Skilled Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Serving in Oakland, CA
You should be able to trust nursing homes and their staff members take care of your loved one. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not uncommon in and around the Oakland area. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we are standing by to help when you need an Oakland nursing home abuse attorney by your side. If you suspect that your loved one has been abused, we will not hesitate to investigate your claim. Our goal is to obtain justice, compensation, and closure for your loved one and your family in these cases.
Choose Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for Help With Your Nursing Home Abuse Case
If your loved one has faced abuse in a nursing home, turn to a team with trusted experience handling these cases. Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger is standing by to help.
- We have more than six decades of legal experience already to bring to your side for an Oakland nursing home abuse case.
- We have more million-dollar verdicts in settlements than any other firm in the Bay Area.
- We take Oakland nursing home abuse cases on a contingency fee basis, which means our clients and their families will not worry about legal fees until after we obtain the compensation they deserve.
What Will an Attorney Do for Your Nursing Home Abuse Case?
You should never try to tackle a nursing home abuse case on your own. These lawsuits can become very complicated, but an Oakland personal injury attorney will have the resources necessary to:
- Work with law enforcement officials and state regulatory agencies to obtain any evidence necessary to prove liability.
- Enlist the assistance of trusted medical professionals to evaluate the abuse victim and determine the cause of their injury or illness.
- Handle all negotiations with other parties involved in an effort to reach a fair out-of-court settlement while also preparing to take the case to trial if necessary.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Oakland
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our Oakland nursing home abuse lawyers understand that this type of abuse occurs in various ways. We regularly help families of victims who have sustained the following:
- Various types of physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Willful neglect of necessities
- Passive neglect of necessities
- Emotional and psychological abuse
Did you know that the National Council on Aging estimates that as many as five million elderly Americans are abused each year? Nearly one out of every ten people over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, and this abuse often occurs in nursing homes.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse
There are various signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse that loved ones need to be aware of. The most common of these include the following:
- Any unexplained cuts, bruises, broken bones, skin tears, etc.
- Any bruising around the genital, buttocks, or breast area
- Recurrent or unexplained infections
- Bedsores that are not being treated
Family members should also be on the lookout for behavioral changes in their loved one. This can include:
- Newfound depression or anxiety
- Fearfulness around certain staff members
- Unwillingness to eat or drink
- Rapid or unexplained mood swings
How Long Do I Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Oakland?
It is crucial for nursing home victims or their family members to understand that they have a limited amount of time to file these claims in civil court. In California, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that victims of abuse that result in an injury have two years from the injury date to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Failing to file a lawsuit within this timeframe will likely result in the abuse survivor being unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
If the abuse does not involve an injury, there are other timeframes that may be in place that a skilled Oakland nursing home abuse lawyer can help you work through. It is crucial to involve an attorney as soon as possible to make sure that you meet all of the deadlines associated with these claims.
What Should I Take to a Meeting with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
When you are meeting with a prospective nursing home abuse lawyer who may be able to help with your case, you should bring anything that you think could be helpful when helping the lawyer make a determination about your claim. Your initial meeting with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Oakland will ultimately determine whether or not the attorney feels like they will be able to help you. In a sense, you need to give the attorney a reason to take your claim.
As harsh as it sounds, lawyers are business professionals. Yes, nursing home abuse attorneys do have compassion for those that they help, but they also need to see enough evidence to show them that there is a possibility that a strong legal claim exists.
You need to bring any documentation that you have that has led you to believe that abuse has occurred. This could include detailed notes or observations that you have taken over time about the treatment of your loved one. This can also include photographic evidence that you may have, as well as any type of medical records that you have been able to obtain from the nursing home facility.
Additionally, you also need to be able to articulate how the evidence lines up to show that abuse has occurred. Simply dumping all of the evidence that you have on the table may result in the attorney missing something that you think shows that abuse has happened.
How is Liability Determined?
Determining liability in the aftermath of an alleged nursing home abuse case can be challenging. First, it may be nearly impossible for victims of nursing home abuse and their family members to determine liability on their own. When these cases arise, it is not uncommon for the nursing homes involved to obtain legal teams of their own who will help them avoid having to turn over information that could place the blame on themselves.
An Oakland nursing home abuse attorney will be able to use their resources to gather all of the evidence needed to prove liability. Determining liability may include many steps, such as:
- Working directly with law enforcement officials if the abuse is an emergency situation and has to be dealth with quickly.
- Gathering evidence necessary to prove what happened. This will include speaking to any eyewitnesses or workers at the facility. This can also include obtaining video or photo surveillance that may be available.
