Find out what steps you can take if you or a loved one experienced nursing home abuse.
What Is a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
A nursing home abuse lawsuit is a type of legal action that can be taken after an elder suffered serious injuries while living in a nursing facility.
A civil lawsuit allows residents and their families (plaintiffs) to pursue money from the facilities and/or staff who wronged them (defendants).
It’s important to consider filing a lawsuit after nursing home abuse occurs. Lawsuits allow older people and their family members to get justice and compensation. Some nursing home abuse lawsuits have awarded elders and loved ones with $1 million or more.
You can file a civil nursing home abuse lawsuit with help from a skilled attorney. Lawyers that specifically handle elder abuse cases can build a strong lawsuit on your behalf and work to get as much money as possible.
Get legal help and file a nursing home abuse lawsuit — start the process now with a free case review.
Why File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
Nursing home lawsuits can help you in many ways. First, you can get financial compensation to help pay for expenses that stem from the abuse.
Nursing home lawsuit compensation can pay for:
- Medical bills
- Funeral costs
- Household expenses (groceries, utilities)
- Lost wages
- Mortgages or rent
- Other bills or expenses
- Types of therapy
A nursing home abuse lawsuit can also help you hold the facility accountable for hurting your loved one.
In certain cases, nursing homes may have to pay punitive damages to resolve the lawsuit. This compensation goes beyond covering your expenses and aims to punish the nursing home for being negligent or abusive.
Finally, a nursing home lawsuit won’t just help you and your family. Through it, others can be made aware that the nursing home in question is failing to protect its elderly residents.
Nursing home abuse lawsuits can even lead to changes in the facility so others aren’t harmed (for example, the abusive or neglectful caregivers may be fired).
Types of Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
There are several types of nursing home abuse lawsuits. The type of lawsuit you can file depends on your unique situation.
The most common types of nursing home lawsuits are:
- Breach of contract cases
- Wrongful death lawsuits
Tort Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
Most nursing home abuse lawsuits are tort cases. According to Cornell Law School, a tort is any act (or failure to act) that hurts someone. These victims can then file a tort lawsuit against those who may be responsible for the injuries or harm done.
Tort nursing home abuse lawsuits allow you to pursue compensation from an assisted living facility and its staff.
Types of nursing home tort lawsuits include:
Intentionally harmful acts such as hitting or sexually assaulting a nursing home resident are considered abuse.
When a health care professional makes medical mistakes that harm elderly residents, they may have committed medical malpractice.
Neglect & negligence
Nursing home neglect occurs when a staff member fails to uphold basic standards of care and causes a resident to suffer. Thankfully, nursing home neglect lawsuits can help you get justice and financial aid.
To win a tort case, your personal injury lawyers must prove that the nursing home and/or its staff committed a harmful act that caused a resident to suffer.
You can file a tort lawsuit if you were the person harmed in a nursing home. You can also file if your loved one or family member was abused or if you control the elderly victim’s power of attorney.
Breach of Contract Lawsuits
Breach of contract describes a nursing home’s failure to honor the terms of its contract with a resident — often involving terms of adequate care.
Breach of contract suits are less common than tort lawsuits against nursing homes.
A breach of contract lawsuit may help you and your loved ones recover expenses they paid to the nursing home (such as rent). However, compensation beyond that is often limited as nursing home liability insurance rarely covers breach of contract cases.
For these reasons, it’s often better to file a tort lawsuit. A nursing home abuse attorney can help you understand your legal options.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Loved ones and family members can pursue wrongful death lawsuits if an older person passed away from nursing home abuse.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed if:
- A nursing home resident died from abuse or neglect before filing a lawsuit
- A resident already filed a lawsuit for abuse or neglect but died from their injuries/illnesses before it concluded
Besides family and close relatives, those who control the resident’s estate may also be able to file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit.
Civil vs. Criminal Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
While the word “lawsuit” usually refers to civil court cases, nursing home abuse lawsuits may be filed in civil or criminal court systems. Criminal and civil lawsuits are very different.
