To discover that a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse is extremely emotional and stressful.
Deciding to file suit may be the best course of action but you need to first find the right attorney for you.
First, the area of nursing home abuse can be complex. So, you want someone who specializes in this area of the law and who has at least ten years of experience. An experienced attorney will likely have seen cases like yours before. Ask about them, how they were handled and what the result was.
An experienced nursing home abuse attorney will also be familiar with the nursing homes in the area and any relevant information that might affect your suit, such as prior cases against that home or changes in their insurance coverage or management. You want an attorney in the know.
Talk about your goals. What do you hope to gain from filing this suit? Come up with a strategy and plan together. You should make sure that you are clear about your wants and needs and your attorney should be honest with you about the practicality and likelihood of achieving them.
Your lawyer will likely ask for records with respect to the treatment of your loved one and any and all events leading up to this point. Try to go into the meeting organized with copies of medical records and a rough calendar of what took place and when. Being organized and detailed about the facts will only help your lawyer help you.
Ask who will be handling your case. Is the senior partner meeting with you for the initial consultation when a junior associate will actually be the one handling your case? You do not want anyone using your case as a training ground. It is okay to ask about that and make that clear.
Since nursing home abuse cases can take a long time, possibly years to resolve, there may be long stretches when you do not hear from your attorney. Come up with a communication plan that makes you comfortable. Do you want to hear once per month even if nothing changes? Let the attorney know that.
Nursing home abuse cases are typically handled on a contingency basis. This means that you should never be asked to advance any fees or costs. Rather, your attorney should perform the work and advance all costs, such as court fees, and if you recover something, your attorney is paid from that recovery amount. If you do not recover anything, your attorney will absorb the fees and costs of handling your case.
Bringing suit against a nursing home that may have mistreated your loved one can be difficult on you for a number of reasons, but the above guidelines should assist you in hiring someone who will work to get justice and not add to your already stressful experience.