How to File a Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home in Portland

Placing a loved one in a nursing home or care facility is a weighty decision, often made after exhaustive research and a recognition of the need for specialized care beyond what can be provided at home.

Families entrust the well-being of their elderly relatives to the caregivers, nurses, and administrators of these facilities, believing they will receive the attention and support they deserve.

However, this trust can be shattered by negligence or abuse. Negligence in nursing homes can manifest in various forms, from medication errors to inadequate monitoring leading to falls or dehydration. Worse yet, deliberate elder abuse—whether physical, emotional, financial, or sexual—inflicts unimaginable harm on vulnerable residents. [1]

Grounds for Filing a Lawsuit

When considering legal action against a nursing home, the initial step is to identify whether the situation involves neglect or abuse. If these labels apply to what you or your loved one has experienced, you may have a lawsuit. 

Grounds for Filing a Lawsuit

Identifying Neglect

Nursing home neglect often manifests as a failure to provide adequate care, resulting in harm or injury to residents. Here are some key indicators of neglect:

  • Failure to provide sufficient food and hydration
  • Inadequate assistance with personal hygiene
  • Ignoring medical needs or medication errors
  • Lack of attention to residents’ emotional well-being

Recognizing Abuse

Abuse involves intentional acts or omissions that cause harm or distress to nursing home residents. It can take various forms, including:

  • Physical abuse such as hitting, pushing, or restraining residents
  • Emotional abuse, including verbal threats, intimidation, or isolation
  • Financial abuse, such as theft or coercion for monetary gain
  • Sexual abuse, which involves any non-consensual sexual contact or behavior
Recognizing Abuse

Once the nature of the mistreatment is identified, the next step is to assess whether the situation warrants legal action. Instances that may necessitate legal intervention include:

  • Severe neglect that leads to significant harm or death
  • Documented abuse, supported by evidence
  • Medical malpractice or negligence resulting in injury
  • Violations of residents’ rights as outlined in nursing home regulations

By recognizing a situation that requires legal attention, families can take necessary steps to protect their loved ones and seek justice for any harm suffered in a nursing home.

Prepare for Legal Action

Once you’ve identified instances of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, the next important step is to prepare for potential legal action. This involves gathering evidence, seeking legal counsel, and understanding the legal process ahead.

Gathering Evidence

Building a strong case requires thorough documentation of the neglect or abuse. Collect the following types of evidence:

  • Medical Records: Document any injuries, illnesses, or signs of neglect noted in medical records.
  • Photographic Evidence: Take photos of any visible injuries, unsafe conditions, or neglectful practices observed in the nursing home.
  • Witness Statements: Obtain statements from witnesses who have observed neglect or abuse firsthand.
  • Incident Reports: Request copies of incident reports filed by the nursing home staff regarding any concerning incidents involving your loved one.
  • Documentation of Complaints: Keep records of any complaints you’ve made to the nursing home administration regarding neglect or abuse.
Gathering Evidence

Navigating a lawsuit against a nursing home requires legal expertise. Consider these steps when seeking legal representation:

  • Research Attorneys: Look for attorneys experienced in nursing home abuse cases. Consider their track record, client testimonials, and expertise in elder law.
  • Initial Consultation: Schedule consultations with potential attorneys to discuss your case. Ask about their approach, fees, and estimated timeline for the legal process.
  • Evaluate Options: Consider multiple attorneys before making a decision. Choose one who understands your concerns and has a proactive approach to advocating for your loved one.

Filing a lawsuit against a nursing home involves several stages. Familiarize yourself with the legal process to know what to expect:

  • Complaint Filing: Your attorney will draft and file a complaint against the nursing home, outlining the allegations of neglect or abuse.
  • Discovery Phase: Both parties exchange information and evidence relevant to the case. This may involve depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents.
  • Settlement Negotiations: Your attorney may engage in negotiations with the nursing home’s legal team to reach a settlement. Evaluate settlement offers carefully to ensure they adequately compensate your loved one for their suffering.
  • Trial Preparation: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial. Your attorney will prepare evidence, witnesses, and arguments to present in court.Trial: The trial involves presenting evidence, witness testimony, and legal arguments to a judge or jury. Be prepared for the possibility of a lengthy legal process.
  • Post-Trial Proceedings: Depending on the outcome of the trial, there may be further proceedings, such as appeals or enforcement of the court’s judgment.
The Legal Process

Statute of Limitations in Portland, Oregon

In Portland, most nursing home lawsuits are subject to a two-year Statute of Limitations. However, if your loved one passes away before the claim concludes, certain circumstances may extend this period by an additional year.

If your loved one passes away due to nursing home negligence or abuse, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim, typically within a three-year Statute of Limitations in Portland.

While these limitation periods provide general guidelines, it is wise to consult with an experienced attorney regarding the specifics of your case.

Factors unique to your situation may impact the Statute of Limitations, potentially shortening or extending the timeframe. A nursing home abuse lawyer can offer tailored guidance based on the details of your case, ensuring you understand and meet any applicable deadlines.

Seeking Justice for Nursing Home Abuse?

Contact Goldberg & Loren’s nursing home abuse lawyers in Portland for expert legal representation and a free consultation.


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