Understanding Nursing Home Abuse

In this article, you can discover:

  • The process of filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in California.
  • Why caregiving staff can play a vital role in showing liability.
  • What kinds of compensation victims and their families can recover from negligence claims.

Who Can File A Claim For Nursing Home Abuse?

Sometimes, it’s necessary to file a civil action against the party or parties responsible for nursing home abuse and neglect. Because not every victim of this abuse is able to advocate for themselves, the scope of individuals who can bring these actions on their behalf includes:

  • The victim themselves,
  • An individual who has been appointed as Power of Attorney,
  • Other persons who are legally empowered to act on the victim’s behalf,
  • The victim’s heirs or successors-in-interest.

(* Typically, a civil case is brought by a victim’s heirs or successors-in-interest when the victim has passed away by the time a lawsuit is being filed.)

Should I File A Claim Against Both The Nursing Home And The Individual Abuser(s)?

It’s common to include individual abusers in these civil actions. In fact, including individuals is particularly relevant in cases involving:

  • Physical Abuse (Such as battery, etc.)
  • Institutional Neglect (Which is often a result of direct action or inaction by managing agents such as facility administrators or medical directors)

What Strategies Are Used To Litigate Against The Defense In A Nursing Home Abuse Case?

Litigating elder and dependent adult abuse is complex. These cases often involve misconduct at the highest levels of facility administration and management.

Elder and dependent adult abuse is often the result of systemic problems and failures which place all residents at risk of harm, and not an isolated incident or accident. Therefore, it’s important to look at the actions of both the abusive individuals and the corporate policies that maximize profit by understaffing and underfunding facilities at the cost of patient care and safety.

We target such corporate policies to uncover the root cause of those systemic problems which lead to the injuries suffered by our clients.

Who Are Witnesses That Are Particularly Helpful To A Nursing Home Abuse, Negligence, Or Malpractice Case?

It’s important to perform a thorough investigation to find the key witnesses of any individual case. At our firm, we leave no stone unturned to identify the cause of systemic abuse and neglect. Some of the common key witnesses include:

Direct Caregiving Staff

Although often on the front lines, these individuals aren’t the perpetrators of abuse and neglect. Direct caregiving staff can provide key testimony to understaffing and other systemic problems (i.e., failure to provide adequate training) which cause injury and harm to residents.

Managing Agents and Corporate Personnel

These individuals are important because of their responsibility for developing policies and making decisions that affect the daily care provided in the facilities they oversee. In any abuse case, these persons must be identified and held accountable.

What Damages Are Victims Entitled To In A Nursing Home Abuse Case?

Under Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA), the damages recoverable in cases of elder or dependent adult abuse and neglect include:

  • Pre-death Pain and Suffering
  • Attorney’s Fees
  • Punitive Damages for Recklessness, Malice, Fraud, and Oppression
  • And more…

The amount in actual damages recoverable will vary depending upon the facts of each case, and the extent of injury. However, the enhanced damages recoverable under EADACPA are intended to encourage attorneys to bring actions on behalf of victims of abuse and neglect.

Are There Limits To The Amount Of Compensation You Can Receive For A Nursing Home Neglect Claim?

Elder and dependent adult abuse cases under EADACPA are distinct from ordinary cases of negligence or medical malpractice. Therefore, they are not subject to the limits imposed upon medical malpractice cases (known as MICRA).

Is Litigating A Nursing Home Abuse Case The Best Way To Find Compensation?

Litigation is almost always unpleasant. These cases involve heart-wrenching, emotional issues, and they are time-consuming and difficult to litigate. Deciding whether to commit to a lengthy and contentious litigation process is a difficult decision that can only be determined after conferring with experienced legal counsel.

What Is The Downside To Litigating A Nursing Home Abuse Case?

Litigating these cases requires you to relive experiences of the abuse, neglect, and even loss of a loved one. This constant reminder of a painful experience can be incredibly emotional and challenging. What’s more, an at-fault facility and its legal team will often seek to deflect focus from their misconduct by a variety of tactics, including:

  • Emphasizing the age, infirmity, or chronic illness of the victim,
  • Blaming the victim for “non-compliance” or refusing care,
  • Blaming the family for not being more involved in the victim’s life,
  • And more…

Additionally, these cases often involve complex medical issues, which means that results are uncertain and success cannot be guaranteed. If you are interested in pursuing a nursing home negligence case, it’s important to keep these facts in mind. Litigation is rarely easy, but by hard work and determination, you can work to hold those responsible for abuse accountable for their actions.

What Happens When A Nursing Home Abuse Case Goes To Trial?

In most circumstances, the best outcomes for civil actions involving nursing home abuse is that both parties are able to reach a settlement agreement. However, if a settlement cannot be successfully reached, the case will be set for trial.

At trial, a jury will hear the evidence and be asked to determine whether the facility (and/or other wrongdoers) engaged in conduct amounting to “abuse” or neglect” and/or acted with recklessness, malice, oppression or fraud, causing injury or harm to the victim. The jury will also decide the amount in damages that should be awarded, including any punitive damages.

For more information on Filing A Claim For Nursing Home Abuse In CA, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (661) 255-2233 today.

Lustgarten Law

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(661) 255-2233

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