- Ensuring the abuse survivor is evaluated by a trusted medical professional. Medical evaluations are necessary so that these professionals can determine what happened and testify as to how the abuse affected the survivor.
- Obtaining records related to the nursing home and the employee. This can include proof of certifications, disciplinary histories, inspection records, state and federal records, etc.
How Do I Obtain My Loved One’s Medical Records?
Medical records are going to play a large role in a nursing home abuse case. Often, we find that nursing home abuse goes hand-in-hand with subpar medical care. This may be reflected in medical records. However, obtaining medical records from a nursing home can be challenging, particularly if there was abuse involved and the nursing home is worried about the abuse being uncovered.
The biggest obstacle to receiving medical records from nursing homes will be privacy statutes. Specifically, your family member’s records will be governed by HIPAA because they fall under the definition of medical records. This significantly impacts which individuals have access to these records. However, HIPAA doesn’t make it impossible to retrieve your loved one’s medical records. It just means that you have to follow specific procedures in order to do so. You have to be an authorized representative for your loved one in order to request these records in the first place. Typically, HIPAA will defer to state law when it comes to determining who is an authorized representative.
If you do comply with HIPAA and are able to legally obtain your loved one’s nursing home medical records, the nursing home will be required to release the records promptly. However, they can still put up roadblocks, particularly when it comes to charging a fee for printing the medical records and getting them to you. You need to be ready to pay this fee.
How Will An Attorney Collect Evidence for My Nursing Home Abuse Case?
As we mentioned above, evidence is going to be the most important part of determining liability for a nursing home abuse case in Oakland. We also discussed the importance of having an attorney handling this process for you. There will be various ways that an attorney will go about gathering evidence for these cases.
First, an attorney will ask for all of the evidence necessary through a formal letter to the parties involved. In some cases, these parties may indeed turn over evidence that could be used in the case, but that is not always how this will work. For example, if an attorney asks a nursing home for access to their video surveillance footage, it is very unlikely that the nursing home will comply. It is not uncommon for an attorney to have to go through the court system to get subpoenas for the evidence needed to prove liability for an abuse case.
If an attorney needs to get statements from witnesses who either saw the abuse or from those who were party to the abuse, it may be necessary to go through the deposition process. Depositions occur when attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant have a chance to ask witnesses and other parties who have pertinent information various questions. Depositions do not take place in a courtroom, but they are given under oath, and anything said during a deposition can be used in court.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
There may be various types of compensation available to survivors of nursing home abuse in Oakland as well as their family members. In general, our attorneys work diligently to recover both economic and non-economic compensation for these claims.
- Economic compensation. This is also referred to as special damages and revolves around the types of compensation available for a nursing home abuse case that are relatively calculable. This means that we can gather up bills and receipts to properly reach a total for the following:
- Medical bills associated with the abuse
- Cost of relocation to a new facility
- Ambulance transportation costs
- Loss of money or assets (financial nursing home abuse)
- The cost of stay at the current nursing home facility
- Lost wages if a family member has to take time off work
- Non-economic compensation. This is also referred to as general damages, and this revolves around losses that are harder to calculate in a nursing home abuse case. We say that these are harder to calculate, more immeasurable, because there are no bills and receipts that can be added up to properly calculate a nursing home abuse victim’s:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Punitive damages. In rare instances, it may be the case that punitive damages are awarded. These damages are typically reserved for situations where the defendant displayed a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are designed as a punishment to the at-fault party and act as a deterrent to others.
The total amount of compensation available to nursing home abuse victims and their family members will vary depending on the facts related to each particular abuse case. It is crucial to work with an attorney who can enlist the assistance of medical and economic experts to help properly value these claims.
Oakland Nursing Home Abuse Resources & FAQs
- What Will an Attorney Do for Your Nursing Home Abuse Case?
- Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Oakland
- Common Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse
- How Long Do I Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Oakland?
- What Should I Take to a Meeting with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
- How is Liability Determined?
- How Do I Obtain My Loved One’s Medical Records?
- How Will An Attorney Collect Evidence for My Nursing Home Abuse Case?
- What Damages Can I Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
Call An Oakland Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for a Free Consultation Immediately
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered from some sort of abuse while residing in a nursing home in Oakland, contact Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for help with your case today. We pledge to use our resources to investigate your case and get to the bottom of what happened. Let us help secure the justice and compensation your loved one deserves. When you need an Oakland nursing home abuse lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling (415) 981-7210.