How Can I Sue a Nursing Home for Neglecting my Grandparent’s Care?
Instances of nursing home abuse, including wrongful death associated with inadequate care, in the United States affects 1 out of 10 people admitted to nursing homes. Nursing home abuse includes but are not limited to:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Medication errors
- Sexual abuse
- Theft and financial problems
- Personal injury of some sort
There could be a combination of home abuse and neglect by staff members, medical personal, or licensed care givers.
Often the neglect is life threatening.
In these cases, the resident, or their relatives, can sue the nursing home and the caregivers for lack of proper care and medical malpractice if abuse or neglect is found. A nursing home neglect attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is the ideal person to contact when there is a suspicion of neglect, and they will be at your side throughout the litigation process.
Under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, Congress passed legislation that provides guidelines for an acceptable level of reasonable care for nursing home residents, and with it a Patient Bill of Rights that further details the meaning of reasonable care and the standards of care to expect.
If a grandparent or other family member is harmed and these care measures are not met, then it is appropriate to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for the injuries.
Sometimes it is very difficult to notice when nursing home abuse or neglect occurs. The abuse can take place over long periods of time. If the victim has age-related, even mild, dementia or other cognitive or emotional conditions.
Fear may play a part in hiding the abuse as the elder may be afraid if he or she tells anyone the abuse will get worse.
Physical abuse signs include things like fractured or broken bones. A competent physician can tell whether a fracture occurred due to a fall or due to an assault.
If you notice bruises, scrapes or welts they may be a sign of inappropriate restraint whereby the person in care was grabbed or held using excessive force.
Social withdrawal, unusual behavioral changes, and general fear of being left alone could also be indicative of possible abuse.
Pay close attention to the elderly person’s physical appearance. Problems such as bed sores, unexplained weight loss, unsightly appearance, and frequent illness could indicate neglect.
Steps to Filing a Lawsuit: Phase I
The first thing to do if you have a complaint against a nursing home is to contact a qualified nursing home neglect attorney who can assist you in moving from complaint to the actual lawsuit. In Michigan, our Law Office of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. specializes in medical malpractice lawsuits involving nursing homes, and we can fight for justice and compensation for your grandparent who has been abused or neglected in a nursing home.
It is important during this first phase to make sure that your grandparent is safe and out of any danger from further harm, and you should also notify the nursing home, in writing, of the reasons you feel there is negligence on the part of the nursing home or staff.
The lawsuit process starts with an investigation of the events and reasons behind the complaint. Nursing home abuse lawyers will look at photographic evidence and medical records and will gather information from witnesses and medical experts who are familiar with the circumstances and underlying medical condition of your grandparent.
Phase II: Discovery
The second phase of the process is the “Discovery” phase where all the information you and your attorney have gathered goes before a judge to determine if there are more facts to bring to the surface about the case. During this phase there may be depositions taken under oath, and witnesses may be cross-examined to clarify the facts and events regarding the complaint.
The purpose of this phase is to streamline the legal process and avoid an expensive court trial if possible. In Michigan, there is a required waiting period before the case moves forward and during this time the participants are encouraged to settle out of court.
Phase III: Pre-Trial
During the Investigation and Discovery phases of the lawsuit, you and your attorney will have filed the appropriate paperwork with the state and the nursing home or assisted living facility representatives to make sure that all the state timelines and statutes have been met.
In the pre-trial phase there will be further investigations as a follow-up to questions learned in the Discovery Phase, and there may even be an opportunity for mediation to bring the suit to a close.
Phase IV: Trial
If the case has not been settled out of court, then a court date will be set, and the case will be heard before a jury. There may still be room for mediation if the jury reached a verdict.
The litigation surrounding a medical malpractice lawsuit concerning negligence in a nursing home can be very complex since proving liability can be difficult. You need an experienced law firm that understands and has dealt with all the nuances associated with nursing home neglect cases.
At the Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we have handled many of these cases, and we can anticipate the complexities and the approach needed to solve them. Contact us at Cochranlaw.com or call us at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-755-9502) to obtain a free consultation and the assurance that your claim will be handled correctly.