Elder abuse lawsuits that go to civil court can provide the victims with financial compensation if the outcome is favorable. However, it is important to know that not every case results in a financial award. An experienced legal professional can increase your odds of a favorable outcome from an elder abuse or nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Elder Abuse Court Cases May Award Compensation
Elder abuse civil lawsuits that go to court can be unpredictable. However, a favorable decision can award victims with financial compensation.
For example, A California jury awarded the family of a woman who died in a nursing home $42.5 million. The woman who died had been given the prescription drug Ativan by staff members without her consent.
Families interested in taking legal action after nursing home abuse or neglect should make sure to work with lawyers that have secured money for past clients. An attorney with a track record of success can be the difference between a sizable financial award and no money at all.
How Often Do Elder Abuse Lawsuits Go To Court?
Few elder or nursing home abuse lawsuits actually go to court. In fact, most lawsuits in general never see the courtroom. Most personal injury lawsuits end with both parties reaching an out-of-court settlement.
Settlements award financial compensation just like an in-court trial decision would. However, the legal teams for the plaintiffs (those suing) and defendants (those being sued) determine how much money the victim should receive instead of a judge or jury.
Since most lawsuits end in settlements, it is crucial that you work with a nursing home abuse attorney who can negotiate a settlement and maximize your potential compensation.
How Are Elder Abuse Cases Decided in Court?
An in-court trial may occur if no settlement can be agreed upon. The court cases are decided by either a judge or a jury. These parties will hear the facts from the legal teams for the plaintiffs and defendants and determine a winner in the case.
Going to court does not guarantee you will get financial compensation. No matter what evidence you have, a jury could still decide you don’t deserve any money. Thankfully, top nursing home abuse attorneys can prepare your case for a trial in the event a fair settlement cannot be reached.
Possible Elder Abuse Court Decisions
There are several possible outcomes to an elder abuse court case, some of which may favor you and others that do not.
Plaintiff Wins the Case
The judge or jury reaches a verdict in favor of the party who brought the elder abuse lawsuit. The plaintiff may then be awarded financial compensation. As previously mentioned, the judge or jury determines how much money the plaintiff will receive.
Defendants Win the Case
If the defendants win the case, the plaintiffs may get no financial compensation.
Setting of Precedents
Some elder abuse court decisions can actually set new standards for how future cases may be interpreted by legal systems. When this occurs, a new precedent has been set.
For example, an elder abuse court decision set a new precedent for New Yorkers in 2014. In this case, a father owned an apartment and was being abused by his son who lived with him. The father evicted the son and his girlfriend, but the girlfriend tried to appeal her eviction.
The judge in the case determined that the father had a right to evict the girlfriend despite the fact that she had not been directly abusive to him.
Other Potential Outcomes
Going to court is not always a win or lose proposition — there are a lot of different outcomes that fall into gray areas. These outcomes can add additional time and effort to the legal process.
- Mistrial: This may occur if a jury cannot reach a verdict, if a juror dies during the case, or another problem prevents the case from reaching a decision. A new trial may occur if a mistrial happens.
- Appeals: In some cases, the losing side may be able to appeal the decision to a higher court, meaning another trial must take place.
Elder Abuse Court Decisions and Legal Help
If an elder abuse lawsuit does go to court, it’s important to have strong legal representation. It can be extremely difficult to navigate the legal process without help from a lawyer. Lawyers can attempt to negotiate financial settlements with defendants and build a strong case in the event that a case must go to trial.
You may qualify for legal help if you are someone you love is a victim of nursing home abuse — get a free case review to learn more. Our team of legal professionals is ready to assist your family.