San Jose Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you are dealing with nursing home abuse, you may be unsure what to do next. These crimes are incredibly serious, and it may be difficult to process their disturbing nature. However, it is important that you take action. Anyone who abuses someone else should be held accountable, whether they are a senior citizen or not. Unfortunately, nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to neglect and abuse. It is a sad fact that opportunistic people prey on the weak, the old, and the sick. Sometimes, these instances of abuse go completely unnoticed.
Even if you mildly suspect that your loved one has experienced abuse, it is worth looking into the matter with the help of seasoned legal professionals. A qualified attorney can help you conduct a proper investigation. Team up with one of our nursing home abuse attorneys, and you can get all the help you need as you gather evidence and hold negligent parties accountable. Many of these healthcare organizations are familiar with lawsuits, so they may employ a range of effective defense strategies. This is why it is so important to work with a qualified, experienced law firm that specializes in nursing home abuse, such as Mary Alexander & Associates.
What is the Government Doing to Help Stop Nursing Home Abuse?
The government body that is supposed to be responsible for preventing nursing home abuse is the California Department of Public Health. However, this government organization often misses key instances of abuse. Although the CDPH is responsible for conducting regular inspections to ensure that nursing homes are not being negligent or abusive, these inspections were completely halted during the COVID-19 crisis. This made an already tenuous situation even worse, as there was absolutely no government oversight during this period.
The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
Aside from the California Department of Public Health, there are also nonprofit organizations in California that help fight against nursing home abuse. This includes the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, an organization that has been fighting to improve the lives of nursing home residents since 1983. This nonprofit is also engaged in pushing for new laws to be passed to protect these vulnerable individuals, and it has been involved in a number of lawsuits over the past few decades. One of the key priorities of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform is protecting the freedom of choice for nursing home residents.
How Does a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Work?
The first thing you need to know about nursing home abuse lawsuits is the fact that you need to act quickly. All lawsuits are subject to the statute of limitations, which places a strict time limit on potential actions. If you wait until the time limit runs out, it can be very difficult or altogether impossible to pursue justice.
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations in California for personal injury cases is two years. The statute of limitations is the same whether you are filing a wrongful death claim or a normal personal injury lawsuit. However, it is worth mentioning that nursing home abuse cases may also involve a degree of medical malpractice. For example, a resident might have been prescribed the wrong type or amount of medication. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in California is three years.
You also need to keep in mind that the time limit associated with the statute of limitations only goes into effect when you become aware of the injury. This means that you could theoretically file a claim after the normal two or three-year time limit has passed. For example, a resident might suffer brain damage that only becomes obvious four years after the incident. Or perhaps they have been taking the wrong medication for seven years without anyone realizing it.
Assuming that you are legally allowed to file a lawsuit according to the statute of limitations, the next step will likely be a consultation with a qualified attorney. During this consultation, you will have the chance to explain the situation. Based on this information, your attorney will then recommend the best course of action. If they feel that you can realistically pursue legal action against a negligent party, they will encourage you to do so.
After the consultation, your attorney will likely look into the matter more extensively. When they are confident that they understand all of the various facts surrounding the issue, they will draft an official complaint. This is a legal document that will be sent to the nursing home, outlining the specific situation that led to the resident’s harm. The complaint will also highlight some of the most important facts regarding the issue, and it will clearly accuse certain parties of wrongdoing. This is also known as a Notice of Claim, or “NOC.”
After the defendant has been served with these papers, you have the opportunity to officially file a lawsuit against them. The defendant is then notified of the lawsuit, and they must respond to this within a certain amount of time.
Next is the discovery phase. This is when both sides have the chance to exchange any and all information that might be relevant to the case. During this period, both sides often try to gather as much information as possible, searching for anything that might possibly give them an upper hand. Depositions are also common during this period, and this involves questioning the defendant, the plaintiff, and witnesses under oath.
Before you head to trial, you will have the chance to come to a settlement with the defendant. This means that they will offer you monetary compensation in exchange for not going to court. If the settlement is adequate, you can accept it and avoid going to court. When you sign the settlement, the defendant will be released from future legal action and any further accusations of wrongdoing.
If no settlement can be reached, then both parties must go to trial. During the trial process, both sides will have the opportunity to argue their case in front of a judge and jury. Hiring a skilled attorney is vital in this scenario, as they will be in charge of representing you in court. After both sides have had a chance to present evidence and question witnesses, the judge and the jury will come to a decision. The judgment may result in you receiving more than the settlement that was previously offered, but it might also result in you receiving less. This is why going to trial is generally seen as a slightly risky decision.
Why it Matters
Remember, residents of nursing homes are often some of our most accomplished and valued citizens. These are people who have worked their entire lives, contributing to our nation. Some might have fought for our freedoms in the military. These individuals should be guaranteed a life free from abuse and neglect, especially during their twilight years. If we do not take legal action against negligent parties, nothing will ever change. If we do not address these issues, younger generations will face the same problems when they grow old.
Get Help from a Qualified Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Serving San Jose Victims Today
If you have been searching the San Jose area for a qualified, experienced attorney who can assist you with this matter, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. We specialize in nursing home abuse cases, and we have helped countless victims pursue justice. Even if your loved one has already passed away, you can still file a wrongful death claim against a negligent nursing home. There are many options to pursue justice, and we can help you explore these choices during your consultation. Reach out today.