Because many residents are reluctant to report it or simply aren’t aware that its happening, pinpointing actual nursing home abuse numbers can be difficult. However, it’s estimated that close to fifty percent of residents have experienced some form of abuse, which isn’t always physical—it can be emotional and financial, too. California has one of the highest nursing home populations in the country; suing for nursing home abuse in California is important if you have exhausted all other options.
If you intend to sue a California nursing home for abuse, you will need the advice and help of a reliable attorney, such as The Kindley Firm, APC. However, before you even consider a lawsuit, you should have talked to the staff and gathered as much evidence as you can to support your case, including photographs, medical records, statements, and anything else pertinent to the situation.
It’s also important to distinguish between abuse, which is deliberate, and neglect, which is accidental and not usually intentional, although the effects of neglect in a nursing home can be just as devastating. You should also be aware of the two-year statute of limitations in California; in other words, if the abuse occurred over two years ago, too much time has lapsed for you to be able to sue the facility.
Once you have gathered all the required information, your attorney will begin what is known as the discovery phase of the process. During this time the collected evidence is presented to a judge, who will closely examine the evidence. Your attorney will consult medical professionals, talk to the resident and staff members, and try to build a case around the impact the abuse has had on your family member and others.
Proving abuse or deciding who was responsible isn’t always easy; caregivers and staff members come and go at many nursing homes, and unfortunately the testimony of residents isn’t always clear or accurate. Your attorney can also talk to the court about appointing another family member as a guardian, if the elderly resident is too sick or confused to testify in court.
You shouldn’t expect to see a quick outcome; many such cases can take months or even years to resolve. Not surprisingly, you should be prepared for the nursing home to fight the lawsuit, and you should expect them to try to settle out of court. In fact, most California nursing home abuse lawsuits are settled out of court, but if your case does go to court, it’s good to be prepared and know what to expect. Your attorney will offer the best possible advice when it comes to whether to accept a settlement offer or proceed with taking your case to court.