legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
What Should I Take to a Meeting with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
A. Anything that you feel can be helpful to a lawyer in their determination about whether they can help you.
Your initial meeting with the nursing home abuse lawyer will ultimately dictate whether they feel that they can help you. Recognize that you will be in the position of needing to persuade a lawyer to take on your case. This is because of the way that the nursing home abuse lawyer is paid. Essentially, if you do not have a viable claim that would entitle you to compensation, they will not get paid at all. Thus, any time that they ultimately spend on your case is time that they could have used on other cases that could help them earn their living.
Lawyers are business people just like any other profession and you will need to take enough to your initial meeting for them to know that they at least want to spend more time on your case. While you do not need to persuade your lawyer the same way that you need to convince a jury, they will need to know that there is a possibility that there is a strong legal claim or that they can work with you to further develop the claim.
Hopefully, you will have documented the basis behind your possible lawsuit against the nursing home. This would include detailed notes and observations that you have taken over time of the treatment of your loved one. If, in reading this, you realize that you do not have this documentation, start to compile a record. This will also help you present your case to the lawyer in a more compelling manner because they can help organize your presentation. If you are simply giving the lawyer an “information dump,” something may get lost in the transmission and you may not give the attorney the best possible explanation. However, having physical notes is something an attorney can look at to supplement your explanation. It is best if these notes are contemporaneous, but a journal after-the-fact may be helpful as well.
In addition, you should also bring any photographs that you have that can serve to back up any claims that you make. If your loved one does exhibit unexplained bruises, the first thing that you should do is document these with photographs from as many angles as possible. Unless you have proof of these injuries, you may not be to come back later and bring a lawsuit based on them. Note that you need to pay extra attention to the laws of your state should you decide to attempt to take hidden video of your loved one and what it happening to them at the nursing home. In the wake of an outpouring of media attention, some states are changing their laws to allow for hidden video at nursing homes, but this is not yet the law in every state. If you illegally take video at a nursing home, not only would it be inadmissible, but you may also get in trouble for it under the laws of your state. If video is permitted in your state and you have it available, you should obviously bring it to the initial meeting with the attorney.
One of the most important things to bring to your initial meeting with an attorney is figurative instead of physical. Critically, you should bring an open mind to the meeting. The attorney may have some things to say to you that do not exactly fit into your narrative or version of events. However, you should be flexible and prepared to listen. Even if you do not currently have a strong case for abuse against the nursing home, the attorney may give you some examples where your case falls short. Then, you can go back and work on your documentation in the hopes of being able to bring a stronger case.
Critically, make sure that you take the time to prepare for this meeting because, when meeting a lawyer, the axiom about not getting a second chance to make a first impression holds true. You want to be viewed as credible by a potential lawyer because they will need to be convinced that your case is a sound investment of their time.