Your Guide to the Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Process
An attorney can help you navigate every step
Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Pennsylvania is sometimes not as straightforward as it seems. The process demands you follow specific steps and meet deadlines. One mistake and you could jeopardize your chance at taking legal action completely. That’s why consulting with an attorney is a crucial step in the process.
The attorneys at Hal Waldman & Associates have decades of experience in the nursing home abuse lawsuit process in Pennsylvania. Attorney Hal Waldman is widely recognized as a nursing home abuse lawyer with substantial knowledge and experience about such cases.
We know exactly how to guide you through the process, leaving no room for misunderstanding. Contact us today to learn more.
Who can file a nursing home abuse lawsuit?
If the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect is still living, they have the right to file a lawsuit on their own behalf. However, most nursing home residents are unable to file on their own. Close family members may be able to file the claim on their behalf, as can anyone with power of attorney.
If the victim is deceased, then a wrongful death claim can be filed by the personal representative of their estate. If your loved one left a Last Will and Testament, the personal representative is typically named in the will. If there is no will, or the person named in the will is deceased or unable to serve, the court will appoint a personal representative.
How an attorney can help you file a lawsuit
The first consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney is a crucial step in seeking justice for your loved one and understanding your legal options. During this meeting, the attorney will carefully listen to your concerns and gather essential information to assess whether you have a viable case. Here's how the attorney will determine your case’s potential:
- Listening to your situation: The attorney will listen to your account of the suspected abuse or neglect, including any evidence or documentation you may have.
- Reviewing medical records: They will examine relevant medical records, facility reports, and other documentation to understand the extent of the mistreatment.
- Assessing legal aspects: The attorney will evaluate your situation against nursing home abuse laws and regulations in Pennsylvania to determine the potential strength of your case.
- Identifying responsible parties: They will identify the parties that may be liable for the abuse or neglect. This is usually the nursing home itself, but other parties may also be legally responsible in some situations.
- Discussing legal options: Based on their evaluation, the attorney will explain your legal rights and options, including the possibility of pursuing a lawsuit to seek compensation and justice.
Filing a nursing home neglect lawsuit
Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit begins with drafting a formal legal document known as the complaint or petition. This step is taken by the plaintiff or their attorney and includes details of the abuse or neglect. It will also name the involved parties, including the defendants.
Once the complaint or petition is ready, it is submitted to the appropriate court, usually the court in the county where the nursing home is located. This official filing marks the start of the legal process and the beginning of the lawsuit.
After the filing, your attorney must ensure that the defendant(s) receive a copy of the complaint or petition and a summons. This step is known as "serving" the defendant(s), and it officially informs them about the lawsuit and their responsibility to address the allegations. This ensures that the defendants are aware of the legal proceedings and can prepare their defense.
The discovery phase is a critical step in a nursing home abuse lawsuit. During this phase, the plaintiff and the defendant will look for facts to strengthen their case. Then, they will exchange information, evidence, and witness testimonies relevant to the case.
The primary goal of the discovery phase is to uncover all the relevant facts and evidence connected to the abuse or neglect. This allows both sides to understand the case in full and make informed decisions about how to proceed.
There are various methods of discovery, including:
- Interrogatories: Written questions that each party must answer under oath.
- Depositions: Oral testimonies from witnesses or parties involved are taken under oath and recorded.
- Requests for evidence: Requests for the production of documents, records, or other evidence relevant to the case.
- Requests for admissions: Requests for the other party to admit or deny specific facts.
Through the discovery process, both the plaintiff and defendant have the opportunity to gather and review the evidence that will be presented during the trial. It allows for a fair and transparent exchange of information.
Throughout the lawsuit process, the parties will have a chance to discuss their side in an attempt to find a middle ground. Through negotiations, they’ll explore options to settle the case. Most nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits are ultimately resolved by settlement at some point in the process. However, the case proceeds to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.
During this phase, with the help of their attorneys, both sides will gather more information and evidence. The pre-trial phase is the time for each party to prepare to present their arguments in a courtroom.
Both sides will present their arguments and evidence in court during the trial phase. They’ll explain their viewpoints in hopes the jury will take their side. Witnesses may also share their views and be questioned. After everything has been presented, a judge or jury will rule in favor of the family or the nursing home. If you win at trial, the jury will also decide how much to award in damages (financial compensation)
One of the parties may disagree with the judge or jury’s decision. In this case, they can ask a higher court to review it. An appeal is not a new trial; it’s a review of the legal process and decisions made during the trial phase. The appellate court may affirm or reverse the lower court’s decision.
Get an attorney who puts your family first
The nursing home abuse lawsuit process can be challenging, but protecting your loved ones is critical. Attorney Waldman is a highly experienced and respected nursing home neglect attorney who knows the system from start to finish and is ready to fight for your family. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.