Most nursing home abuse cases are unlikely to go to trial if the victim retains a skilled lawyer who can provide sufficient evidence of wrongdoing and demonstrate the case’s potential value. Instead, each party’s attorneys typically negotiate a settlement; however, when a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial. Learn more about nursing home abuse trials in Wesley Chapel by scheduling a consultation with one of the well-practiced elder neglect attorneys at Distasio Law Firm.
How Long Can Nursing Home Abuse Trials Take in Wesley Chapel?
The duration of a nursing home abuse trial in Wesley Chapel can vary significantly. It can last for a few days or as long as three to four weeks, depending on numerous factors such as the:
- Complexity of the case
- Experience-level of the attorneys involved
- Number of witnesses required to prove the wrongdoing
- Amount of evidence necessary to demonstrate the victim’s damages
Trials Involving Multiple Plaintiffs or Defendants
The case becomes more complex when there are multiple plaintiffs or defendants in a nursing home abuse trial. In cases with multiple plaintiffs, the resident’s family members may also be entitled to damages, which requires additional evidence and witnesses.
In cases with multiple defendants, a capable lawyer must prove that each defendant was negligent and the damages each caused. This often results in the need for many more expert witnesses to testify about each defendant’s actions and how they caused harm. As a result, the trial may be extended and become more difficult for the jury to understand. A seasoned attorney like Scott Distasio can simplify the information and present it in a way that makes sense to those without a medical background.
The process begins well before the actual trial. First, the medical records need to be organized in a way that is easy for the lawyers and jury to review. Next, the attorneys must coordinate the order for witnesses to testify and ensure everyone shows up on the day of trial. If a witness is absent, their deposition may be read or a video of their testimony may be played for the jury.
The prosecution will present their witnesses first, followed by a cross-examination from the defense. The defense then presents their own witnesses, followed by another round of cross-examination. Finally, both sides give closing arguments summarizing why they should win based on the evidence presented.
Jury Trials vs. Bench Trials
Nursing home abuse trials in Wesley Chapel are typically jury trials, as both sides must agree for a bench trial. Plaintiffs usually prefer a jury trial because juries tend to award more damages than a judge.
However, nursing homes often include arbitration agreements in the documents signed by residents and family members upon admission, which can prevent cases from going to a jury trial. These agreements are often hidden, and families may not know they have waived their right to a jury trial. Instead, the case goes in front of an arbitrator, who is usually an experienced lawyer, but may award substantially less damages than a jury. As a result, most nursing home abuse and neglect cases end up in front of an arbitrator.
Jury Selection Process
The process of selecting a jury is a critical part of a Wesley Chapel nursing home abuse case. The judge gathers a group of individuals from the community, typically around 30 to 50 people, and places them in a large room. The plaintiff’s lawyer starts by asking questions to determine the potential jurors’ biases and life experiences to ensure they can make a fair decision. The defense lawyer follows suit with their own questions. Both sides can strike people they believe are too biased to render a fair ruling, and after this process, each side can strike three additional people. The remaining six individuals become the jury.
Not everyone is forthcoming with their biases, and some people might not even know they have them, which is why it is crucial to have a skilled legal professional on your side who knows how to ask the right questions. By selecting jurors who are open to hearing the evidence and deciding impartially, the trial can proceed in a just and fair manner.
Our Wesley Chapel Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Have Experience Going to Trial
Distasio Law Firm has a strong commitment to helping victims of nursing home abuse and their families seek justice and hold facilities accountable for their wrongdoing. This dedication drives our lawyers to work hard to uncover all evidence and present it in a way that resonates with the jury. By focusing on the details, we often find important information that others may have overlooked, which can make a significant difference in the outcome of a nursing home abuse trial in Wesley Chapel.
Call today to speak with one of our dedicated attorneys about your case.