How Can A California Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help You?

California elder abuse resulting from nursing homes, assisted living facilities or home health care situations are difficult not only for the victims of the abuse, but also for their families and friends who might discover the abuse. These situations may or may not be able to be resolved directly with facility. So, how can a California nursing home abuse attorney help you?

J. Niley Dorit

J. Niley Dorit, a California elder law lawyer offered the following advice in a recent interview, “I would say that someone should contact an attorney if there’s a preventable injury, disease, or aggravation of a condition that occurs as a result of neglect in a custodial type setting. Having an attorney involved can not only assist in getting a recovery for the neglected victim, but can also help to enforce minimum standards for residential care and skilled nursing facilities.”

Questions to Ask a California Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Hiring an attorney isn’t difficult. However, hiring the right attorney requires a bit of savvy. Dorit explained:

A prospective client should ask the attorney about his or her legal background, whether the attorney has handled nursing home abuse cases and what other types of cases he or she handles to make sure that the attorney has an emphasis or a concentration on this or similar types of cases. It’s always helpful to ask for referrals from coworkers or friends or family as well.
However, ultimately the client has to get a sense from speaking with the attorney that he or she seems to be competent, reasonable and will be responsive to the client’s needs and answer their questions. The attorney should explain the process and what to expect without the client ever having to ask for that kind of an explanation.

Avoid General Practitioners

Hiring a general practitioner may be fine for non-specialized matters. However, specialized matters – such as elder and dependent care abuse – often require more. Dorit told us, “California literally has thousands of regulations that govern elder neglect cases, so it’s really important that a client recognize that it’s a highly specialized area. Simply because an attorney handles personal injury cases would not qualify them to handle elder or dependent neglect cases. It’s its own area of specialization and I think that people who are victims of this kind of neglect deserve to have an attorney who has this specialization and experience in that sub-area of the law.”

Find Out About Compensation

You wouldn’t hire a home contractor without asking what he or she charges. The same holds true for attorneys. We asked Dorit how California nursing home abuse attorneys are compensated. He explained, “They are commonly compensated through a contingent fee contract. So, if the attorney takes the case, the client would then be obligated to pay a percentage of the recovery, plus the reasonable costs of litigation. That would be the usual arrangement in a personal injury case as well. If a case doesn’t proceed, or is pursued but lost, there is no obligation on the part of the client to pay the attorney. Most of our clients cannot afford to pay the hourly rates that attorneys charge. We’re able to handle cases without any out-of-pocket expense to the client.”