What Are The Steps In A Nursing Home Abuse Or Neglect Claim?
At Reddick Law, PLLC, we want to be clear about this from the very start: Nursing home abuse and neglect claims take time. While we aim to reach a positive resolution as quickly as possible, these cases are complex, and we do not want to trade a good outcome for a fast outcome. It is not unusual for these claims to take two or more years. Our attorneys will be there for you and your family from start to finish, keeping you involved and informed every step of the way.
Start With A Free Claim Evaluation
This is what we are here for. Reach out to us. Tell us about the situation. Ask us questions. Learn about your options. Having handled these matters for decades, we know how to determine whether it is likely that you have a claim. The call is confidential and free. We never charge unless we are successful in getting compensation for you and your family. There is no commitment required until you decide we are the right law firm for you, and you sign on as our client.
If we believe you likely have a nursing home abuse or neglect claim, some initial investigation will be necessary. This will involve gathering and reviewing medical records, interviewing you and other witnesses, working with medical experts to assess the situation and more. This stage is not just about looking at the situation, but also examining what happened to the elderly person against nursing home industry standards of care, as well as applicable state and federal laws, to determine if there is a basis for a lawsuit.
Some nursing home contracts include arbitration clauses, which require that disputes between the nursing home and the resident or the resident’s family be resolved via binding arbitration, rather than a lawsuit. In arbitration, disputes are resolved by an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, who act sort of like a judge. Unfortunately, the results of arbitration may not be appealed if they are unsatisfactory. Thankfully, not all contracts have these clauses, and these clauses may not stand up to a legal challenge.
Notice Of Claim
When we are certain there is a basis for a lawsuit, we will send a notice of claim to the nursing home in question, along with any other defendants we have identified during the pre-suit investigation. This notice is required by law and typically must be sent to the defendant 60 days before we file suit.
Filing A Nursing Home Abuse Or Neglect Lawsuit
This is the step where it gets real. We file a lawsuit with the appropriate civil court, usually in the county where the nursing home is located. The defendant or defendants are served legal papers. They must respond to the lawsuit stating their position within a month of being served.
Discovery And More Investigation
Discovery is the legal term that essentially means asking for information from the other party. We may ask the nursing home for records that we think are important such as treatment records, staffing records or internal policies. In turn, the nursing home also has the right to ask us for information. Every piece of information holds the possibility of opening a new door, and we always do our due diligence and investigate accordingly. Our mission is to gather every single piece of evidence that shows that your loved one was harmed and that the nursing home and its staff were at fault.
The majority of personal injury and wrongful death claims involving nursing homes are resolved by reaching a settlement. In reality, settlement negotiation is not a formal step in the process. Plaintiff and defendant counsel often go back and forth, from the early stages sometimes up until the day of trial, trying to work out some sort of agreement. While the defendant may make an offer, it’s important to us that we make sure the offer is fair. Ultimately, it will be your decision whether you want to accept, but we will make it very clear if we think it’s a lowball offer. We have no qualms with going to trial to fight for full compensation.
In some cases, the court may ask or require that the parties try to reach a resolution via mediation. This is sort of a formal negotiation facilitated by a neutral mediator. While this process can be conducive to a positive outcome, it still requires that both parties eventually reach an agreement. If the nursing home is simply unwilling to provide a resolution that we believe is fair, we may have to proceed to trial anyway.
If an acceptable settlement cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation, our lawyers will proceed to trial. Each party will present their case to a judge and jury, who will decide on the outcome. Trial may take a few days, weeks or even months. Our experience means we know how to confidently walk into a courtroom and present a clear case that shows an elderly person was wronged by a nursing home, and we have established an impressive record of success.
Is It Over?
While some consider trial the finale of the process, there is still work to be done. We need to collect on the settlement or verdict. We need to ensure that the victim is someplace safe going forward. In some cases, the outcome of the trial may be appealed, which begins an entirely different chain of legal events. Whatever happens, we are here for you.