Nursing homes have become common in today’s fast-paced society, and about 1.5 million Americans reside in these facilities. Currently, 15,000+ assisted-living institutions are operating in the country, and according to estimates, an average resident is more than 80 years old.
One can guess how difficult it can get to take care of yourself when you are old! Unfortunately, many residents face abuse at the hands of the employees there. Some unfortunate statistics have indicated that nearly one-fourth of the residents are victims of abuse at least once during their stay. So, how do you seek justice on behalf of your loved ones? This article explains some crucial things you should know before filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Learn this before filing a lawsuit
It’s never a lovely sight to find your elderly relatives abandoned by the people you’re paying to take care of them. Bringing a lawsuit against the guilty party prevents other adults from facing the same fate. Also, it can help you receive the required compensation to rehabilitate your loved one. Learn how to discern abusive behavior from regular treatment and understand the symptoms of nursing home abuse. Remain watchful of how nursing home residents appear, and then you may file a lawsuit against the guilty party. Remember that your lawsuit should follow the guidelines we have mentioned here. Strengthen the case by fulfilling the necessities of a nursing home lawsuit. And here’s how you can successfully file a claim:
1. Get a lawyer
Increase your chances of winning this lawsuit by hiring expert attorneys. These experienced lawyers can help you navigate the complex streams of the American legal system successfully. Search online, ask people for recommendations, and interview multiple nursing home abuse lawyers before finally settling on the best person. Your attorney helps you gather the required witnesses, find undisclosed evidence, and strengthen the lawsuit. That’s how you can proceed with the case properly now.
Interestingly, many law firms can work on contingency, i.e., if you don’t get anything, the lawyer doesn’t get paid. This contingency makes clients trust their attorneys and forces lawyers to focus on serving people. So now, let us discuss what sort of lawsuit you should pursue to seek justice in 2022.
2. Civil and criminal cases
Victims should understand that nursing home abuse cases can be civil or criminal. The progress of an abuse lawsuit depends on the case you’re pursuing. You should learn how these cases can be different from each other. Here are some critical variations between civil and criminal cases:
The victim handles the lawsuit by acting as the plaintiff.
The state serves as the plaintiff to seek justice for the victim.
The plaintiff wants to seek monetary damages from the defendant.
The plaintiff (the state) wishes to prosecute the guilty party for violating the law.
Since the victim is also the plaintiff, the victim mustremain very involved.
Since the state is the plaintiff, the victim only needs to appear as a witness for testifying.
Mostly, these cases are concluded when the parties settle the case.
These cases involve a jury trial, plea bargain, or even dismissal sometimes.
Victims bring lawyers.
The state provides lawyers.
3. Tort and breach of contract lawsuits
Most nursing home abuse cases involve tort lawsuits in which the plaintiff argues that the defendant violates the plaintiff’s rights. These lawsuits involve abuse, neglect, and negligence. They are popular as they properly include misconduct, wrongdoings, and other breaches of the standard of care. But a breach of contract lawsuit isn’t common, and victims resort to it only when tort conditions seem very unlikely.
Experts suggest a breach of contract lawsuit blames the entire facility for abusing your loved ones. But nursing facilities have liability insurances to cover these expenses. So, victims should stick to tort cases. It helps them obtain the required amount to cover their suffering.
4. Don’t confuse abuse with neglect
What’s the difference between abuse and neglect? We admit that both abuse and neglect are pretty much intolerable. Nobody wants their elderly relatives to be neglected by nursing home employees. But abuse and neglect are two different conditions with separate definitions.
You can strengthen an abuse case by learning the difference between these two conditions. Abuse is intentional when your adult is mistreated deliberately. On the other hand, neglect may be caused by employees not being attentive and slacking off while taking care of residents. However, abuse and neglect can even overlap in some cases. It’s because neglect can lead to an employee adopting abusive behaviors.
5. Types of abuse
So, it would help if you learned what abuse occurs in nursing homes. The National Institute of Aging (NIA) has described certain types of abuse, and symptoms can indicate which one’s happening with your adult. Abuse can be physical, emotional, or both. Some forms of abuse are financial, while other forms lead to abandonment. Sexual abuse shouldn’t be excluded from this list. And neglect has been described as one form of abuse though we’ve already explained how it differs from the standard definition of abuse.
6. File your petition
Understand that most states give you two years to file a petition about nursing home abuse. But, if your case gets filed after the statute of limitations has expired, the lawsuit won’t proceed any further and will be rejected. So, remember to pursue this case before the time’s up.
Now, you know some of the most crucial things about filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Let’s go over these points again for your consideration. First, understand different categories of abuse,and don’t confuse abuse with neglect. Contact a lawyer, gather some evidence, and file your petition before the statute of limitations expires. Also, learn the difference between civil and criminal cases before proceeding.
Moreover, it would help if you understood whether to pursue a tort case or file a breach of contract lawsuit. Build your case by accepting some help from your lawyer. Discuss with your lawyer whether you should take the offer of settlement from the guilty party. And that’s how you can successfully handle a nursing home abuse case.