Nursing Home Abuse Trial Process in Chattanooga

It is sad to think of elderly members of our society being subjected to abuse at a time of life when they deserve to be treated with respect and care. Fortunately, the law provides measures with the help of a lawyer to right some of the wrongs suffered in cases of nursing home abuse.

The nursing home abuse trial process in Chattanooga differs somewhat depending on the circumstances of the case at issue, but many key facets of the process remain constant. One of the most important things to remember in a nursing home abuse case is that actions taken may not only benefit the individual who suffered from the abuse, but may also prevent abuse from occurring to many others in the future.

Investigation Is Necessary to Establish Liability

When it is suspected that a nursing home resident is suffering from abuse or neglect, investigation is crucial. Many people considering legal action choose to consult with an attorney at this stage who could help conduct and direct investigation. Initially, such investigation could determine whether an incident could have been prevented or whether a pattern of abuse or neglect exists.

The initial investigation can provide a basis for determining whether action should be taken and what options are available. In many cases, it may be advisable to bring concerns to the attention of nursing home administrators. If they file to adequately address the situation, the resident or family members may contact the District Long-Term Care Ombudsman of the state Commission on Aging and Disability.

Investigation includes taking photographs of any visible injuries and of the physical settings where these injuries occurred. In addition, the investigative part of the process includes identifying and interviewing potential witnesses and examining medical records. To ensure that the medical records fully document the harm suffered, patients should be certain to receive adequate medical care as soon as possible after suffering the injury.

The Actions in Preparation for a Nursing Home Abuse Trial

If investigation reveals that a resident has grounds for a lawsuit and the party seeking recovery has found the right attorney to handle the case, the attorney could then draft a complaint which sets forth the grounds for the lawsuit. This generally includes the allegations against the nursing home and compensation sought to redress the wrongs. This complaint is then filed with the court and served on the nursing home and any other parties to the lawsuit.

The nursing home is often given a chance to respond with an answer, which in many cases will admit to certain allegations but deny the ones most essential to establishing liability. Then the discovery phase begins, in which attorneys for both sides exchange formal requests for information.

Attorneys may send questions known as interrogatories, request that parties make formal verbal statements known as a depositions, or request the production of certain documents. This phase of the trial process can continue for some time, often several months.

As a result of the information learned, the nursing home may offer to settle the case. The formal exchange of information in the discovery process is designed to encourage parties to settle their differences out of court. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer could help victims or families of victims evaluate whether the amount offered provides adequate compensation for the harm suffered and future needs resulting from abuse.

Going to Trial in a Chattanooga Nursing Home Abuse Case

If the parties do not reach a settlement, the trial proceeds according to local court rules. Lawyers for each side present their opening arguments and evidence. Witnesses may testify, including eyewitnesses and expert witnesses, and the opposing side is permitted to cross-examine the witnesses.

When all evidence has been presented, lawyers make their closing arguments and the case is turned over to the judge or jury for a decision.

If the decision is unfavorable, an attorney may be able to determine whether there are legal grounds to support an appeal to a higher court. The nursing home abuse trial process in Chattanooga is similar to many other personal injury trials, so for further information, it may be helpful to consult an experienced trial attorney.