Experts estimate there are 2.1 million cases of elder abuse reported each year. For every one of those cases of abuse or neglect that are reported, there are as many as 13 cases of abuse that go unreported. If your loved one is injured or neglected, you may be unsure of what to do. Contact an experienced attorney. They will be able to evaluate your situation and help you decide what your next steps should be, whether it is pursuing a lawsuit or reporting the incident to the correct agency.
When abuse or neglect is discovered, the first and most important step is making sure the senior is safe. If you believe the senior is in any danger, remove them from the situation immediately. Once the senior is in a safe environment, it is time to consult an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. Below is the general process a potential client goes through when they contact an attorney with a senior abuse or neglect claim.
An initial consultation is generally performed during the first phone call to the law firm. This consultation includes gathering contact information for the caller, documenting where the incident or injury happened, and noting which parties were involved. The person you speak with will also obtain a brief description of the events. The more information that is given for review, the better. Providing details and documentation of the incident helps the attorney to make a more informed decision. It also simplifies and possibly speeds up the review process by avoiding multiple follow up calls for additional details. Examples of helpful information to provide are: dates of any events or incidents, names of any doctors or care professionals, pictures or recordings or any injuries, medical or facility records, and legal documents (such as a death certificate).
The information gathered during the initial consultation is then sent to an attorney for review. The case is evaluated on a number of factors. For example, the attorney may look at a potential case to not only determine if there is a level of wrongdoing, but what is the level of wrongdoing (how much negligence or liability), what are the damages caused by the wrongdoing, and what financial compensation could potentially be recovered as a result of this. Ultimately, the decision to accept or decline a case is up to the discretion of the attorney.
Decision and Notification
Once the attorney makes a decision, the firm will notify if the potential case is accepted or declined. If your case is declined, that attorney will not represent you or pursue the matter any further. That being said, just because one attorney will not represent you, it does not mean you will be unable to find an attorney that will take the case. Each attorney has their own standards for taking on a new case. Feel free to continue searching for an attorney that will work with you on your case. If the case is accepted, the process of pursuing a nursing home lawsuit will begin. A nursing home lawsuit can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months from start to finish. For more information about the various steps and the lawsuit processes, read The Process of a Nursing Home Lawsuit.
You never want to think about the worst case scenario with a loved one. If a situation does arise, it is easy to become overwhelmed or be unsure of where to start. Trust the experts. Consult with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. They will be able to evaluate the situation and figure out the best plan of action for you and your loved one, whether that is a lawsuit or reporting the incident to the appropriate agency.
Fight for your loved ones. By taking action today, you can not only help your loved one, but also help prevent the abuse from happening to someone else.