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What To Expect In A Nursing Home Lawsuit

Nursing abuse

One out of ten elderly people experiences abuse in a nursing home. Nursing facilities have a duty of care under various state and federal laws. If you are considering a lawsuit against a nursing facility, it is important to be prepared for what could be a lengthy process.

Here's a quick rundown of what to expect.

Investigation​

The first step in a nursing home lawsuit is to investigate the conduct of the nursing home to determine if it complied with existing federal and state laws on elder care. Your attorney, together with a medical expert, will evaluate all the medical records of the resident and assess the history of the nursing home to identify past lawsuits.

Notice of Claim

If there is adequate evidence showing the nursing home is at fault, the next step is issuance of a Notice of Claim (NOC) to the facility. The NOC informs the facility of the findings from the investigation and your intention to file a lawsuit. In Texas, the NOC is issued at least 60 days before a lawsuit is filed.

Filing a Lawsuit​

After issuing the NOC, your attorney will file a lawsuit in court and serve the nursing home with a citation informing them of the claim. After being served, the nursing home has four weeks to file an answer with the court.

Expert Report​

Once the nursing home responds to the citation, the next step is to file an expert report with the court and to serve the same report to the nursing facility within 120 days of the facility responding to the lawsuit.

The expert report details elements such the standard of care the facility owed to the resident and explains how the lack of this care caused injury to the resident. A court hearing may be held to determine the report's validity.

Discovery 

During the discovery stage, each side of the lawsuit gathers evidence and exchanges this information with each other. Both parties may question each other and witnesses under oath. At the end of the discovery process, parties also exchange expert reports.

Settlement

Due to the lengthy and often costly trial process, a settlement can offer you the best outcome in a nursing home abuse case. The settlement process may begin as early as the time you initiate the lawsuit. During this process, your lawyer will propose a compensation amount to the nursing home to resolve the case. The nursing home may ignore, accept or propose a different offer.

Depending on the unique characteristics of your case, the negotiation process may take weeks or go on for months. If both sides agree on an amicable compensation, the lawyers will draft an agreement and end the lawsuit. If there is no agreement, the case will proceed to mediation before going to trial.

Mediation

During mediation, a third party who does not have an interest in the case will propose an agreement and help both sides to come to an amicable resolution. If an agreement is reached, a new settlement contract will be created and the lawsuit terminated. The case will go into trial if mediation is unsuccessful.

Trial

At the trial stage, both sides will present facts of the case before a judge and jury. Depending on the nature of the case, the trial process may take a couple of days or a few weeks. The jury will deliver a decision after listening to both sides and reviewing the evidence. You will receive your compensation within 30-90 days of a settlement or court verdict.

Malpractice lawsuits can be complex and legal counsel is mandatory. At Maloney Pat Law Offices, our compassionate attorneys can help you get the best outcome for you and your loved one. Get in touch with us today to discuss your legal options.