When you place an elderly person in a nursing home, you expect them to be cared for in the best way possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and they may be neglected or even abused. In such a situation, you should take action and file a nursing home lawsuit to ensure your loved ones get better care in the future. Here in Kansas City, MO, this process may take up to two years, but you can reach a quicker settlement if you negotiate or use mediation.
Filing Your Nursing Home Lawsuit in Kansas City, MO
Most nursing homes try to do their best to take care of elderly people, but there is always the possibility that a caregiver or fellow resident behaves unlawfully. This will cause your relative pain, suffering, and emotional distress. What’s more, many homes aren’t properly staffed, so there aren’t enough caregivers to attend to all the patients’ needs. If you know someone who’s suffered in a care home, you can file a lawsuit and claim compensation.
The federal government has laws regarding elder abuse, whether it is physical, emotional, or sexual. Neglect also comes into this category, so if your resident suffered from bedsores or other signs of improper care, you can claim damages. The first thing you should do is get your relative or friend out of harm’s way. Next, call a competent attorney who has experience with the local laws so that you can obtain the compensation your loved one deserves.
How Long Will It Take?
Nursing home patients are usually frail and may not have many years of life left. That’s why it’s important that the case be resolved quickly, so they can benefit from their settlement. How long your case will take depends on many factors, especially the type of lawsuit you are filing and the clarity of the evidence. For example, if the resident has been physically harmed, this is much easier to prove than if they have been tormented emotionally.
On average, a case may take 18-24 months, or even longer in very complex cases. You will be going through several stages, from your initial consultation with your law firm to the final payment of your settlement. Despite the length of the process, it may be worth it if your resident has been harmed or has passed away as a result of the abuse. By filing a lawsuit, you can make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else.
Your Initial Consultation
If you’re in the Kansas City area, you can get a free initial consultation with designated Super Lawyer Roger Nail at the Nail Law Firm. During this meeting, you can tell us all about your case and what has happened to the elderly person in question. We will discuss whether you have grounds for a lawsuit, and, if so, what the likely outcome may be.
This first consultation also gives you a chance to get to know us and find out if we are a good fit. You should always hire a lawyer you feel comfortable with, as this can help your trial to go smoothly. Your attorney will be the person guiding you through the whole process and assisting you in court, so it’s important that their personality matches yours and you feel happy discussing your situation with them.
The Claim Investigation
Once you’ve decided we’re a good fit and we’ve accepted your case, we can get to work. At this stage, we will do a more in-depth investigation of your case to determine if there are additional factors at play, such as medical malpractice. All of the relevant evidence needs to be collected, including the patient’s medical records, video and photographic evidence of injury, written records from the patient or relatives, medical bills, and the facility’s records.
Compiling all of these pieces of evidence can help us to determine who the perpetrator is and how we can best present your case. We might also seek guidance from experts in the relevant field. For example, doctors or legal nurse consultants can confirm our evaluation of your case.
The Notice of Claim
If we think your nursing home lawsuit will hold up in a Kansas City, MO court, we can serve a Notice of Claim (NOC) to the potential defendants at this point. This is a letter that notifies them about your intent to file a lawsuit. In most cases, it has to be served at least 60 days before you file for compensation, so this will delay your case by a few months.
Your attorney can then file your lawsuit and notify the defendants of this process. It may take around one month for the defendants to file their answer. Once we have received them, we can serve an expert report that describes what the issue was, how the staff or other patients failed to meet their obligations, and why this caused harm to the patient in question. After they have received this report, the defendants have a chance to respond to it.
Next, there will be a discovery stage during which both sides can find evidence from the other’s records and take depositions. Information is exchanged in the form of document requests, written questions, depositions, and reports.
The Settlement and Mediation
Not all cases need to go to trial, and using a settlement negotiation or a mediation conference is often a way to receive a high compensation without the delays caused by settling a case in court. This can save you time and also reduces your expenses associated with the case. During a settlement negotiation, you as the plaintiff will make the first demand, and the defendant can either accept this, ignore it, or offer a different amount.
This can go back and forth several times. In some cases, you may not be able to find a solution that works for both parties, and mediation could help. This is when a neutral third party is brought in to hear everyone’s arguments and help to resolve the case. Most people can come to an agreement in this way, but if not, going to trial is the next step.
Going to Trial
Cases that haven’t been resolved even after settlement negotiation and mediation have been attempted need to go to trial. A judge and a jury of their peers will make the final decision about your compensation, and the court will sign this judgment. This process can take a few days or even several weeks, so it will significantly delay your results. However, it may be worth it if you’re expecting significant compensation or the other side is being unreasonable.
What Compensation Can I Expect?
Sometimes, you can read about cases where a claimant received $1 million or more for nursing home neglect. But are these figures reliable or are they outliers? In fact, many people receive low to mid-five figures when they file such a lawsuit, and larger amounts aren’t unheard of.
However, even if your settlement is for a five-figure amount, it will allow you to cover costs such as medical bills, counseling sessions, or end-of-life care of the patient. We can give you an estimate of what to expect when you lay out your case to us, as every situation is different.
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. If a loved one has suffered from this, you should file a nursing home lawsuit to make sure they receive the compensation they deserve. Contact The Nail Law Firm in Kansas City, MO to book your free consultation and benefit from our extensive experience in personal injury law.