If your loved one passed away in a nursing home and you believe their death was caused by neglect or abuse, you must file a lawsuit or submit a written claim.
That is the only way to bring a case against a nursing home. Here’s more information about both. I encourage you to read about both options and then the steps I recommend you take.
I also encourage you to contact my office for a free case evaluation.
Filing a Lawsuit against a Nursing Home for Wrongful Death
Once you have decided to move forward and file a lawsuit the first step is drafting a complaint and filing it with the proper court.
In most cases, that court will be the Superior Court located in the County where you loved one passed away. After you file the case, you must properly serve it on all appropriate parties.
This can be very difficult without the assistance of a lawyer. I don’t recommend that you move forward without legal counsel.
Submitting a Written Claim to the Nursing Home or their Insurance Company
This option sounds most appealing to many potential clients.
Most people believe (and reasonably so) that once confronted with their wrongdoing, most nursing homes or insurance companies will do the right thing. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
There are serious problems with this option.
In most nursing home wrongful death cases, you may need more than the medical records. You may need testimony from employees; policy and procedure manuals from the facility; or information about other similar deaths. Unless you file a lawsuit, you cannot obtain this information.
If you submit a claim without this information, your claim may be denied. Alternatively, they may offer you less money than your wrongful death claim is worth. Most importantly, you may never know if your loved one’s death was the result of a pattern of wrongful conduct that threatens others.
In most cases, I recommend potential clients take several steps before submitting a claim or filing a lawsuit against a nursing home.
These steps are outlined below.
It is possible to submit a claim prior to filing a lawsuit, but I strongly urge you to speak with a nursing home lawyer and here’s why:
Don’t Necessarily Want to Alert the Nursing Home that You May Sue
First, it’s important to get as much information as you can before you take any action.
If you alert the nursing home that you intend to sue them they may take steps to conceal or destroy information.
I know that sounds terrible and it’s hard for some people to believe that may happen. Believe me, it happens.
You Should Determine Whether Arbitration May Apply to Your Nursing Home Case
Second, you should work with a lawyer to determine whether any case you file may be moved to arbitration.
Some nursing home agreements have arbitration clauses in them. Those clauses say all claims arising out of the care and treatment of your loved one must be submitted to arbitration.
Not all arbitration agreements are enforceable. Some arbitration agreements do not apply to wrongful death cases brought by the patient’s loved ones.
It’s important to speak with a lawyer to determine whether your potential case fits so you can make an informed decision.
You May Want to Obtain Medical Records First
Third, the first step in virtually all potential nursing home cases is obtaining medical records.
The records will allow you or an attorney to evaluate the treatment your loved one received. Sometimes the records themselves will reveal neglect and abuse.
Either way, having that information will help you decide whether your case is worth pursuing.
To learn more about obtaining medical records, you may call my office or read this page.
Should Likely Have Professional Expert Review the Records
Fourth, once you obtain any records you will want your lawyer or an expert to review them.
The purpose of the review is to find any evidence of neglect or wrongdoing.
This step allows you to get valuable information that you can use to decide whether it’s worth it to move forward.
If you need any help figuring this out, contact my office for a free case evaluation. My consultations are confidential and no pressure evaluations. You are the decision maker. I will not contact anyone about our consultation or take any action without your authorization.