There are few things in this world more chilling than realizing that someone has harmed one of your loved ones, but it’s especially painful when it is your parent or grandparent: someone who has protected you all throughout your life but now needs protection themselves.
Nursing home abuse is devastatingly common all throughout the United States, and it’s a situation that will likely only worsen as more of the population ages. Each quarter, the Illinois Department of Public Health releases a report on nursing home violators, and it presents a window into exactly how widespread and insidious this form of violence truly is; even worse, one must imagine that even more individuals have been harmed, but their abuse was never reported to the authorities.
Should the worst come true, how do you get justice for your loved one harmed in a care facility? Today, we will discuss why it’s essential to know when to hire a nursing home abuse lawyer with deep experience in nursing abuse cases, as well as what to look for when hiring a law firm to represent your family in court.
Nursing Home Abuse Cases are Very Complex Due to the Regulations and Agencies Involved
While no legal case is cut-and-dry, some types of civil litigation are more difficult than others; amongst personal injury law, nursing home abuse cases are some of the most complicated types of cases to present, for multiple reasons.
Firstly, the plaintiff, in this case, is a vulnerable adult who may be experiencing multiple health issues, including cognitive and physical disabilities. This can mean that their testimony is unreliable, or they may struggle to present themselves in court due to accessibility issues.
Some forms of abuse can be hard to prove, especially ones like psychological abuse or neglect, and it will take a skilled lawyer with great expert testimony to explain to the court what happened and why it constitutes abuse.
For example, something that might not seem like a serious issue, such as putting up guardrails on a resident’s bed for an extended period of time, may seem like no big deal to a jury, even if it is against the patient’s rights. The lawyer will have to contextualize this for the court, which takes experience in elder abuse law and careful questioning of expert witnesses.
Finally, there are a number of players involved in a nursing home abuse case, far more than a personal injury case between two drivers of passenger vehicles. Some of the involved parties, other than your family and your loved one, include healthcare personnel, administration, nursing home staff, and the nursing home; if the facility is a franchise of a larger chain, you may also be dealing with that overarching company, too.
There are also a number of other agencies that need to be contacted, including licensing agencies and accreditation boards. It’s a challenge to keep all these groups in the loop and ensure good communication amongst everyone involved, and that takes a highly qualified law firm to manage.
Look for a Lawyer with Empathy and Experience
Before booking a consultation with a lawyer, check out their reputation amongst the legal community. How many cases similar to yours have they successfully argued? What have former clients said about their experience with this firm? Do they have any special distinctions, such as being a Super Lawyer, that would demonstrate a consistent commitment to quality?
A great lawyer is informative and upfront about their abilities; they will happily share their credentials and experiences with you because they want you to be entirely confident in your decision to work with them.
They should also explain the process in a way that makes sense to you, using as little jargon as possible so that you’re comfortable with the process. The fee structure should be discussed upfront so that you’re not surprised by hidden fees, and they should describe exactly what you need to do every step of the way.
Most importantly, they should be empathetic. Nursing home abuse is not only complicated but heartbreaking to those who suffer, and a good lawyer will recognize that this is not just about compensation but justice. Of course, you want to have your loved one’s medical bills and emotional damages compensated, but there is something incredibly healing about knowing that others believe you, especially legal professionals.
Your attorney should support you and your family throughout this ordeal, making it clear that they are your advocate and champion in the court system. This can make a world of difference in how you feel about the complicated and often frustrating process of receiving a settlement.
It’s not easy to receive justice for nursing home abuse: there are so many factors involved, and it can be a drawn-out process. However, it is much easier with a qualified attorney at your side, advocating for your family and ensuring that your story is heard by those in charge.
If the unthinkable happens and your loved one is hurt in a care facility, make sure to find a personal injury law firm with experience in nursing home abuse so that your loved one receives the justice they deserve.