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How to Find the Best Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA
At least once a year, a local Pittsburgh news station presents a detailed report about the disheartening presence of nursing home abuse in the city, as well as across the State of Pennsylvania. More than 80,000 Pennsylvanians live in more than 700 nursing homes operating in the state, many of which live in a nursing home in Pittsburgh.
Nursing homes provide around-the-clock care for residents, whether it is short-term options for care or long-term nursing care. Living in a nursing home can be challenging for older adults that have spent most of their lives enjoying an independent lifestyle.
The challenges of living in a nursing home become compounded when a facility fails to live up to its responsibilities for delivering care. If you or a loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, you should contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan. We have helped many clients recover monetary damages because of the abuse they endured while living in a Pittsburgh nursing home.
Not only do our lawyers provide superior legal services for elder abuse cases, but we also demonstrate the level of compassion and empathy needed to help ease the anxiety of our clients. One of the steps to learning how to find the best nursing home lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA is to meet with a personal injury attorney to determine whether the lawyer expresses empathy for your unfortunate living arrangement.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
According to Section 201.3 of the Pennsylvania legal code, nursing home abuse is defined by the following terms:
“The infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental anguish, or deprivation by an individual, including a caretaker, of goods or services that are necessary to attain or maintain physical, mental and psychosocial well-being. This presumes that instances of abuse of all residents, even those in a coma, cause physical harm, or pain or mental anguish.”
“Any use of oral, written or gestured language that willfully includes disparaging and derogatory terms to residents or their families, or within their hearing distance, regardless of their age, ability to comprehend or disability.”
Verbal abuse includes the threat of harm and saying things that frighten a resident.
“Includes sexual harassment, sexual coercion, or sexual assault.”
“Includes hitting, slapping, punching, and kicking. The term also includes controlling behavior through corporal punishment.”
“Includes humiliation, harassment, threats of punishment or deprivation.”
“Separation of a resident from other residents or his room or confinement to his room (with/without roommates) against the resident’s will, or the will of the resident’s legal representative. Emergency or short-term monitored separation from other residents will not be considered involuntary seclusion and may be permitted if used for a limited period of time as a therapeutic intervention to reduce agitation until professional staff can develop a plan of care to meet the resident’s needs.”
Under Section 201.29(j) of the Pennsylvania legal code, nursing home residents “shall be treated with consideration, respect and full recognition of dignity and individuality, including privacy in treatment and care for the necessary personal and social needs.”
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
One of the primary reasons why it is important to know how to find the best nursing home abuse lawyer in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania surrounds the issue of the statute of limitations. Pennsylvania law gives you a certain amount of time to file the proper paperwork that initiates a civil lawsuit. The statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Pennsylvania is two years after the first act of abuse. You have two years to file a lawsuit whether the legal issue is wrongful death, personal injury, or medical malpractice.
Failing to meet the two-year deadline for filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit means you lose the opportunity to recover monetary damages. The law firm representing the nursing home will inform the court about you filing a civil lawsuit after the deadline and the court will then dismiss your case. Although you have two years to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Pennsylvania, you should act with a sense of urgency and file the lawsuit as quickly as you can after the first incident of nursing home abuse.
What Are the Types of Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits?
Another reason why it is crucial for you to learn how to find the best nursing home abuse lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA regards recovering just compensation. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of your case to determine how much you deserve in special compensatory damages, general compensatory damages, and punitive damages.
Special Compensatory Damages
Also referred to as economic damages, special compensatory damages pay for tangible costs, such as medical expenses. If nursing home abuse included physical abuse on you or a loved one, you are entitled to recover the cost of medical bills. Special compensatory damages cover the costs of diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and physical therapy sessions. You also have the right to seek monetary damages for covering the cost of living in another long-term care facility.
General Compensatory Damages
Since mental abuse and verbal abuse are common types of nursing home abuse, you might qualify to receive general compensatory damages. This type of compensation pays you for the pain and suffering triggered by mental anguish and emotional distress. Undergoing nursing home abuse can leave behind mental and emotional scars that never fade. Other types of general compensatory damages include lower quality of life and the loss of enjoying life.
Since pain and suffering does not come with a price tag, your personal injury attorney will come up with a reasonable monetary amount to pay for your mental anguish and emotional distress.
Punitive damages do not compensate you for economic and non-economic losses. The purpose of punitive damages is to penalize the defendant for committing acts of negligence that led to nursing home abuse. Judges and juries often award a considerable amount of money for punitive damages in nursing home abuse cases. Your lawyer will argue how much the defendant should pay in punitive damages.
What Should I Look for in the Best Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA?
Knowing how to find the best nursing home abuse lawyers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania can help you understand your legal options. An attorney helps calculate the amount of money that you should receive in compensation, as well as helps you gather and organize the evidence you need to file a persuasive lawsuit.
Because a nursing home abuse lawsuit can take years to resolve, your lawyer can move the process along by staying in touch with a representative from the Pennsylvania judicial system. A personal injury lawyer from Morgan & Morgan will interview witnesses, including the employees of the nursing home. Witness accounts-especially from nursing home employees-can make the difference in getting what you deserve in monetary damages.
Here is how to find the best nursing home abuse lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA.
Experience matters, if it is the right kind of experience.
First, you want to work with a personal injury lawyer in Pittsburgh who specializes in litigating nursing home abuse cases. Second, the experience an attorney has litigating nursing home abuse cases should include an overwhelming number of victories inside a civil courtroom. Because of the emotional issues that arise during a civil lawsuit that involves nursing home abuse, you want an experienced lawyer who knows how to keep his or her emotions in check.
An experienced nursing home abuse attorney should also possess superior negotiating skills. Although a personal injury lawyer should never accept a less than satisfactory deal, an experienced litigator can negotiate a favorable deal that gets you the same compensation that you would have gotten by continuing with a civil lawsuit.
Yes, how to find the best nursing home abuse lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA includes ensuring any attorney on your shortlist of candidates is a great communicator both inside and outside a courtroom. You want to hire a litigator who responds to your emails, phone calls, and text messages in a timely manner. One of the reasons for the anxiety produced during a civil lawsuit is not knowing what is going on. Your lawyer must respond to your questions and concerns quickly to keep you in the information loop.
Your attorney also should be a great listener. The lawyer that you choose to litigate a nursing home abuse case should have your interests in mind when making every legal decision. This includes your decision in regard to accepting a settlement and which witnesses to call to the stand.
Charges Legal Fees on a Contingency Fee Basis
Most personal injury attorneys do not charge upfront legal fees. Instead, they operate on a contingency fee basis, which means they get paid when their clients get paid. You want to avoid a personal injury lawyer who charges by the hour and/or requests upfront legal fees. Personal injury attorneys are much more motivated to work hard for their clients if they receive part of the award for monetary damages.
Network with Friends and Family Members
Word of mouth advertising remains an effective strategy for finding the best nursing home abuse attorneys. Friends and family members offer a good starting point, but you should also reach out to neighbors and your professional peers. Network with attorneys that you know, even if they do not practice personal injury law. They might know an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in handling nursing home abuse cases.
Contact Morgan & Morgan for the Best Legal Representation
The free case evaluation offered by a personal injury lawyer in Pittsburgh provides you with the opportunity to learn more about an attorney’s professional background. The session should take about an hour, with a part of it devoted to the attorney answering your questions. You do not have to decide on the spot whether you want to hire a lawyer, but the session should give you enough insight into making the right decision.
Learn more about how to find the best nursing home lawyers in Pittsburgh, Pa by scheduling a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney from Morgan & Morgan.