The nursing home abuse lawsuit process is similar, or mainly identical, to other personal injury claims. Typically, a nursing home lawsuit will be claiming neglect, and is important in the lawsuit to show that all four elements of negligence were meant (duty, breach, causation, and damages).
However, before getting to the filing of the lawsuit, there is background information that must be obtained, as well as conducting research and other due diligence. When deciding to file a lawsuit against a nursing home, it is best to hire an experienced attorney to go over the case before starting a lawsuit in the courts.
Initial Case Consultation and Evaluation
When comparing the facts to federal, state, and industry standards of care to see if there is a basis for a lawsuit, it is quickly clear how complicated nursing home abuse cases can become. The complexities are reviewed through an initial case evaluation. At this meeting, a potential client and attorney will discuss the facts of the case and decide whether or not they want to take the case.
The client’s medical records from doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes must be obtained and examined for the full time the resident was in the facility as well as for the five to ten years preceding their admission.
Medical records can be anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 pages long, and the attorneys reviewing them will need to be familiar with medical terminology, acronyms, and diagnoses. The pre-suit evaluation also includes looking into the facility’s past, including any prior violations and lawsuits that have occurred.
Investigating the Claim and Giving Notice
Once the attorney decides to take on the case, they will start investigating the claim more in-depth. This will typical entail reviewing patterns, procedures, policies, and other people who have also experienced similar neglect. This review can take a while and require serving requesting the facility to turn over certain records. Though, this might not be able to be obtained until discovery during the lawsuit process.
Additionally, if through the investigation the experts find liability and the attorneys believe the claim should be pursued, then they will send a notice of claim to the potential defendants. This is required under the law and must be sent to each defendant at least 60 days before filing the suit.
Filing a Lawsuit
After giving proper notice, the plaintiff (or the plaintiff’s attorney) can then file a lawsuit in the California courts. After filing the lawsuit, the parties may seek arbitration services to try to resolve the conflict. All parties must be present during the arbitration process and typically what is decided at arbitration will be binding on the parties. This is less frequently used and typically the attorney will begin prepping for the litigation process and trial after filing a lawsuit.
Regardless of whether the issue is brought before a court or arbitrated, the defendant gets served with the complaint and a citation notifying them of the litigation after the case has been filed in court. Approximately one month after being served with the case, each defendant is required to submit an answer to the court.
Resolving a Case
After filing a lawsuit, the case can be resolved through settlement negotiations or through a trial. Most cases do not end up going to trial, and the parties will typically reach an agreement before presenting their case in from of a judge and jury.
Experienced attorneys will be able to handle the entire process, including the complexities of the discovery phase. With the right attorney, it is possible to have a successful case. Contact nursing home abuse attorney Joel Bryant today for a free consultation regarding your case. Reach us by phone at (619) 597-2577 or through our online form.