Skokie nursing home abuse lawyers
If your aging family member has been the victim of neglect, injury, or abuse in a nursing home, talk to personal injury attorneys who specialize in this area of law. Everyone, including the elderly, is protected under state law from the mistakes or carelessness of others, including nursing home abuse. Here are some things you can do if you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home misconduct.
Consult with nursing staff
If your loved one is not getting enough to eat or drink, or demonstrates a significant behavior change that is not consistent with his or her diagnosis, discuss your concerns with the nursing home staff. They can explain what steps, if any, have been taken to address the worrisome changes. If they are not aware of any problems, you can inform them and find out what they plan to do to supervise the situation and make necessary adjustments to the patient’s care.
Start a diary or list of observations about your loved one’s changes. Add dates of phone calls, text messages, emails, and other communications you have had with the nursing home staff. Include the date, location, and names of people that you speak with. Be detailed. Instead of writing “I explained concerns about Mom,” say something like this: “I met with Sandra Hopkins, Nursing Supervisor, in her office at 10:30 this morning to discuss Mom’s fall from her wheelchair last Monday.”
Contact the doctor
Meet with your loved one’s physician to explain your concerns. The doctor may be able to clarify what is normal or expected behavior in circumstances like those of your loved one versus alarming issues that should be further investigated. The doctor can also schedule an exam or tests for an update of the patient’s condition. This will help to verify the senior’s health status and any problems, natural or otherwise, that may be identified.
Meet with a personal injury attorney
If it appears that your loved one has suffered from negligence or abuse, organize your diary or timeline of events and write a summary of the person’s symptoms, changing condition, nursing home response, and doctor’s evaluation. Schedule an appointment with a personal injury attorney, particularly one who specializes in nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, this problem is not uncommon, and attorneys are working vigilantly to hold the nursing home system accountable for wrongs suffered by vulnerable residents.
The attorney will listen to your concerns and possibly review any documents you have brought with you. You may be asked questions, or the attorney might request additional documentation or information of various types. By complying with these requests as soon as is convenient, you can help the attorney to better understand the situation and to make a logical and legal assessment of the facts.
From that point, the attorney can advise you on how to proceed. You may have several more appointments to discuss additional documents or facts. Witnesses may be sought. These might include nursing home staff who witnessed the alleged abuse or family members and friends who share your concerns due to witnessing the same symptoms in the loved one. Timelines will be discussed to ensure that any legal filings are prepared before the deadline.
If litigation ensues, you might be expected to participate in a series of legal proceedings for which your attorney will guide and prepare you. These could include, among others, court appearances, answering questions, called Interrogatories, from the nursing home lawyer, and giving a deposition. The attorney will likely recruit an objective medical witness, or several, to review the documentation and any videos to give an expert opinion. The medical witnesses may be expected to participate in similar legal activities, such as giving a deposition or courtroom evidence, etc.
All of this takes time. From filing a lawsuit until the trial, a period of several months or years may elapse. Many if not most cases will settle before then at various stages of the legal process. If and when a settlement offer is made, along with the amount, will be based on the strength of your case and your willingness to settle rather than go to trial.
The elderly deserve our protection for their safety and well-being. When they suffer injustice, it is up to their family members or close friends to consider all means of rectification, including the legal process. Fortunately, personal injury attorneys are willing to fight for nursing home residents in court if necessary.