Did you lose a loved one from the negligence of another? Read these 5 common questions about nursing home abuse, then call our Florida lawyer.
1) What happens after I file a nursing home negligence case?
Nursing homes are licensed by the Agency for Healthcare Administration. There is a separate division for nursing home oversight. Nursing homes are inspected regularly. There is, most of the time, good and effective oversight. You, as a client, can file a complaint with the Agency for Healthcare Administration. The agency will investigate the case and find out if there’s cause. There are a lot of tools that the agency has to discipline a nursing home, from fining them to revoking their license. Without their license, they cannot have a nursing facility in state of Florida.
The other is filing a complaint in the circuit court state of Florida. Our nursing home negligence attorney practices in northeast Florida in the four judicial circuit primarily, which covers Nassau County and Duval County, and some surrounding counties. We file a complaint after we’ve satisfied some of the hoops we’ve got to jump through. We file a complaint and we sue that nursing home and the management company. Any other entity that we can include, we do. That brings the case to the point of bringing it to trial.
What happens after that is a lot of litigation back and forth. These cases are defended aggressively but we pursue them aggressively, as well, all with an eye toward achieving a fair resolution to your case, either by way of settling the case or trying the case and obtaining a fair verdict to collect against the defendants. That’s what happens when you file a complaint, either administratively with the agency or in the court system, both of which we can help you.
2) What common mistakes do people make in their nursing home negligence cases?
One mistake we often see in these cases is a client trying to work out things with the facility. Many times, these residents have been at a facility for a long time and relationships have been established. They try to work out a problem. The people at the facility routinely say that the problems associated with the loved one are not due to neglect but instead to uncontrollable end of life issues. Clients, as a result, get lulled into a false sense of security, if you will. They never know that that end has been accelerated due to the actions or inactions of the facility staff. They get lulled into a false sense of security and delays happen. In Florida, you have two years to initiate a claim under the Nursing Home Act. That time can go by quickly. If the call to the lawyer doesn’t get made as soon as possible, that’s a big mistake.
Other mistakes are that clients will get a lawyer that’s not experienced in the area. This is very specialized work. If you’re not practicing in this area of the law on a regular basis, you will miss things. It will be to the detriment of the client.
3) How do you determine the value of my nursing home negligence case?
We don’t know because the process for valuing a case takes time.
There are many considerations that go into the putting a value on a case. We start with gathering up the records, including the nursing home facility records, hospital records, and medical records of all kinds. That takes a long time. Determining how strong the liability part of the case is, can we prove that the facility neglected the loved one or abused the loved one or did something in a negligent fashion? Can we prove that and how easily can we do that? What are the damages? These are sometimes difficult cases to value in terms of the damages of medical bills, and typically there aren’t any lost wages because we’re dealing with elderly clients.
Value comes toward the end of the case. We generally talk about value range and the considerations that go into it don’t come about until we’re well into the case after we’ve discovered what we can find out what happened and the evidence that we can use to prove our case. All that factors into valuing your case. Eventually, we get to that point and we have that discussion but it’s not early on.
4) How long does it take to resolve a nursing home negligence case?
With nursing home litigation cases, the timeline can take longer than with other types of cases. At an absolute minimum, these cases will take 9 to 14 months, but probably going longer than that. If we file a lawsuit, you can add a year or two to the process. The truth is, our courts in northeast Florida have gotten clogged up again. It’s taking a long time to get cases to trial.
Nursing home litigation is unique in the sense that there is a lot of work that has to be done before we even have the right to file a lawsuit. Records must be collected. Sometimes, a nursing home resident has been in a facility for years and we have thousands and thousands of pages of records to sift through and organize and learn about the negligence that occurred. The resident may have been in and out of the nursing home facilities or hospitals. We have to gather all those records and get them reviewed by an appropriate healthcare provider before we’re entitled to sue. That process takes a long time.
We always advise clients to set their expectations appropriately because these are emotional cases where there has been abuse of a loved one. The spouse or the children will come in and usually emotions are pretty high. The expectations have to be set appropriately that this is not a quick process. It’s complex. It’s complicated. It’s similar to a medical malpractice case, which can also be complicated and time consuming. I want to get across the idea that this is not a quick process. Once that expectation has been set, then we can have conversations about how to move forward, what to do, and what is necessary to satisfy the Nursing Home Act so that we can get that loved one’s case in the best posture possible.
5) Do I have a nursing home claim if a loved one passed away due to negligence?
Many years ago, the answer would be no. Now, you do. It’s a case that’s brought under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act in conjunction with the Florida Nursing Home Act. We prosecute that case. If that loved one has died as a result of inappropriate actions or inactions by the nursing home facility or the management company, then yes, we can prosecute that case and make the claim.
Did you lose a loved one from the negligence of another in Florida and have questions? After reading these 5 common questions about nursing home abuse, contact an experienced Nassau County nursing home abuse lawyer at Paul Boone Law today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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