Reputable Personal Injury Attorneys Serving the People of the District of Columbia
Nursing home abuse is a distressing topic that can be difficult to even contemplate, much less talk about. Nevertheless, Washington, D.C. nursing home abuse is far more common than most people realize. If you suspect that your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse, you need to take three steps to help them.
(i) Talk to the nursing home about your concerns;
(ii) talk to a lawyer to help determine if there was abuse; and
(ii) gather evidence in preparation for filing a nursing home abuse claim.
Nobody Pushes Around Our Clients
We have been helping injured victims for more than 35 years now. In that time, we have learned all the tricks that greedy insurance companies and evasive defendants use to avoid liability, and we won’t let them get away with it. The one billion dollars in compensation we have recovered for our clients over the years stands as silent testimony to the effectiveness of our approach.
It is likely that your case will never go to trial – the great majority of our clients wind up with private settlements. The best way to negotiate a settlement, however, is to convince the defendant that you can win in court if you have to. The nursing home’s attitude toward settlement is likely to change dramatically once they realize that you have selected us to represent you.
We Charge No Upfront Fees
At Koonz McKenney Johnson DePaolis & Lightfoot LLP, we win the vast majority of our cases. Because of this, we don’t charge any upfront fees, and our legal fees are calculated as a percentage of your eventual recovery. We only win when you do too, and that’s the way it should be.
One of Our Clients Speaks Out
“To Mr. DePaolis:
I want to express my sincere gratitude for your professional and compassionate service you provided with the handling of my accident case. I was confident of a positive outcome after our initial meeting and I am glad that I was correct.
Your approach to the situation was impressive and you were reassuring to any potential doubts. Not only did you start the process proactively but you were passionate and honest. My case wasn’t that easy, but with your diligent work WE were able to get the results we wanted. Your special ways and generous heart make a beautiful difference.” – A.K.
Our Other Areas of Practice
Car Accidents: Car accident injuries are perhaps the most common form of personal injury claim. Although most car accident claims are paid out by insurance companies, very few unrepresented victims receive the full value of their claim. Many get stiffed altogether through the insurance company’s misapplication of D.C.’s contributory negligence rules.
Medical Malpractice: Even the American Medical Association admits that medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Medical malpractice cases can get scientifically complex, and pursuing a claim normally requires the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Worker’s Compensation: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports nearly three million workplace injuries a year, concentrated in certain dangerous occupations such as construction work. The worker’s compensation system is distinct from the ordinary personal injury civil compensation system, and it offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Construction Accidents: Most construction accident claims are resolved under the worker’s compensation system. Many claims – particularly claims for which evidence of negligence is strong, and pain and suffering damages are likely to be high – are best handled outside the worker’s compensation system.
Asbestos Disease/Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are tragic because (i) they so often result in terminal illness, and (ii) symptoms can be delayed for decades after exposure. Unfortunately, there are literally hundreds of asbestos exposure sites in the Washington, D.C. area. These types of claims are often complex, but winnable.
Product Liability: Product liability law is one of the most unique areas of personal injury law. If you were injured by a defective product – anything from an automobile airbag to a prescription drug – you might be able to win your claim without even establishing that the defendant was at fault.
Premises Liability: Owners and renters of real property, whether commercial or residential, are responsible for keeping their premises reasonably safe for anyone who has a right to be on the property, especially invited guests (customers at a supermarket, for example). When failure to meet this responsibility injures a guest or a licensee (such as a postal carrier), a premises liability claim arises.
Federal Tort Claims Act: Filing a personal injury claim against the U.S. government requires special procedures, since any compensation must be taken out of taxpayer money. The Federal Tort Claims Act governs which types of claims may be pursued and what procedures are necessary. If you don’t get your timing and your paperwork right, you might end up sacrificing your claim.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a personal injury claim extinguished if the victim dies of his injuries?
No. Once the victim dies, a claim arises under the District of Columbia wrongful death statute. The lawsuit must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate on behalf of certain close relatives. The personal representative is either named in the deceased victim’s will or appointed by a court. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be substantial and may be shared among relatives.
How long do I have a file a lawsuit?
The District of Columbia applies a statute of limitations that sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit. Although it may seem straightforward, calculating the actual deadline can be tricky in certain circumstances. If you have concerns, talk to your lawyer about the matter.
Are punitive damages available for nursing home abuse claims in D.C. courts?
Yes they are, although most claimants don’t receive them.
- The defendant’s conduct must have involved ill will, fraud, recklessness, or willful disregard for your loved one’s well-being.
- You must prove your case by “clear and convincing evidence” (a higher standard of proof than the standard normally used in civil trials).
- Punitive damages are awarded in addition to ordinary damages.
What is “negligence per se” and why does it matter?
The negligence per se principle allows you to establish negligence by proving that the defendant violated a safety law or regulation. This is important for nursing home abuse claims, because nursing homes are highly regulated. Once you prove negligence, you still have to prove that the negligence caused the injury.
Can I sue the nursing home even if my loved one has no written contract with them?
Possibly. Most nursing home cases are not based on contract law. Whether you can pursue a claim depends on whether there was a patient-physician relationship and whether the nursing home engaged in some wrongful conduct.
What are the most common legal theories used to combat nursing home abuse or neglect?
The most common legal theories used to file lawsuits against nursing homes include:
- Negligent supervision and care (resulting in bedsores, for example),
- Negligent hiring of staff,
- Negligent maintenance of facilities and equipment, and
- Assault and battery (by staff, or by other patients due to inadequate security).
Where do I file a complaint of nursing home abuse?
If the nursing home receives Medicaid funds, you can call 202-727-2540 (Office of the Inspector General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit). You can also call the Adult Protective Services hotline (24/7) at 202-541-3950 ( 888-832-3858 in Virginia and 1-800-332-6347 in Maryland), regardless of whether the nursing home receives Medicaid/Medicare funds. Filing this type of complaint will not result in compensation, but can help stop the abuse.
What are my options if I suspect abuse?
You have three main legal options. You can choose one, two, or all three of them if circumstances warrant.
- File an administrative complaint
- File a civil lawsuit (or threaten to file one and and open settlement negotiations with the nursing home)
- File a complaint with the local prosecutor (if you suspect criminal misconduct)
Do You Know the Value of Your Claim? Call the Trusted D.C. Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
The value of your nursing home abuse claim is not limited to reimbursement for remedial medical expenses. Compensation for pain and suffering, for example, can far exceed compensation for medical expenses, although it is important to keep in mind that since “pain and suffering” is a subjective concept, recoveries vary widely. Your claim might be eligible for other types of damages as well.
The D.C. civil compensation system, with its complex rules f procedure and evidence, can look like a maze to the uninitiated. A skilled D.C. nursing home abuse lawyer can help you gather evidence of your claim that is admissible in court. If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing abuse at a Washington, D.C. facility, call us at (202) 794-5416, or simply contact us online for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.