By: Jeff Powless
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How to Select an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one was abused or neglected by a nursing home, you should strongly consider seeking the help of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer without delay. But with so many attorneys advertising on television, the internet, and on social media, selecting the right attorney for your case can be difficult. In this article, we provide you with key information about how to find the right lawyer for your nursing home case.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is an all-too-common problem in the U.S., and sadly there is little reason to believe that it will improve any time soon. Reports of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, and even financial exploitation are prevalent as nursing home corporations skimp on hiring enough qualified staff to care for their patients. The understaffing leads to nursing burnout of the nursing home staff, and facilities too often hire caregivers that have no business taking care of patients. The nursing home industry is in fact known for hiring convicted criminals to care for our most vulnerable citizens.
Nursing homes can and should be held accountable for harming their residents. Reporting abuse can help, but there is more you can do. If you suspect abuse or neglect, you may not know where to turn or who can help. A good first step is to find a qualified and knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyer that can review your case, guide you through the legal process, and help ensure that your loved one receives the justice deserved. Before hiring a nursing home attorney, it’s important to understand what to look for and what questions to ask.
Nursing home cases are very different from auto accident cases, slip and fall cases, and other common types of cases for which people often hire personal injury lawyers as we will explain below. It is therefore critically important for patients and their families to find an attorney with extensive experience and a deep understanding of the complexities involved with properly pursuing a nursing home abuse or neglect claim.
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases require special knowledge and there can be many possible pitfalls that can sink a case if the attorney does not have the proper experience and training. By doing research and asking questions, you can ensure that you select the right nursing home neglect lawyer to handle your case.
Before selecting an elder abuse attorney, nursing home residents and their families should consider the following questions:
- Is the attorney familiar with how to navigate complex nursing home patient records?
- Is the attorney familiar with state and federal regulations that govern the nursing home industry?
- Does the attorney have significant experience prosecuting medical negligence cases under Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act?
- Is the attorney familiar with how to overcome the challenge of nursing homes hiding the identity of the corporations involved with owning and operating the facility?
- Does the attorney have the ability to access top notch nursing and medical experts?
- Does the attorney have significant experience in the courtroom successfully pursuing and trying complex medical negligence cases?
- Does the attorney provide free consultations, free case evaluations, front any necessary expenses, and agree to be compensated only in the event of a recovery?
Below we will explain why each of these questions are important.
Ability to Navigate Nursing Home Patient Care Records
Evidence of nursing home abuse can often be found in the nursing home’s patient care record and will be critical in filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Nursing home patient care records are significantly different from medical records used in hospitals or physician offices. Most nursing homes now use some form of electronic records, which lend themselves to being altered or falsified after the fact. In many cases, evidence of record falsification can be found if one knows how to go about requesting and reviewing the appropriate electronic files. One of the most important skills nursing home abuse lawyers must have in order to effectively represent a nursing home abuse or neglect victim is the ability to navigate through a nursing home’s patient care records.
Familiarity With Applicable State and Federal Nursing Home Regulations
It is important for a nursing home negligence lawyer to have good familiarity with applicable state and federal laws, regulations, and standards governing the operation of nursing homes. These regulations prohibit nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse, and require nursing homes to ensure that nursing home residents receive proper care, treatment and services. There are also requirements that facilities report nursing home abuse and neglect, whether it is physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or some other form of misconduct. Knowledge of these requirements is important for a nursing home abuse attorney to properly investigate and prosecute a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
In addition to this, nursing home abuse lawyers should understand the various inspection procedures used by state agencies when they investigate complaints of neglect or abuse in a nursing home. These laws and regulations are constantly changing as well, so it is important to find an attorney who keeps up-to-date on these changes.
Knowledge of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act Requirements
Cases in Indiana involving nursing home abuse and neglect are often governed by the mandates of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act. There are specific procedural requirements that must be met by the nursing home resident or family bringing the claim. If these requirements are not properly met, then the claim can be forever dismissed. It is critical that a nursing home abuse attorney handling a case in Indiana be intimately familiar with Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act and related court rulings in order to ensure that they take the steps necessary to properly represent their client.
