Nursing home abuse and neglect is a very serious and sad form of medical malpractice. The elderly are a group of people who often cannot speak up for themselves. However, they have rights. It is our responsibility to make sure that they are receiving the best care possible, and if they are not, it may be time to talk to an attorney to get some help. Here are some questions that are helpful to ask a lawyer either before you hire them, or while they are working on a case.
1. What are an elderly’s patient rights as a nursing home resident?
Everyone has rights, and an attorney can tell you specifically what rights an elderly patient in a nursing home has. It is then important to recognize if those rights are being violated by nursing home negligence. Residents can be abused in a variety of ways, including sexually, physically, or emotionally. They can also be taken advantage of financially.
2. Does the nursing home have prior violations for neglect?
This is an important question to ask a lawyer. They will be able to point you in the right direction of finding out the history of a nursing home. Often, although not always, past violations are an indication of current violations.
3. What kind of compensation is available?
If you decide to file a claim against a nursing home, there are two types of awards that may be granted by a judge. Economic damages are given for financial losses that the victim may have suffered. These include medical expenses because of an injury suffered while in the nursing home. Noneconomic damages are paid to victims for pain and suffering. Some states have no limit on the non-economic damages that can be awarded.
4. Do you have experience in cases like this?
It is important to ask an attorney if they have had experience with cases in nursing home negligence. There are very case-specific details that an attorney needs to be aware of in nursing home negligence cases. Also, it is important to ask who will be working on the case. Will it be the lawyer with which you are speaking, or will another junior associate or legal assistant in the office do most of the work? What is the firm’s track record of receiving damages in cases such as this? Be sure to hire a firm that is experienced and familiar with arbitration and negotiation, as well as taking these cases to trial.
5. What is important to do first?
When an elderly person is suffering from nursing home abuse, taking action is imperative. Meet with an attorney and begin investigating a claim. Begin gathering evidence that will prove that medical malpractice occurred. States have a statute of limitations for filing claims, so don’t wait too long, or it may not be possible to file a claim at all.
6. What is the cost?
Don’t forget to ask how much an attorney will cost. Many medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency fee instead of an hourly rate. This means that they will not charge you anything unless they win the case. Then, the payment is based on a percentage of the awarded damages. This amount is contracted beforehand and varies by case and attorney.
If abuse is occurring, don’t wait. Get in touch with an attorney today and get your loved one the help that they need.