Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is difficult, but necessary, when a family member needs round-the-clock assistance.
Oftentimes, families attempt to care for their elder at home only to find that limitations of time due to work and other responsibilities make caregiving difficult, causing burnout. For this reason, nursing homes a wonderful option. Knowing your family member is being well-cared for by the loving and attentive medical staff of a nursing home offers you peace of mind and is best for the family member who needs assistance.
However, it is important to monitor the care your family member is receiving. Though most nursing homes offer satisfactory service, there are occasionally instances of neglect reported.
How Do I Know If My Loved One is Being Neglected at a Nursing Home?
While it can be difficult to detect, there are subtle signs that will indicate if your loved one is being neglected. Sometimes there is physical proof of neglect, but often the only sign will be the behavioral changes in your loved one. If your family member seems withdrawn, be sure to ask them about how they are being treated by the nursing staff and to ask if they have any concerns they would like to express.
Other, more obvious, signs of neglect include:
- Extreme, rapid weight loss
- Bed sores
- Reluctance to speak in front of staff members
- Unsanitary conditions
- Environmental hazards
How Do I Report Negligence in a Nursing Home?
The first thing to do if you suspect negligence in a nursing home is report it. In fact, in some states, the law requires that you do so. Whether or not that is true of your state, it’s important that you follow through and file a report. Doing so will not only protect your loved one, but it will be beneficial to all elders who live at the nursing home facility.
Though there are many means of reporting suspected negligence or abuse, the easiest way is to visit the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website. They have a resource page on reporting abuse that will be useful to you. Through their webpage, you can find the number for Adult Protective Services in your state or call the Eldercare Locator who will direct you to a local agency who can assist you.
Of course, if you notice severe abuse that requires immediate attention, it’s best to call 911.
How Do I File a Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home?
Once you’ve determined that the nursing home has in fact been negligent, you may decide to pursue legal action. If so, an important factor to keep in mind is the statute of limitations for nursing home abuse lawsuits. In some states, they may be as short as one to two years. Therefore, it is important to act quickly when filing a lawsuit against a nursing home.
Though you will be taking swift action, it is still important to select your representation carefully. We suggest interviewing at least three lawyers before choosing one to take your case. Your lawyer will review any data you have collected and determine the likely outcome of your case.
How Long Does It Take To Sue a Nursing Home?
If your lawyer feels that the courts will agree with your assertion that the nursing home failed to comply with the expected duty of care, they will take the next steps in pursuing legal action. There will be up to four phases to the lawsuit before an outcome is determined.
- Phase 1- This phase is known as the investigation phase. During this period, your lawyer will review all facts about the case. They may interview witnesses and take statements, take photographs for evidence, review medical records, and refer to medical experts for their opinions.
- Phase 2- This phase is known as the discovery phase. During this pre-trial stage, both sides of the case will have a chance to review one another’s evidence and any depositions given. Any new information will provide an opportunity for further investigation which may strengthen your case. Sometimes, the discovery phase will lead to settling rather than taking the case all the way to trial.
- Phase 3- If you did not settle out of court, you will enter phase three. This is the pre-trial period where your lawyer will finish any further investigations and devise a strategy for court.
- Phase 4- This phase is the trial itself and can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. If you win your case, any damage awarded will be disbursed within thirty days of the outcome.
Where Do You Find The Funding for a Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit?
If you believe your loved one has been neglected, finances might deter you from pressing forward with a lawsuit. However, pre-settlement funding is an option that will alleviate this concern.
U.S. Direct Advance offers pre-settlement lawsuit funding for nursing home negligence that allows you to borrow against your future lawsuit settlement at no risk to you. With pre-settlement funding, the loan is only repaid if the case is won.
If you are already have an attorney for your case then you are eligible to apply for pre-settlement funding with U.S. Direct Advance today.