documents and investigating them. Not only this, but the lawyer also gathers the caregiving facility’s history, such as previous cases against them and possible violations.
This evidence can help the nursing home neglect lawyer build your case, strengthen it, and help your family obtain the rightful financial compensation for the suffering. However, know that it’s a time-intensive process; therefore, in the meantime, the lawyer appoints a consulting expert. This expert can either be a healthcare practitioner or a legal nurse consultant who comprehends the medical jargon and diagnosis and figures out the errors in medical care.
NOC and expert report
The attorney follows the case further and issues a notice of claim, commonly known as a NOC, to the defendant, who in this example is the nursing home, after the consulting expert reviews all records and identifies responsible activities. A notice of claim is a legislatively required document that apprises the defendants about the injuries caused by them and also the intent to launch a lawsuit against them.
Once the plaintiff sends the NOC to the nursing home, the lawyer files the nursing home neglect claim in court. The defendant receives the citation, which informs about the case, and the nursing home will have nearly a month to answer.
After the defendant, i.e., the nursing home, replies to the citation, the lawyer, on behalf of the plaintiff, presents an expert report in court. This report must state how the nursing home failed to provide adequate medical care and how the negligent actions led to the injuries to the resident.
A settlement offer or a mediation conference is one of the most general ways to settle a case. That’s because the settlement negotiation can help overcome litigation expenses and achieve an almost equivalent financial recovery for the plaintiff.
It’s worth noting that the settlement negotiation can occur anytime throughout the case. However, the process usually begins from the plaintiff’s side, demanding an initial amount to settle the lawsuit. The defendant may choose to reject the offer or come up with a different amount of money for the settlement. It’s entirely contingent upon the plaintiff to ignore or approve this offer.
Suppose both the involved parties come to terms on a specific amount. In that case, a lawyer creates a legally binding document through which the plaintiff acquires the compensation, and the trial ends here.
Trial and appeal
However, if both parties – the defendant and the plaintiff, fail to work out and reach a settlement negotiation outside the court premises. In that case, the lawsuit eventually goes to trial, meaning – you and the nursing home can present your case and share standpoints before the jury and judges.
Remember, trials can be unpredictable; they can last for a couple of days or stretch for months, depending on the perplexity of the lawsuit. Lastly, after the jury has listened to the viewpoints of both parties, they conclude and give their decision.
Nonetheless, suppose a plaintiff or the defendant doesn’t agree with the verdict and thinks that legal complications have occurred. In that case, both parties have the right to appeal and contest the validity. Finally, the higher court examines the matter further and issues its decision.
Pursuing a lawsuit against the nursing home can be easy with the proper legal assistance in your corner. A highly skilled lawyer can go to all lengths to find the evidence and manage the legal aspects of filing a claim against the nursing home. Also, lawyers can negotiate the compensation amount through settlement, represent you during the court trial (if necessary), and pursue legal justice.
It’s relevant to note that the financial compensation received through jury verdict or settlement can generally take around 30-90 days to get shelled out to the injured party. However, some of the lawsuits might take even longer than this period. The reasons behind the delay can be appeals, complexities in settling healthcare liens, or the payment methods used by the defendants.
And while the steps mentioned above depict a general process of a nursing home neglect lawsuit. It’s important to point out that the nature of each case differs. Your chosen lawyer can best review the facts and walk you through the entire case.