Updated March 1, 2016
One of the most common questions individuals who are contemplating filing a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit in Pennsylvania or New Jersey want to know is whether it is worth it to seek justice and file a lawsuit. Oftentimes, family members are the ones who will bring the lawsuits, either on their own as the executor of an estate or on behalf of an incapacitated loved one.
The reality is that the ultimate outcome in an injury and accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania or New Jersey is financial compensation. That’s the way the American civil justice system works. It rights wrongs by awarding financial compensation to the injured party.
Courts simply don’t have the ability to enforce other methods or means of resolution. For instance, a court can’t enforce a settlement which requires a party to adopt changes to quality care protocols at a nursing home. Courts can, however, enforce monetary judgments. Accordingly, the question of whether you should file a nursing home injury lawsuit in PA or NJ is often determined by evaluating the value of the case and weighing the chance of success against the likelihood of failure. It is best to talk to a PA or NJ nursing home abuse lawyer who has the experience and legal expertise to evaluate a nursing home abuse or neglect case.
There are two main issues which come into play when evaluating whether to bring an injury lawsuit like a nursing home injury lawsuit. First, the issue of liability is key. Second, it is important to determine whether the damages warrant filing a lawsuit.
Liability in a Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawsuit
Liability or fault is probably the single most important issue in a nursing home injury lawsuit. Whether it’s an abuse case, a neglect case or an accident case, the injured party must prove that the nursing home was at fault. Depending on the type of case and nature of the wrongful act(s), there must be sufficient evidence of fault or liability, and this is where most cases stall. If the evidence of liability is weak, the case is weak. This affects the ultimate value of the case.
Evidence can be either physical or testimonial. Physical evidence is tangible and includes medical records, internal company/corporate records, and pictures or video. For example, if a nursing home resident is neglected due to inadequate staffing, human resources records and staff schedules will be important in establishing the number of employees working at any given shift and when the resident was injured.
Testimonial evidence is just as important, but often requires skill at conducting investigation and depositions. Testimonial evidence is testimony of the parties and witnesses, if any.
For instance, a family member of a neglected resident in a PA nursing home may testify as a witness to help prove their loved one’s pain and suffering. If the resident is not being fed or cared for, the resident may experience drastic weight loss. The resident may become withdrawn due to neglect. These are things that the family member can testify to in a deposition or at trial.
Assessing Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawsuit
Initially, when deciding whether to bring a lawsuit for nursing home abuse, neglect or injury, it is important to weigh the injury and damages against the costs of litigation. Litigation costs can be quite high, especially if the nursing home injury case requires an expert such as a medical expert. Litigation costs typically include costs to obtain medical records, court filing fees, and costs to conduct depositions. Because litigation costs can be quite high, it is important to consider whether the injury and damages are serious enough to warrant proceeding with the case.
In some cases, even though liability is clear, the injury may not be serious enough to warrant proceeding with a nursing home injury lawsuit. For example, in a nursing home fall accident case which results in a sprained ankle that heals in a few weeks, the injuries would not be serious enough to warrant proceeding with a lawsuit.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in PA & NJ
Namerow Law is passionate about fighting for the rights of injured individuals, including nursing home residents who are abused or neglected.
Firm founder Jordan Namerow has been selected as a ““Top Rated Personal Injury – Plaintiff Attorney in Philadelphia, PA“ by Super Lawyers Magazine. Mr. Namerow has been selected as a rising star from 2013 to 2016. In addition, he has been selected as one of the “Top 40 Lawyers Under 40” by the American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA).
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or suffering neglect in a nursing home in the Pennsylvania or New Jersey area, please call our office for a free consultation. Our nursing home abuse lawyers specialize in these kinds of cases. (215) 985-0777
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