If your loved one resides in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of abuse and neglect. Sadly, instances of abuse and neglect are not uncommon, and many elderly residents, especially those who suffer from cognitive issues such as dementia, are often unable to protect or speak up for themselves. Unusual depression, confusion, isolation, and withdrawal, as well as unexplained bruises and injuries, and poorly-kept hygiene, are all major signs that an elderly resident may be the victim of neglect.
If you believe your loved one has actually experienced such abuse or neglect, it is also important to speak with a knowledgeable elder abuse attorney as soon as possible. Some facilities have gone to great lengths to attempt to conceal any and all evidence of abuse, therefore it is in your best interests to contact an attorney to help you navigate your legal options sooner rather than later.
Here are five significant reasons why you may consider hiring a skilled elder abuse attorney to help you with a potential case:
- Facilities aren’t on your side and aren’t looking out for your best interests
Although nursing homes and assisted living facilities are entrusted with the care and custody of vulnerable elderly residents, they are also businesses whose primary motive, just like any business, is to make money. In the experience of plaintiffs’ attorneys, many facilities can be anything but transparent about instances of abuse that happen within the facility, and may even try to do whatever they can to conceal such information.
It is important to retain an experienced lawyer on your side who can help prevent and even prove intentional facility fraud and concealment. Acts of fraud and concealment by facilities are not rare, which is why it is imperative to hire a seasoned elder abuse lawyer who will represent you and will investigate your claims promptly and thoroughly.
- You need someone with extensive knowledge and experience with California elder abuse and neglect legal claims
Elder abuse and neglect claims in California are governed by a special statute called the “Elder Abuse Act,” codified in Welfare & Institutions Code section 15600, et seq. These cases are not straightforward. Unlike general “personal injury” claims, such as those resulting from a car crash or slip-and-fall, special rules and procedures apply to legal claims involving the abuse or neglect of an elderly individual. For example, under the Elder Abuse Act, and unlike general personal injury cases, a plaintiff may potentially recover pre-death pain and suffering damages, attorney fees, and costs of suit under certain circumstances.
You should consider retaining an attorney who understands the relevant law, has experience with elder abuse claims in California, and who can help you navigate the around the complicated legal issues and aspects involved in any elder abuse case.
- You need someone who will thoroughly investigate all aspects of a potential claim
Again, when faced with possible impending litigation, many facilities are not as forthcoming with information regarding substandard care as they should be. Some facilities go as far as to try to conceal the existence of medical records, incident reports, and information pertaining to a loved one’s injuries.
An experienced elder abuse lawyer not only understands that obstruction can be common, but also knows the tactics to battle and overcome such obstruction. This includes use of private investigators, investigation into a facility’s e-mail communications, an audit of facility medical records, and tracking down and obtaining favorable testimony from former employees. It is important to retain an attorney with experience with these procedures in order to obtain the best results for your particular case.
- You need someone with compelling communication and negotiation skills
The majority of personal injury lawsuits settle out of court prior to the commencement of any trial. In fact, some studies have shown that up to 90%, and even as high as 95%, of civil cases reach settlement agreements prior to trial.
Therefore, you will want to retain an attorney who is a strong communicator and negotiator and who has experience in dealing with savvy insurance company lawyers who often go to great lengths in attempts to reduce the money the facility may have to pay out.
- You need someone to fight for you
Dealing with the injuries and possibly even the death of a loved one is one of the hardest moments in life, and you will want someone who understands the complexities of the law and legal procedure to stand by your side. A seasoned elder abuse lawyer can help you during these difficult times by navigating a lawsuit to help you achieve the best results possible.
Yeroushalmi Law is dedicated to elder abuse and neglect cases, and is very experienced in holding facilities accountable when preventable patient injury occurs. If you believe that you or a loved one is a victim of such neglect, contact us today for a free consultation.