You have recently discovered that your loved has been victimized by nursing home abuse. You feel angry, shocked, confused, deceived. You entrusted an expensive facility to care for your family member because you no longer could, and now they are worse off than before. What should you do?
Nursing Home Abuse Attorney – Step 1
You must contact a nursing home abuse attorney. An attorney is going to review the facts of your case and tell you if there is enough there to file suit. If so, there are more steps you will have to take in order to present a valid case.
Nursing Home Abuse Records – Step 2
After calling an attorney, the next step is often to obtain the medical records. It is often best for the family to initially request the medical records without the help of an attorney. This ensures less of a chance the nursing home would remove documents from the chart, or even re-write them. In order to request a resident’s medical records, you need to have authority to do so. What gives you that authority?
Nursing homes have the right to require a HIPAA authorization in exchange for producing the medical records. This authorization can be signed by the individual. However, often times in a nursing home setting, the resident is unable to make these decisions, and has arranged for one or more family members to act as power of attorney. When properly written, a power of attorney would give members of the resident’s family the right to sign the HIPAA authorization and request the records for themselves.
In the event that the resident were to die, the power of attorney would now have no legal force or effect. What should you do now?
Nursing Home Abuse Short Certificate – Step 3
In New Jersey, once an individual dies, the family must make an application for a “short certificate” to continue to represent the estate. The short certificate is a document that is created and provided by each county’s Surrogate’s office. Luckily, the employees at the Surrogate’s office are some of the most helpful State employees you will ever come across. Usually in one or two days, the family can obtain the short certificate. Just as a power of attorney gives the family the authority to execute the HIPAA authorization and to obtain the client’s records when they are alive, the short certificate gives them that ability when their loved one is deceased. Below is a link to the contact information for all 21 New Jersey county Surrogates.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at the Mininno Law Office
Although this is a general road map as to how you would obtain records and to begin to investigate whether there is a claim for injuries against the nursing home, in the event that you feel you may have a viable lawsuit for injuries suffered by your family member, please do not hesitate to contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation.
You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Let the team at the Mininno Law Office earn you the compensation you deserve.