According to research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nursing home abuse and neglect can take multiple forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, nursing home neglect, and emotional or psychological abuse. Nursing home abuse and neglect is a pervasive problem. In a review article that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015, researchers found that approximately 10 percent of elderly people were abused or neglected. If your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home in Arkansas, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can help you understand how to pursue a nursing home lawsuit so that you can hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
How to Pursue a Nursing Home Lawsuit in Arkansas
If you’re wondering how to pursue a nursing home lawsuit, note that there are several steps you should complete before you begin. First, make certain that your loved one is safe. If he or she is in immediate danger, call 911 and move your loved one to a safer environment. Notify the nursing home of the abuse or neglect, and report your concerns to the state. You should then retain an experienced attorney who can help you file your lawsuit, prove liability, and recover compensation.
Filing the Complaint
To begin the lawsuit, your attorney can help you file and draft a civil complaint with the court that has jurisdiction to hear the case. You will need to gather evidence of the abuse or neglect and bring it to your lawyer’s office. You should also bring a copy of the nursing home contract.
Some nursing homes include arbitration clauses in their contracts, which ostensibly could force you into arbitration instead of being able to file a lawsuit. However, the arbitration clauses might be invalid. For example, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down an arbitration clause at issue in October 2019 because it found that legally authorized representatives had not signed the nursing home contracts. This cleared the path for the plaintiffs to pursue nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits against the nursing home despite the arbitration clause.
Once the complaint is filed, the nursing home must be served with a copy of the complaint and the court summons. It will then have time to file an answer to the lawsuit.
After the civil complaint and answer have been filed, the case will enter into a period called discovery. During this phase, both sides will be required to exchange evidence. The discovery process might involve interrogatories and depositions in addition to other types of evidence.
Settlement negotiations will occur throughout the litigation process. If you can reach a settlement agreement with the nursing home that fairly compensates you and your loved one for your losses, the agreement will need to be filed with the court. Once it is approved, the nursing home should send a check to your attorney’s office. Your lawyer will then disburse your settlement to you after subtracting money for his or her fees and any medical liens.
If your nursing home lawsuit does not settle, you will need to prepare for trial. Your attorney will work to prepare the evidence and witnesses for trial. Many cases that do not settle before trials are scheduled end up settling in the days leading up to a trial. However, if your case does not, you should be prepared to testify. Your attorney can also call witnesses to testify in your case and can cross-examine the witnesses that are called by the defendant. Once both sides rest, the jury will deliberate and return its verdict.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases can be complex. If your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect, you should talk to the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling 479-783-8000 or sending us a message online.