Differences between the two include:
Who Can File
You can pursue a civil nursing home abuse lawsuit on your own by contacting a skilled elder attorney. The government can file a criminal lawsuit if someone has broken a law.
Access to a Lawyer
The state must provide an attorney to any defendant who requests one in a criminal case. However, the defendants must hire their own lawyer in a civil nursing home case.
Criminal lawsuits focus on punishing the defendant for a crime through jail/prison time, fines, or other penalties. Criminal cases may also force wrongdoers to pay restitution (money) to victims. In a civil case, defendants also usually must pay plaintiffs for their financial losses and suffering but don’t risk going to jail or prison.
Some nursing home abuse cases may violate both criminal and civil law. For example, if a nursing home staff member assaults a resident, they may be held criminally liable and be sued in a civil court for the same act.
In these cases, law enforcement and nursing home attorneys may want to work with you to ensure the abusers are brought to justice.
Get legal help and file a nursing home abuse lawsuit — start the process now with a free case review.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Process
The nursing home abuse lawsuit process is typically broken down into several steps.
The general steps of a nursing home abuse lawsuit are:
1. Gathering Information
If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, the first step is to contact a lawyer.
Nursing home abuse lawyers can then help you gather basic information explaining how you or a loved one was harmed and why you need compensation. This may include medical records, nursing home contracts, or other documents.
After all the basic information has been gathered and compiled, lawyers can file the nursing home abuse lawsuit in court. Your lawyers can make sure the case is filed in the right court system before set deadlines have passed.
Those being sued (the nursing home and/or staff) must respond to the lawsuit after it’s filed or they may automatically lose the case.
During the discovery phase, both parties obtain information from each other to help strengthen their cases.
A settlement is the most common way a lawsuit is resolved. Nursing home lawsuit settlements allow your lawyers to secure money through a legally binding agreement with the defendants. As part of a settlement agreement, the case doesn’t go to trial.
If your nursing home abuse lawsuit is not settled out of court, it may move to the trial phase. There, both parties present their cases to the court, and the case is decided through a judge or jury verdict.
Trials are unpredictable (there’s no way to know who will win the case) and add more time to the legal process, so most lawyers try to avoid them. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, as few as 5% of all civil lawsuits receive a verdict.
After a trial, either party can appeal a decision if they believe a legal error has occurred. A higher court must then review the case and either uphold the original decision or issue a new verdict.
File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit and Get Compensation
Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit is easy with the right team behind you. Attorneys at top law firms can handle most of the legal work that comes with filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit so you won’t have extra stress.
Before filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit, look for an attorney with direct experience winning these kinds of cases.
These lawyers can help you:
- Correctly file a nursing home abuse lawsuit
- Negotiate settlement amounts
- Represent you during a trial if needed
- Secure lawsuit compensation and justice on your behalf
Our experienced legal partners are ready to help you file a lawsuit and get the compensation you may deserve. Fill out our free case review form to get started.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit FAQs
How long does a nursing home lawsuit take?
Each lawsuit for nursing home negligence or abuse takes a different amount of time — every case is unique. That said, some can start to get compensation in only a few months.
A nursing home abuse lawyer can see how long it may take to get compensation for your lawsuit.
Is it difficult to sue a nursing home?
It’s much easier to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit with a lawyer’s help. Lawyers can file a lawsuit, gather evidence, and pursue compensation so you can recover from the abuse and spend time with your loved ones.
It would be very difficult to try and sue a nursing home without an experienced attorney since the legal system is so complex.
How much is a nursing home bedsore lawsuit worth?
Past nursing home abuse lawsuits for bedsores have awarded $1 million or more. For example, a woman and her family won $1.2 million after she developed severe bedsores and a kidney infection while staying in an Illinois nursing home.
If you or a loved one developed a bedsore or pressure ulcers while staying in a long-term care facility, contact our team to see if you can file a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Are their deadlines to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit?
Yes. Laws called statutes of limitations prevent you from taking legal action if too much time has passed. These laws vary by state.
Different nursing home abuse state laws may also influence the legal process.
For best results, work with an attorney that has handled elder abuse cases in the past to make sure your case is filed in time.