When you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you want to ensure you have the best possible chance of receiving compensation and that the nursing home is not able to abuse anyone else. This is the main reason why you should not go to court without an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer, but there are other reasons as well.
8 Reasons NOT to Go to Court Without an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
The Laws Are Confusing
The laws surrounding nursing home abuse are confusing and differ from state to state. This is especially true for the statute of limitations, which if you pass before filing a lawsuit, will keep you from being able to recover compensation for your loved one. There are also differing state laws about who can sue a nursing home, what a nursing home can be sued for, and the amount of compensation you can receive if nursing home abuse is confirmed.
It is imperative that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in nursing home abuse law in the state it occurred so that you do not miss a filing deadline or make a mistake that could cost your loved one compensation they deserve. A nursing home abuse attorney will ensure all paperwork is filed appropriately and on time, and they will walk you through every step of the process so you understand what’s happening.
Evidence Is Hard to Find
To prove nursing home abuse or negligence, you have to have irrefutable evidence, and the burden of proof for lawsuits against medical professionals is higher than it is in regular lawsuits. For this reason, you need an attorney who is experienced with gathering evidence in nursing home abuse cases. An attorney will have access to medical professionals, investigators, financial experts, and other people who will be able to prove your case. They’ll also tell you what evidence you need.
Evidence can be hard to come by in nursing home abuse cases because the staff members involved are not going to just leave proof of their misdeeds lying around. Additionally, people in nursing homes often have trouble articulating their experiences, which can be a problem if they are the only witness to the abuse. Attorneys know what to look for and how to help your loved one explain what happened to them in a way the court will understand.
Communication With the Nursing Home Can Be Difficult
When you accuse a nursing home of abuse, you are probably going to suddenly get very little communication from them as they circle the wagons and work to protect their business. Most nursing homes are owned by huge corporations, so the administration at your loved one’s nursing home will be instructed on how they can communicate with you (and how much). However, they tend to be more forthcoming when an attorney gets involved.
Moreover, you are probably very emotional about your loved one’s experience, which can make it even more difficult to communicate with the nursing home administration and staff. Your attorney will be able to remove the emotion from their communication with the nursing home and hopefully work with their lawyers to come to an adequate compensation settlement. This way, you may be able to avoid court entirely, which would likely benefit both you and your loved one.
The Nursing Home Will Have Good Lawyers
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you don’t hire a lawyer that the nursing home won’t either. As mentioned above, the majority of nursing homes are owned by large corporations and they will have an army of attorneys on retainer who handle claims of nursing home abuse all the time. Unless you have experience in nursing home law as well, you really don’t stand a chance against the nursing home’s lawyers who intend to protect the business.
You Have Better Things to Worry About
If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, your focus should be on them, ensuring they’re getting what they need to heal. A lawsuit will require a lot of your attention, especially if you decide to go to court alone. Even the negotiation process is stressful, so you shouldn’t try to handle that by yourself either. This is the time to let someone experienced in nursing home law take some of your burden off your shoulders.
In addition, you probably don’t have time to litigate a complex nursing home abuse case. They take up a lot of time, requiring paperwork, phone calls, meetings, and more. You probably already have a full time job, but even if you don’t, do you really want to spend your time on legal issues when you could be spending it with your loved one? An attorney prepares legal cases for a living and certainly has the time to do it right.
Attorneys Get Higher Compensation Amounts
An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer will know what your case is worth, and will advise you when to take a settlement and when to go to court. You likely do not have the experience you need to determine how much your loved one should be compensated for the abuse they suffered. In fact, you may be tempted to take the first settlement offer from the nursing home, but often, your loved one is entitled to much more.
A nursing home abuse attorney will not only represent your loved one during negotiations, but will also know when to send a payment demand letter and when to push the situation to trial. They won’t let you settle for less than your case is worth, especially if they have the proof that shows your loved one is entitled to more. This can be tricky to prove, but your attorney’s experts will be charged with that task.
Attorneys Know How to Convince a Judge or Jury
Most people are not skilled at arguing a case in front of a judge or jury; however, attorneys are. They know exactly how to phrase things to make the most impact on the people who will be deciding your loved one’s compensation. Presumably, your attorney will have litigated similar cases before and will have a winning strategy that resonates with juries. Even if you have an airtight case, you still need an expert to lay it out for the court.
Your loved one has already suffered abuse from the place that was supposed to protect them. You don’t want to mishandle their case in the court, which could jeopardize the compensation they receive. Not only that, but you want to ensure the abuse doesn’t continue with other residents. An attorney will give your loved one’s case the attention it deserves and will fight for every penny of compensation to which they’re entitled.
Nursing Home Abuse Litigation Is Expensive
If you want to be properly prepared to take your loved one’s nursing home abuse case to trial, you will need to pay experts to testify, secure copies of records, investigate the nursing home, find evidence, and file the claim. All of this takes money, which you might not have. Most nursing home abuse attorneys will work on a contingency basis, which won’t require you to pay for the expenses related to the case until compensation is determined.
Don’t risk your loved one’s nursing home abuse case by trying to do everything yourself. Contact The Nail Law Firm today to meet with our experts who can help you get the compensation your loved one deserves.