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Pre-Trial Process in Cherry Hill Nursing Home Abuse Cases

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The pre-trial process in Cherry Hill nursing home abuse cases includes the injured party, the plaintiffs, as well as any defendant. Before the case, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney can conduct discovery, and the first thing that is done in the discovery process is interrogatory questions, which are just written questions, request for documents, and then depositions are conducted, and depositions would be conducted of any person that has relevant facts to the case.

Whether that is the injured person, family members as well as the defendant – the nursing home, their representatives, nursing staff, the director of nursing, and the doctors involved – or anyone who may have relevant facts. Once all of that is done and discovery is over, then the case can get ready for trial.

Preparing for Trial

More times than not, it is the family members who are bringing the claim on behalf of the injured person, but the injured person is able to do it as well. It really depends on that person’s mental status, if there is anyone who has a power of attorney over them. Sometimes, unfortunately, they passed away and then the estate brings the claim. It depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.

The injured person or their family member is going to be involved in the pre-trial process in Cherry Hill nursing home abuse cases. If they have to answer interrogatory questions or they have to appear for depositions, it is going to be the nursing home lawyer who is going to be investigating what happened, making sure the right experts are hired to review the claim, and that the right depositions are taken off the responsible parties. Whether that is the director of nursing, the nurse on staff, the CNA, the doctor on staff, all of these things need to be done and that really needs to be done by an experienced nursing home attorney.

What a person should not do is a case by case analysis. An insurance company’s hope is that the fear of going to trial will make the injured party or their families take a settlement offer that is not fair in light of the situation so what they can do is listen to the attorney, not get nervous and hope that the attorney has done what they should have done in preparing this case for trial to get the best result.

Informational Evidence

The information and evidence that needs to be collected during the pre-trial process in Cherry Hill nursing home abuse cases. The pre-trial period is meant for anything that relates to the case as far as documents, whether it is medical records, medical bills, photographs, incident reports, and all of those things. The other thing that needs to be collected is expert reports. Those expert reports may be with regard to liability on how the nursing home and its staff deviated from the standard of care. There is also going to be reported in regards to damages, both economic and non-economic from experts. With regard to how bad the injuries are and what the economic losses are, all of those things need to be gathered prior to trial.

Length of a Pre-Trial Period

It is a case by case analysis. Sometimes, a short pre-trial period may be okay; if it is not a very complicated case, it is fairly straight forward. The person may be able to get all of the records and have an expert review them and take depositions in a short matter of time. Other cases, if it is a complicated case in both liability and damages, there may be an extensive list of expert witnesses that are needed. A longer period of pre-trial is needed to make sure that all of the proper depositions and reports are done.In the long pre-trial period, there would be an issue, if it was unnecessary.

If it was something that the defendant was doing to try to just keep extending this and extending this to avoid responsibility, then that could be an issue. If it is a case that is complex enough that a longer period of pre-trial discovery is needed then that would be okay, but it needs to be on a case by case basis on whether or not they are simply dragging this on to avoid responsibility or not.

What is Prima Facie?

A prima facie case for nursing home abuse would be whether or not they could prove that the defendant or nursing home deviated from the standard of care, and that deviation is what the proximate cause of the injured party’s injuries are.

Prima Facie Applied to a Nursing Home Abuse Claim

Prima facie applies to a nursing home abuse case if they are unable to prove that there was a deviation from the standard of care or if they were unable to prove that deviation from the standard of care resulted in injuries. Under those circumstances, there would not be a viable nursing home claim. They would not be able to hold anyone accountable for the injuries of the injured party.

Establishing a Prima Facie Case of Negligence

An affidavit of merit, required in the state of New Jersey, indicates that there was a deviation from the standard of care that resulted in the injured party’s injuries.

Without that signed affidavit of merit, the law in New Jersey says that the case can be dismissed with prejudice, which means the case would be dismissed forever, and the person would never be able to bring that claim forward. That is what is needed to establish a prima facie case. The person first needs that affidavit of merit, and without that, the case cannot go on.

Role of a Lawyer

The role of a nursing home abuse lawyer is making sure that all of the evidence is gathered for the pre-trial process in Cherry Hill nursing home abuse cases. Whether that is medical records, medical bills, photographs, or incident reports, they can make sure that the right experts were hired to review this claim. These experts can provide opinions with regard to how the nursing home and its staff deviated from the standard of care. The right depositions need to be taken of the right people, whether that is the director of nursing, the doctor on staff, court representatives, CNAs, whoever it may be, it is important to take the correct depositions and hammer down what happened, why it happened, and how it could have been prevented.

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