Seniors are perhaps the most vulnerable segment of society. They often depend entirely on others for practically all the functions of their daily life. Many seniors are lonely, and they can fall under the influence of an unscrupulous person who is providing them with attention. Approximately one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of abuse. These numbers may even be understated, as many cases of abuse go unreported.
In a nursing home setting, the situation can be even worse. Stressed, poorly trained, or aggressive staff members can mistreat your loved one, causing them physical injuries. They may not treat your loved one at all, and the neglect can endanger their life. If your loved one has suffered an injury in a nursing home, your family may be entitled to financial compensation.
You will need a nursing home abuse attorney to take effective action against the facility that harms your loved one. You should never wait to begin seeking the right lawyer to help your family member.
Know When You Need a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
The first step is acknowledging the need for an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. If your loved one has suffered an injury due to nursing home abuse, you will need an attorney to take on the facility in court.
Otherwise, the nursing home can get away with what it did to your family member. Nursing homes and their insurance companies all have their own experienced defense lawyers whose job is to protect the nursing home from potential lawsuits like yours. What matters most to them is that they save money, even if it means that they escape accountability from horrific directions.
It is borderline impossible to get justice from a nursing home on your own. Unless someone presses them with the facts, they will not yield. Without the necessary proof, they will never acknowledge wrongdoing. Their modus operandi is to deny, deny, deny until someone forces them to admit it or settle the case.
What a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Does for Your Family
An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can do the following in your case:
- Investigate what happened and gather the evidence that is necessary to prove that the nursing home broke the law
- Work with your family to ensure that someone reports the abuse to the proper authorities
- Help your family put a stop to the neglect or abuse if it is still ongoing
- Counsel you on your legal options to obtain financial compensation for the abuse
- File a lawsuit on behalf of your family to fight for both Justice and accountability
- Negotiate a potential settlement with the nursing home that can compensate your family and your loved one
Most importantly, the nursing home will take you far more seriously when you have an attorney. Then, they know that you are well aware of your legal rights, and you can file a lawsuit against them. If you have not yet sued them, they may be far more inclined to listen to you when you bring concerns to their attention. Nursing homes are far more likely to escape accountability for their behavior when families are uninformed. The first thing a lawyer does is explain the law and your family’s and loved one’s rights.
You may also have critical deadlines in your case that you need to meet. Without the help of an experienced lawyer, you may not even know of these deadlines. When you file a lawsuit, you must put your best foot forward with the court and all of your filings.
The Nursing Home Will Try to Make Your Case More Difficult
Nursing homes often try to figuratively circle their own wagons to protect themselves from liability when they have harmed someone under their care. They may try to make it difficult to obtain facts and information that can help your case. A nursing home lawyer must establish facts when the nursing home is doing everything possible to stonewall you.
Your nursing home lawyer will fight to obtain the necessary evidence to prove that your loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse. They may also work with expert witnesses who can give their opinion that your loved one was abused or received deficient care. These are not the same factual situations the average personal injury lawyer handles as part of their job. Here, your attorney has to get into the inner workings of a nursing home when the facility is trying to protect itself at all costs. They will need to be aggressive during the discovery process to get the necessary information from the nursing home. Without that, your case may not succeed.
Even if the nursing home tries to settle the lawsuit, it will be a long road until you arrive at a mutually agreeable compensation amount. The nursing home will try to settle the case with a lowball offer, even though your family deserves more. Your attorney will need to say no to at least one settlement offer before you can reach an agreement. They will contribute value to your case by knowing how much it is worth and when the nursing home is trying to underpay you.
An Attorney Can Help Hold the Nursing Home Legally Accountable
You have every reason to want to hold the nursing home accountable for what it did. Not only have they compromised your loved one’s well-being, but they have also taken away your family’s peace of mind. If the nursing home gets away with what it did, other residents may also have to endure the same treatment. In addition, the financial compensation your family can receive from nursing home abuse lawsuits can help you care for your loved one and benefit your family in the future.
Not only will successfully suing a nursing home bring justice to your family, but it can also help others in the future. Your lawsuit can be the prompt that causes the nursing home to change its Behavior, or it can bring attention to wrongful behavior that injures residents.
