Each year, nursing home abuse leaves many seniors physically harmed, financially ruined, and emotionally traumatized. Often, the culprits are the staff members or the residents tasked to keep them healthy and happy.
To protect your loved ones in nursing homes, you must regularly check on them and report any warning signs of abuse. It is also essential to seek the help of competent personal injury attorneys once you have solid proof of abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse
Any form of harm that is inflicted on elderly residents in long-term care facilities, including sexual assault, financial exploitation, and physical or emotional abuse is commonly referred to as nursing home abuse.
Unfortunately, an elderly loved one may not even realize they are being neglected or abused, and they can take action and assert their legal rights. Often, adult family members will take on the task.
What You Need to Know When Getting Help
If you are taking steps to protect your loved one, it is ideal that you know what to expect when working with a personal injury attorney. Below are some of the possible steps you and your chosen lawyer will undertake.
Investigate the claims
In many cases, the nursing home and the insurance company might deny their staff or any of their employees did anything wrong. This means you need to prove their liability so you can obtain the compensation your loved one deserves.
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will also gather the needed evidence to start building the case. This process can include:
Your lawyer will interview the victim of the neglect or abuse to gather information needed for the case. Friends or family members who have witnessed the abuse or have observed physical or psychological changes will also be interviewed.
Interviewing former employees
Former employees who witnessed the abuse inflicted upon your loved ones can provide a wealth of information that can help the case. Aside from that, they might also provide information about how residents are treated or the standard practices in the nursing home.
Your lawyer will most likely request a copy of the inspections or survey reports that may provide evidence of violations of state or federal regulations regarding resident care. Reports of any abuse by physicians or nurses may also be considered to determine if they did not provide the standard of care that applies to the victim's situation.
Your lawyer might also look for valuable information on the procedural manuals that pertain to the care of nursing home residents.
Checking medical and other records
Depending on the type of neglect and abuse, your lawyer might also obtain the victim's medical record to prove if there were medical errors made. Most likely, your lawyer will also check if medical conditions were left untreated or sufficient nutrition or hydration was not provided.
If other forms of abuse are suspected, your lawyer might request additional documents such as financial records to see if any money was stolen from your loved one.
Negotiating with the Nursing Home
Once your attorney has completed the initial investigation, he will assist in filing an administrative case against the nursing home. Most likely, he'll also send a demand letter outlining the neglect or abuse your loved one experienced.
Your lawyer may also enter into negotiations with the nursing home and the insurance company. Whether the claim is settled or not will depend on many factors, including the evidence the lawyer uncovered, the insurance adjuster's willingness to settle the claim, and how strong the case is against the nursing home.
Suppose the statute of limitations is about to expire, or the settlement negotiations are not productive, your lawyer will likely file a lawsuit against the liable staff members and the nursing home.
During the litigation process, your lawyer will continue to collect evidence, prepare for trial, and attempt to settle the case when he believes negotiations are more fruitful.
About the Author
Andrea Williams is the Community Manager at The Law Offices of Alcock & Associates P.C., a premier law group in Arizona that provides legal services to clients involved in Personal Injury, DUI, Immigration and Criminal cases. She enjoys cooking, reading books and playing minigolf with her friends and family in her spare time.
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