Filing a legal claim for nursing home abuse is something that no one wants to do; however, there is a time that this may need to happen.
Previously, we wrote a blog about nursing home abuse, which is a national cause for concern, and how unfortunate it can be, as well as warning signs that you should be watching for.
Now, read on to learn more about when it is time to sue, what to expect from a West Virginia nursing home lawsuit case and why it has to happen.
NURSING HOME ABUSE | WRONGFUL DEATH
If your loved one has been abused or neglected, he or she can receive:
- Compensation for medical charges
- Compensation for mental and emotional stress
- Justice against his or her attackers
- Damages for emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of comfort and companionship
If a death of a loved one has occured as a result of nursing home abuse, you could recieve:
- Compensation for funeral experience
- Compensation for loss of inheritance
To read our full blog about signs you need to watch for, in case of abuse, neglect or wrongful death, click here.
Nursing homes are expensive and are usually a last resort when a family can not provide the kind of support his or her family member needs.
Nursing homes have high overhead costs, in turn making the facility charge high fees. At this level of cost, one would expect high quality care that is safe for his or her loved one.
Nursing homes that are licensed are required to follow the following laws:
- Social Security Act
- Older Americans Act
- Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA)
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
- State Adult Protective Services
- State Penal Code
STARTING A LAWSUIT AGAINST A NURSING HOME
A lawsuit is a legal claim filed in civil court that is accusing a nursing home of misconduct. A lawsuit should be filed by a lawyer. This lawyer does not have to be specialized in nursing home abuse; however, it would be helpful because he or she would know the process better.
There are certain requirements which must be met before suit can be filed. Talk to your lawyer about these.
There are many moving parts to a nursing home abuse trail:
- The claim itself. It has to be filed in court before the process can start.
- Naming the plaintiff (victim) and the defendant/s (the nursing home and other responsible parties)
- Collecting statements including details about the accused abuse and the defendant's explanation.
- Reviewing potential damages.
When filing a lawsuit against a nursing home, a lawyer must be able to prove:
- The nursing home was contracted to provide care for the victim
- There was a failure to care for the victim
- The lack of care resulted in the victim’s injuries or death
The process is complex and involves many phases:
- Investigation. A lawyer must gather all facts, from both sides, to proceed, which include witness statements, pictures, medical records and expert analysis.
- Discovery. The process by which facts are gathered in the course of the lawsuit.
- Pre-Trial Preparation. This is the part in the case where both lawyers will conceive their strategy on how to best pursue the case. Any information that was gathered during the discovery phases will need to be followed up with at this time.
- Trial. The last part of the journey is trial day. This is where witnesses (from both sides) will testify before a judge and jury. There are two possible options. The claim can be dismissed or upheld, depending on the verdict of the jury.
During the lawsuit process, from the start to end, either side (plaintiff or defendant) may settle the case.
WHAT IS A CASE WORTH?
There are many factors that determine the value of a case:
- Monetary charges such as medical expenses, loss of income and other expenses. It is worth noting that if the loved one is still alive, a loss of income may not be feasible to sue for since the loved one was not employed in the first place. Also, if medical bills were paid by outside insurance, the full amount of medical expenses can not be sued for.
- Emotional trauma charges such as pain, suffering and even losing the loved one.
- Punitive damages to deter this and other nursing homes from abusing their charges.
It is best to discuss this with a lawyer in your state.
EXPECTATIONS FROM A NURSING HOME LAWSUIT IN WEST VIRGINIA | STEALEY LAW & MEDIATION
First and foremost, expect the nursing home to resist. Even though a percentage of nursing home abuse cases are settled out of court without a lawsuit, expect the claim to be files. Most cases do settle out of court, however.
Your lawyer should be prepared to go to court, if that is in your best interest.
An emotional toll can be brought on from launching a lawsuit; however, your lawyer should be there to talk with you and provide any emotional support that you or other family members may need.
At Stealey Law and Mediation, we aim to get justice to those who otherwise can not obtain justice themselves.
If you’ve noticed signs of abuse at a nursing home where your loved one(s) reside, please give us a call. These cases need to be addressed immediately and efficiently, before more damage to your loved one can happen.
Need help with your case? Schedule a free consultation.