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How to File a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Abuse in Indiana 

Many families in the United States reach out to nursing homes for their parents in hopes that the assisted living facility would take care of their loved ones while providing a safe, friendly, and hygienic environment. However, due to negligence and malicious intent, these institutions and their staff members may cause more harm than good, often resulting in serious injuries, financial abuse, and even wrongful death. 


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is a leading personal injury law firm in Indiana that has recovered more than $1 billion for our clients. We understand the complexities surrounding the laws pertaining to negligent nursing homes and can help save the affected parties from the perpetrators that cause them harm. 


Loved ones and those who have suffered injuries in nursing homes in Indianapolis, Indiana, should reach out to Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to discuss their case and learn more about their legal options. They can also help with how to file a lawsuit for product liability in Indiana.


Is There a Difference Between Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?

Is There a Difference Between Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?


While most people use nursing home neglect and abuse interchangeably, it's crucial to understand that these terms have different meanings. However, they share similar causes, such as a lack of training or understaffing. 


Neglect refers to a situation where the nursing home fails to ensure proper care and a safe and hygienic environment for all of its residents. While this can happen over time, it is unintentional. 


The staff might be doing their best, but it's not unusual for the institution to cut corners and overwork its employees. This can result in patients missing meals, skipping medications, or living in dirty conditions. Fortunately, personal injury law provides legal recourse to the affected parties, enabling them to hold such institutions responsible. 


On the other hand, nursing home abuse refers to the intentional acts that cause direct physical, mental, or financial harm to the patient. While the criminal justice system may charge the malicious party with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts surrounding the case, the victim or their family members may also be able to pursue a lawsuit to recover the damages caused. 


Who Can File an Indiana Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Lawsuit? 


Generally, nursing home residents can bring a civil action against the institution and its staff members to hold them accountable for their actions/inactions and recover compensation. 


However, since it's easy to manipulate the elderly or scare them, such cases don't always come into the limelight, resulting in underreported figures. 


Fortunately, personal injury law allows other parties to file a lawsuit on behalf of the neglected or abused victim. These may include the following: 


  • Surviving spouse

  • Children of the victim

  • Surviving parents

  • Other close family members

  • Other dependents


While there are many other parties besides the nursing home resident that can pursue legal action, not all of them have equal rights to file a lawsuit. An experienced attorney can guide the family members on their rights and create a strategy to ensure maximum compensation for the elderly victim. They can also advise on how to file a lawsuit for mesothelioma in Indiana.


When Should Indiana Nursing Home Patients File a Lawsuit? 


Although the Indiana State Department of Health surveys each nursing home in the state at least once, oversight during inspections can make it challenging for abuse cases to surface. However, once the victim's loved ones notice the injuries, they must take immediate legal action.


The state's statute of limitations governs cases pertaining to negligent Indiana nursing homes. This refers to the maximum period a patient and their family members have in which they can file a lawsuit. The law allows affected parties two years from the day the abuse happened, or the day the plaintiff should've reasonably discovered signs of neglect. 


In case of nursing home deaths, surviving and eligible family members may have two years from the date of their loved one's passing to bring a civil action. By holding the negligent nursing home accountable, plaintiffs can not only obtain compensatory damages but also prevent such incidents from happening again.


Establishing Liability in an Indiana Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Case


Nursing home patients or their loved ones need to show that the staff members at the institution were negligent and failed to care for the residents properly. They must establish liability, which means proving the four essential elements of a neglect or abuse lawsuit: 


  • The nursing home staff members and the institution owed the plaintiff a duty of care. 

  • The defendants breached their legal responsibility.

  • The plaintiff suffered injuries due to the defendant's negligence. 

  • The negligence resulted in damages to the plaintiff. 


Since nursing home residents are aging seniors, they may die due to natural causes. However, in some cases, it may be the institution and its staff members that contribute to the death of their resident. 


When that happens, the grieving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.  


How to File a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Abuse in Indiana 

How to File a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Abuse in Indiana 


The first step to seeking compensation for damages caused by nursing home neglect or abuse in Indiana is to bring a civil action against the responsible party. In most cases, it is the healthcare providers and their employees that cause harm to their residents. 


Here are the key steps involved in the filing of a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Indiana: 


Step 1: Work with an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Since nursing home residents are the ones who suffer at negligent assisted living facilities, their loved ones often fail to realize the signs of abuse or neglect, which can make it difficult for them to pursue civil action. 


Even after the plaintiff takes the first step toward filing a lawsuit, the institution's insurance company and legal team can create hurdles and an unfavorable situation for the claimant, coercing them into settling or dropping the case.  


Fortunately, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help protect the rights of the victim and their family members, investigate the incident, gather evidence, and build a strong lawsuit. 


Another benefit of working with skilled nursing home abuse attorneys in Indianapolis is that they can help assess the case and establish liability. If nursing home abuse victims and their family members are not sure whether they qualify for compensation, an attorney can help explain their rights and provide guidance on the available legal options. 


Step 2: Draft the Legal Complaint

Drafting a legal complaint is critical to filing an abuse lawsuit. It should explain how the assisted living facility and its employees hurt the resident, provide evidence to support the claim, list the parties involved, and state the damages the victim wishes to seek. 


When building a strong legal case, the victim or their family members need to get actively involved. Their input can create a compelling narrative, providing insightful information into the neglected resident's life before and after joining the assisted living facility. This can significantly bolster the lawsuit. 


Calculating the damages incurred following nursing home neglect and abuse without legal representation can be challenging. An attorney can use medical records and past cases and consult professionals for their expert opinion to determine economic and non-economic losses, increasing the claimant's chances of recovering maximum compensation. 


Step 3: File the Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit 

To initiate the legal procedure, the nursing home abuse victim or their family members need to file the lawsuit. It's essential to submit the complaint with the necessary evidence in the right court with jurisdiction over the case. Improper filing may lead to denial, prolonging the entire judicial process. 


Another important thing to remember is that the claimant must adhere to the legal procedure. They must provide the defendant with a summon and comply with the other essential guidelines. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help with that. 


Step 4: Prepare for Discovery

When the court sets the hearing date for the nursing home abuse case, it will initiate the discovery process. Both parties will have to provide the other side with evidence and information that may be critical to the lawsuit. This allows the plaintiff and defendant to learn more about the complaint and provides them with an opportunity to resolve their disagreements. 


During the discovery phase, both parties involved in the nursing home abuse lawsuit can negotiate and settle the case among themselves before it goes to trial. However, if there are still disagreements, the plaintiff and the defendant will have to proceed to court.


Step 5: Go to Trial

If both parties fail to settle their differences, the judge or jury will decide the verdict after hearing the arguments in court. The plaintiff and defendant will have an opportunity to share their side of the story and provide compelling evidence. This can take weeks or even months to complete. 


However, once the arguments come to a conclusion, the jury or judge will consider the evidence submitted in court and the Indiana medical malpractice act or nursing home abuse laws when deciding the verdict. 


While a successful lawsuit can be a cause for celebration, it's important to wait and see how the defendant reacts. The civil justice system allows the losing side to file an appeal, which could further prolong the entire legal process. 


Indiana Nursing Home Residents Should Seek Legal Representation from a Reputable Law Firm!


When a nursing home in Indiana fails to ensure proper care for its residents, victims and their loved ones can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent institution and its insurance company to recover medical bills and other damages. 


Affected parties in Indianapolis, Indiana, should call to schedule a free case review with our experienced attorneys. We are here to protect the victims and shield them from the negligent nursing homes and their greedy insurance companies!

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