If you intend to bring a nursing home abuse or neglect claim, you may be wondering if hiring an attorney is worth the cost. Most lawyers who handle these cases work on a contingency fee basis, which means they take a commission out of the final settlement or verdict. While this might seem to reduce your financial recovery, choosing to represent yourself could prove to be far more costly.
Unless you have an in-depth understanding of the relevant statutes, case law, and procedures, there’s a very high chance that you will make a mistake that greatly reduces your payout or prevents you from recovering any compensation whatsoever.
For instance, you might overlook critical evidence, leave certain damages out of the settlement calculations, or provide a statement that can be used to dispute liability, causation, or damages. Instead of trying to navigate this system alone, read on to learn a few reasons to hire a nursing home abuse attorney:
So You Don’t Overlook Evidence
Much of the evidence needed to strengthen your claim will likely be in the nursing home’s possession. To weaken your case, they might refuse to relinquish such evidence voluntarily. It is even possible that certain evidence will be altered or destroyed.
Your nursing home abuse lawyer can conduct an immediate investigation—while key evidence is still available. Your attorney can also file subpoenas to obtain evidence that is being withheld. Perhaps most important, your attorney will know the types of evidence that will be needed to strengthen your claim, which may include:
- Caregiver keycard data;
- The facility’s hiring and training procedures;
- Nursing home staff schedules;
- The victim’s medical records;
- Eyewitness deposition; and
- Medical expert deposition.
So You Don’t Leave Certain Damages out of the Settlement Calculations
You may already be aware that nursing home abuse victims have the right to seek compensation for any medical costs they incur as a result of their mistreatment, but in many cases, it is also possible to recover non-economic and punitive damages. If you represent yourself, you might overlook certain types of damages, or the opposing party may undervalue such damages.
Once you’ve accepted a settlement and signed a release, though, you won’t be able to seek further compensation from the defendant even if you discover later that the settlement was unfair.
So the Opposing Party Knows You’re Serious
The insurance company might try to take a hardline during settlement negotiations if you represent yourself. But if you hire a well-credentialed nursing home abuse attorney to enforce your rights, the opposing party might be more inclined to cooperate since your lawyer will have an in-depth understanding of the relevant case law and statutes.
So You Don’t Make Any Critical Mistakes
There are countless mistakes that could derail a case. Providing a recorded statement, posting about the case on social media, failing to mitigate the damages, not tracking damages, and failing to keep pertinent documentation are just a few errors that might lead to costly disputes and delays. A seasoned attorney can help you avoid these and other mistakes throughout the proceedings of a nursing home abuse or neglect claim.
Speak with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
The attorneys at Emerson Straw are proud to help nursing home abuse victims and their loved ones fight for the compensation they deserve. We offer free consultations and accept cases on a contingency fee basis. Call (727) 821-1500 or message us online to schedule a case assessment.