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How to Sue a Nursing Home for Elder Abuse in Arizona

Posted on December 20, 2022 in

Nursing homes have both a legal and an ethical obligation (“Fiduciary Duty”) to provide reasonable care for their residents. This higher standard of care (more than for ordinary negligence) means that they are responsible for the well-being and safety of some of the most vulnerable of our population according to strict care standards of the federal and Arizona government. When the staff at a nursing home facility fails to not only uphold their duty of reasonable care but violates it by abusing residents, the consequences can be felt for a long time or even be fatal. 

The attorneys at Jensen Phelan Law Firm have handled hundreds of abuse cases and understand how challenging these cases can be personally and legally. Our specialized injury attorneys can launch an in-depth investigation into the facility and help hold any staff member or administrator accountable for harming your loved one. Nothing is more important than protecting your loved one and making sure that the person responsible is brought to justice. 

How to Sue an Arizona Nursing Home for Elder Abuse

Suing a nursing home for elder abuse in Arizona involves several steps. Here is an overview of the process:

  • Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant evidence, including medical records, witness statements, and any other documentation related to the abuse. Take photos if any show the result of poor or negligent care. Get the names of witnesses without alerting the nursing home that you are collecting evidence if possible.
  • Report the Poor Nursing Home Care. Once you have any evidence or strong belief of poor nursing home care, report it to Arizona Adult Protective Services (APS), a division of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.   Complaints can be filed any time of the day or night to the Arizona Department of Health Services, or by calling (602) 364-2536 Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Go online to: https://des.az.gov/services/basic-needs/adult-protective-services/report-adult-abuse
    The Arizona Department of Health Services investigates reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults. APS may also become involved when there is a claim of self-neglect which is when an adult with physical or mental impairments is not able to meet their basic needs (such as  food, shelter, health care, managing money, etc.) which then impacts the adult’s physical health, mental health or general safety. This investigation will become public information after the investigation is completed.
  • Contact an Attorney: Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in elder abuse cases in Arizona. They can help you evaluate your case and determine the best course of action. The first thing a lawyer will likely investigate, after listening to all the information you have collected, is to review the APS public report if one has been done.
  • File a Complaint: File a complaint with the Arizona Department of Health Services if you have any proof of neglect, abuse or exploitation of a “vulnerable adult” at a nursing home. You can do this online or by mail. The department will investigate the complaint and take appropriate regulatory action (such as a warning, requiring specified improvements to be completed, scheduling another follow-up inspection, filing a report of violations, etc.).
  • File a Lawsuit: If the nursing home is found by APS to be responsible for the elder neglect, abuse, or exploitation, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Your attorney can help you file a lawsuit in civil court.
  • Discovery Phase: During the litigation discovery phase, both sides exchange information and evidence. This phase takes several months to complete in nursing home litigation.
  • Mediation or Trial: Your attorney will most likely try to settle the case through a largely informal mediation process in which the nursing home executive, its insurer and you with your lawyer will be involved. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial.
  • Verdict and Judgment: If you win the case, the court or jury will award damages. The nursing home may be required to pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages such as impairment plus out-of-pocket costs associated with the nursing home neglect, abuse and/or exploitation. Wrongful death damages are also available in the right circumstances.

The flow chart for an APS investigation of a nursing home from the APS website is linked here: https://des.az.gov/sites/default/files/dl/AAA-1356A.pdf?time=1691193702018

It is important to understand that each case is unique, and the specific steps may vary depending on the circumstances. It is crucial to work with an experienced nursing home negligence, abuse and/or exploitation attorney who can guide you through the process and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

How Can an Attorney Help With a Nursing Abuse Case?

An Arizona attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse cases can help in several ways, including:

  • Evaluate Your Case: An experienced attorney can evaluate the facts and merits of your case, can help you understand your legal options and the potential outcome.
  • Collect Evidence: Attorneys have the resources and expertise to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and review medical records to build a strong case. A lawsuit is most often necessary, especially in a large dollar case, which allows subpoenas to be issued from the Court for the investigation of case facts.
  • Navigate Legal Proceedings: An attorney can guide you through the legal process, including filing a complaint with the appropriate agencies, filing a lawsuit, using disclosure and discovery in litigation to learn more and by representing you in court.
  • Negotiate Settlements: Attorneys will negotiate with the nursing home or their insurance company to reach a fair settlement outside of court if that is available. 
  • Protect Your Rights: An attorney will protect your rights and make sure your voice is heard. Our lawyers will fight to hold the nursing home accountable for their actions.
  • Provide Emotional Support: An attorney who is knowledgeable about nursing home abuse cases can help you navigate the complex emotions that often come with this type of abuse and offer guidance on how to cope.
  • Represent You in Court and, If Necessary, At Trial. Our lawyers have a long history of success in Court in nursing home cases. That helps us to settle cases, as the insurance industry is familiar with our ability and has less desire to test us at trial.

An Arizona attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse cases can help you pursue justice and seek compensation for the harm you or your loved one has suffered. The lawyers at Jensen Phelan Law Firm have over 65 years of combined experience and will do everything we can to protect your rights.

Contact a Skilled Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today

Throughout the process of an elder abuse case, our Jensen Phelan Law Firm attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients by providing them with top-quality legal services and moral support, just like we have been since 1974. Our lawyers can help collect the necessary evidence that supports your claim and aggressively pursue the compensation you and your loved one are owed. 

We will make it the highest priority that you are not only able to receive fair compensation, but also that the responsible party is brought to justice. Contact Jensen Phelan Law Firm today for a free assessment of your case and an explanation of your rights by completing our online contact form or calling (928) 778-2660.