When you place a loved one in a nursing home, the last thing you expect is for them to suffer abuse. Sadly, nursing home abuse is all too common.
If you suspect your loved one is a victim, you want to take action fast before the situation worsens.
Retaining a lawyer is the first and most important step. But how do you know to find the right lawyer?
Keep reading for a list of 10 questions to ask before retaining one.
1. Who Is Your Typical Client?
You should know not all lawyers specialize in all areas of the law. You can’t expect a corporate lawyer to handle a criminal case because that’s not their area of expertise.
If you need a lawyer for a nursing abuse case, then you need to make sure they specialize in the area. It’s not uncommon for law firms to have lawyers who specialize in different areas.
When you arrive at the initial meeting, don’t forget to ask who their typical client is. This will give you the certainty you’re in the right place.
2. Is it Considered Medical Malpractice?
Of course, you have the right to be outraged if your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse. To you, it might seem like it’s a case of medical malpractice, but your lawyer will be able to tell you for sure if this is the case.
Based on the evidence you present, ask your lawyer if you have a medical malpractice case in your hands.
Common factors of medical malpractice include:
- Wrongful administration of prescription drugs
- Unsanitary equipment and conditions
- Staff not properly trained
- Medical restraints abuse
- Signs of malnourishment
Your lawyer should be able to provide you with more specific signs.
3. Have You Handled Other Similar Cases?
It helps if your lawyer has dealt with medical malpractice and nursing home abuse cases. But it will give you even more peace of mind if the lawyer has handled a case similar to yours.
Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer about it. And if you get the answer you want, don’t hold back on follow up questions.
4. What Kind of Training Do You have?
Aside from getting their law degree, some lawyers have to get special training to take specific cases. The type of training depends on the jurisdiction and area of the law.
But as the laws change, lawyers need to stay on top of the current laws. They do this by getting special training.
As your lawyer if he or she has had special training to handle nursing home abuse matters.
5. What Signs of Nursing Home Abuse Should I Look for?
If you only suspect nursing home abuse but want to go see a lawyer to determine what steps to take, ask them how to identify the signs.
Before you alert the nursing home of your discontent and the possibility they might face charges, you should look for signs.
Common signs include:
- Physical signs such as broken bones or sprains
- Bruises or scars
- Failure to take medications
- Signs of restrains around the wrists
- Broken glasses
- Withdrawn behavior
- STDs or genital infections
- Bruising near the genitals
These are only a few of the signs. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with a more detailed list.
6. What is Your Most Notable Case?
Lawyers who do their job well, like to take pride in it. During the initial meeting, ask your lawyer about some of their most notable cases and the outcomes.
Most lawyers will be happy to share with their potential clients. If the lawyer is wary about sharing or evades the question, you might want to take this a bad sign.
You could do some digging around on your own and seek reviews online.
7. What Types of Damages Should We Seek?
When your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, it’s only natural you want to seek damages.
Once the lawyer has had a chance to look at the evidence, you should ask what types of damages you will be seeking.
You might seek economic damages for any financial losses or medical expenses accrued due to the abuse.
Noneconomic damages are paid to make up for pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
The lawyer should be able to tell you which ones to seek.
8. What Steps Should We Take Now?
Once you meet with the lawyer and decide to take action against the nursing home, they’ll be able to guide you with the next steps.
If you haven’t withdrawn your loved one from the nursing home, they’ll be able to guide you on how to do so.
The attorney will also explain the law in your particular state of residence and tell you which documents you should begin to gather.
Remember that it’s important to take action as soon as possible to stop the abuse and protect your loved one. So you need to follow their instructions.
9. How Much Should We Expect to Pay?
Retaining a lawyer is a service that doesn’t come cheap. Before you begin the action against the nursing home, you must discuss how the lawyer expects to be paid.
If you’re seeking a monetary compensation, they might work on a contingency fee basis. This means they will not charge an hourly fee, but they will take a portion of the settlement.
In other cases, they might agree to charge by the hour. Make sure you agree to these terms before you sign the engagement.
10. How Will We Communicate From Now On?
Once you get the ball rolling and retain the lawyer, it’s important to learn how you will communicate with each other.
Make sure you let your lawyer know the best way to get a hold of you. Also, ask how to get in touch with them.
Clear communication will help you have more peace of mind during the process.
Retaining a Lawyer If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you want to take action against the nursing home, retaining a lawyer is the first step.
Don’t forget to ask important questions during your initial meeting with the lawyer.
Nursing home abuse is a despicable practice. In order to prevent nursing home abuse from happening, take a look at this article before admitting your elderly relative into a home.