Discovering that your parents or loved ones have suffered abuse or neglect while in the care of a nursing home can be devastating news. Most people put a lot of trust in medical care providers. They expect that their loved one will receive the best possible care. At the very least, they do not think that their rights will be violated, that they will be mistreated, or left without dignity. If this happened to your loved one, then he or she may be entitled to compensation.
What if your loved one does not want to file the suit or what if he or she lacks the competency or ability to do so on his or her own? You may have legal recourse of your own.
Become the Next Friend
In civil lawsuits, the next friend is someone who files a lawsuit on behalf of another person. To do this, you do not have to be the legal guardian. Normally, a next friend is someone related to the plaintiff. You have to share the same interests as the individual that you are filing the lawsuit for. Now, in most cases, you can only do this if your loved one is incapacitated or incompetent. If he or she is in a nursing home but has a sound mind and simply does not want to pursue the case, then you may be unable to file the lawsuit. If he or she wants to, you can work with your loved one to file the claim.
Gather the Evidence
To file a lawsuit, you need to have evidence. If you have your loved one’s Power of Attorney, then you should have access to his or her medical records. You can contact the hospital or allow your attorney to do that for you. He or she will be able to help you obtain copies of the medical records. If you do not have Power of Attorney, then you will need your loved one’s permission to access and gather medical records for the case.
Your loved one should never have had to suffer elder abuse at the hands of trusted caregivers or a nursing home facility. To figure out if you have a strong case or what it could be worth, set up a consultation with a lawyer who specializes in nursing home cases and will be able to give you the best possible advice.