Knowledge Regarding How to Identify and Locate the Proper Nursing Home Corporate Defendants
In order to maximize profits and shield themselves from liability, many owners of nursing homes use a sophisticated array of inter-related corporations to essentially operate as a joint enterprise. Many nursing homes try to keep the identify and involvement of these various corporate entities hidden. It is important that nursing home abuse lawyers be familiar with these tactics and how to counter them. It is critical that a nursing home neglect attorney know how to track down the various corporate entities that may be responsible for the neglectful or abusive care in order to ensure that these corporate entities can be properly named as a defendant in a lawsuit if needed. If responsible corporate entities are not named properly in the lawsuit, that omission could jeopardize the ability of the nursing home patient or their family to properly hold the nursing home accountable.
Access to Highly Qualified Medical and Nursing Experts
If a nursing home abuse lawsuit is filed, it is important to have access to highly qualified nursing home physicians and nurses to assist with reviewing and proving the case. In order to prove that a nursing home patient has been neglected or abused, the attorney must be able to demonstrate that the injury occurred as a result of abusive or neglectful actions taken by the nursing home. To do this, attorneys must rely on medical and nursing experts who can explain how the facility failed in its duty to provide proper care to the patient. Nursing home neglect attorneys must have access to highly qualified medical and nursing experts who can review the nursing home patient records, review the testimony of the nursing home staff, and determine how the facility staff failed to provide proper care. These experts must also be able to effectively communicate to a jury how the nursing home resident was neglected or abused.
Experience In the Courtroom in Complex Medical Negligence Cases
When considering home abuse attorneys, whether the lawyer has had courtroom success in handling complex medical negligence cases on behalf of medical malpractice victims or nursing home residents. Nursing home abuse attorneys must contend with highly trained nursing home lawyers that represent the defendant nursing homes.
These are just some of the skills that a competent nursing home abuse lawyer should possess. In addition, it is important to find an attorney who will understand your situation and provide you with compassionate, understanding legal representation. If you or someone you know has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact an experienced attorney immediately.
Offers Free Consultation and Case Review
You should ask whether the attorney offers free consultations and case reviews. Does the lawyer charge a retainer? Does the lawyer ask you to up front the cost of hiring an expert? If so, this could be a warning sign and you may want to keep searching for a nursing home negligence attorney.
About Powless Law Firm
The lawyers at the Powless Law Firm focus on cases involving abuse and neglect in nursing homes and are thoroughly familiar with the state and federal regulations that govern Indiana’s nursing homes. Likewise, the lawyers at Powless Law Firm are thoroughly knowledgeable with the procedural requirements set forth in Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act that pertain to cases involving Indiana nursing homes. Attorneys at Powless Law Firm also have the ability to consult with top notch nursing and physician experts with significant experience and expertise in nursing homes. We have extensive experience in successfully representing victims of nursing home negligence and abuse.
Attorney Jeff Powless is the author of the highly rated book, “Abuses and Excuses: How To Hold Bad Nursing Homes Accountable.” Abuses and Excuses broke new ground in helping patients and families hold bad nursing homes accountable. The book provides an indepth discussion of corporate greed, acts of neglect and abuse, an insidious industry culture of cover-up, and the actual harm that inevitably befalls vulnerable nursing home patients all across the country with shocking frequency. Abuses and Excuses is sold on Amazon and .epub formats and by most online book retailers.
Jeff’s record as lead trial counsel has included various distinctions, including one of the largest punitive damage ratio awards ever reported in the State of Texas in a medical negligence case. In another of Jeff’s trials, the jury held the negligent hospital accountable for callously harming its patient by rendering one of the largest reported verdicts in Rockwall County, Texas. These accomplishments helped earn Jeff lifetime admittance into both the prestigious Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which recognize the achievements of top trial lawyers from across the United States. Jeff has also been awarded lifetime admittance into the Elite Lawyers of America©, which recognizes trial attorneys who have served as lead counsel who have obtained a verdicts, awards and/or settlements in civil cases of 2 million dollars ($2,000,000.00) or more.