You Need to Find a Nursing Home Attorney Quickly
Not only should you hire an attorney, but you should also not delay in making this decision. The longer you wait to act, the harder it will be to obtain financial compensation for your family member’s injuries.
Here are some of the reasons why you need to act quickly in deciding to retain counsel for your nursing home abuse case:
- Evidence can disappear in a hurry, especially when it is in the hands of a nursing home that realizes that it may have legal liability in your case.
- The nursing home abuse may be ongoing, and hiring an attorney can help bring it to an end.
- You have a limited amount of time under state law to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit (many refer to this as the statute of limitations, and it is a hard deadline)
- Your family is more motivated to work to obtain financial compensation when the abuse is either ongoing or has just happened.
- Attorneys may not want to come in years after the fact, having to piece together what happened and gather evidence that may be difficult to find
How to Find the Right Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Your Case
Once you have decided that you need a lawyer, the next pressing matter is to hire the right attorney for your specific circumstances. You should not take nursing home abuse lawsuits lightly. Financial awards can be high in these cases, so there is a great deal on the line. While many attorneys tell you that they can handle a nursing home abuse lawsuit, not everybody can live up to that promise.
When you are hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer, you want an attorney who has specific experience in dealing with these types of cases. Nursing home cases are not like other personal injury actions. They require a lawyer who knows how nursing home care works. While your attorney may handle other practice areas, they should at least have a track record of helping families receive compensation in nursing home abuse cases.
In addition, there are complicated medical aspects of a nursing home abuse case. One particular challenge is tying the nursing home’s negligence or actions to the specific injury that your loved one has suffered. For example, the nursing home may argue that your loved one would have suffered an injury anyway, regardless of their neglect or abuse. Your attorney will need the knowledge to go through complex medical records and work with experts to establish that the nursing home’s actions injured your family member.
It Is Important to Find the Right Attorney
In addition, you must also find the right attorney to work with your family. Not every attorney has the right style or level of service that can meet your family’s needs. In some cases, you may need a very compassionate attorney who can take the time to work with a family that is in the midst of a challenging situation.
The attorney may need to go above and beyond to answer all your questions in a delicate and understanding manner. Dealing with a nursing home abuse attorney is often the last thing that families want to do in their circumstances. You did not want or ask for what happened to your loved one.
Your lawyer will need to have the right mix of aggressiveness and compassion. When your attorney is dealing with a nursing home that wants to protect its own interests, they will need to be relentless and tenacious to take the fight to the facility. When they are dealing with your family, they will need to be patient and responsive.
A nursing home abuse lawsuit will be a challenging experience for your family. You may learn unpleasant and difficult facts about what happened to your loved one at someone else’s hands. The right attorney will help your family through a tough time.
Things to Consider When Hiring a Lawyer
Besides your nursing home abuse attorney’s experience, here are some other factors that you should consider when you hire a lawyer:
- How the attorney listens to and interacts with you during the initial consultation
- Recommendations from friends or family members who have worked with this attorney before
- Their professional reputation in the field
- Online reviews from objective sources written by clients who had previously worked with the attorney
- Whether they have a disciplinary history (disciplinary actions are a red flag)
You Do Not Need to Pay Your Lawyer Upfront
Ordinarily, families may struggle to come up with the money necessary to hire an attorney. Many lawyers ask for a retainer upfront for them to use for future expenses in the case. Then, they will send you hourly bills while the case is pending for the time that they have spent on the matter. The average family does not have tens of thousands of dollars available to them that it will cost to pay a lawyer in a different type of case.
Nursing home lawsuits work differently. Nursing home abuse attorneys work for you on a contingency basis. In order for you to have a legal obligation to pay your attorney, something must happen first. That something is receiving either a settlement check or an award from a jury in your case. Until that happens, you have no legal obligation to pay the attorney for their time and services. If you do not win your case, you do not have any obligation to pay your attorney at all.
Your attorney’s fees are taken directly from the proceeds of your nursing home abuse settlement or award. This payment arrangement works to encourage you to get the help from an attorney that you need to fight for financial compensation from a nursing home. There should be nothing standing in the way of obtaining the services of a dedicated and experienced injury lawyer in Florida.