Hiring an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is essential that you hire an experienced nursing home lawyer with a track record of standing up against powerful nursing home corporations and their lawyers. An experienced nursing home negligence lawyer will be able to guide you through the legal process and ensure that your loved one receives justice.
If you or a family member has been injured due to nursing home neglect, contact us today for a free consultation. We understand what you are going through and are committed to fighting for accountability and justice on your behalf.
For a free consultation, call 877-769-5377.
In Addition to Consulting a Lawyer, Consider Filing a Nursing Home Complaint
In addition to consulting a nursing home lawyer, you should strongly consider filing a complaint against the nursing home with the Indiana State Department of Health. Filing a complaint is easy, and you can learn more information about how to file a complaint here: How To File A Nursing Home Complaint in Indiana.
The attorneys and staff at Powless Law Firm are here to support you and to help ensure that your loved one receives the justice they deserve. If you or a family member is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact us today for a free consultation. We understand what you are going through and are committed to fighting for accountability and justice on your behalf.
For a free consultation, call 877-769-5377.
NURSING HOME ABUSE FAQs
What is nursing home abuse?
Nursing home abuse is any form of wilful mistreatment or neglect that a vulnerable adult receives while in the care of a nursing home facility. Abuse can include physical, mental, and/or sexual abuse, as well as financial exploitation and abandonment. Nursing home abuse also includes any form of knowing neglect by the facility or its staff that results in harm to a resident.
What are the signs of nursing home abuse?
The signs of nursing home abuse can vary depending on the type of abuse taking place. Some common warning signs include sudden changes in behavior, unexplained injuries or bruises, malnutrition or dehydration, fearfulness towards certain staff members or caregivers, lack of personal hygiene, and bedsores. If you notice any of these signs, it is important that you take action and report the abuse to the proper authorities.
What should I do if I suspect my loved one is being abused?
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, it is important to gather evidence and contact an experienced nursing home lawyer immediately. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney will be able to review your case and help ensure that justice is served. If possible, document any injuries or bruises with photographs or video recordings as this can be critical in proving your case. Additionally, keep detailed records of all conversations and interactions between yourself and any staff members or facility administrators related to the incident(s).
What types of compensation can I receive for nursing home abuse?
The types of compensation that may be available in a nursing home abuse case will vary depending on the specifics of the case, but typically include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income and wages, medical bills, and punitive damages. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the facility or its staff members for their actions. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought in the event the abuse or neglect caused the patient’s death. An experienced nursing home lawyer will be able to advise you on what type of compensation is available in your particular case and how best to seek it.
What should I look for when hiring a nursing home lawyer?
When hiring an experienced nursing home lawyer it is important to consider several factors including experience, knowledge of state and federal laws, and a willingness to take your case all the way to trial if necessary. Additionally, look for someone who is committed to fighting for justice on behalf of their clients and will do whatever it takes to help ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
For a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer, call 877-769-5377. Powless Law Firm is here to support you and fight on behalf of those who have been mistreated or neglected in a nursing home facility. We understand what you are going through and are committed to holding negligent parties accountable while seeking compensation for damages related to the abuse or neglect suffered by your loved one. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Jeff Powless is an attorney and the author of the 2017 book, Abuses and Excuses: How To Hold Bad Nursing Homes Accountable. Abuses and Excuses breaks new ground in helping patients and families hold bad nursing homes accountable, sharing a wealth of insider strategies and insights. It’s an eye-opening account of corporate greed, acts of neglect and abuse, an insidious industry culture of cover-up, and the actual harm that inevitably befalls vulnerable nursing home patients all across the country with shocking frequency.
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