The elderly and the sick are the most vulnerable members of the population, and they deserve special protection from abuse and neglect. Family members can file claims to recover economic damages for their loved ones’ losses and injuries, but the process is complex. If someone you love has been abused or hurt in an assisted living facility or nursing home, the steps to file a claim are listed below.

Hire an Experienced Local Attorney

While hiring an attorney is not required, it’s wise to take this step. In nursing home abuse claims, attorneys use their knowledge and experience to help families through the process and give them the best chance of recovering the damages they deserve.

Report the Neglect or Abuse

Though filing a lawsuit is an important step, it’s equally vital for families to file complaints with the state’s long-term care ombudsman and the Licensing Division of the California Department of Public Health. These complaints may be made verbally or in writing, and filing will help to ensure other residents are safe from neglect and abuse.

Gather Evidence

Like other injury claims, those involving abuse and neglect in nursing homes require evidence. Before filing a claim, families should gather evidence such as:

  • Pictures of the victim’s injuries
  • Medical records
  • Written accounts of what the person has seen, experienced and heard
  • Documentation from the assisted living facility or nursing home

The stronger the evidence, the more likely it is that a family’s claim will succeed.

Investigate the Neglect or Abuse

Nursing home neglect and abuse investigations require help from an experienced lawyer. During these investigations, an attorney will:

  • Read the contract between the victim or their family and the care facility
  • Interview any witnesses
  • Visit the nursing home or care facility and document its conditions
  • Interview treating physicians
  • Hire medical witnesses who can review the victim’s injuries and their treatment records

Every case is different, which means they are not all handled in the same way. After reviewing your family’s case, an attorney will know which steps to take.

Start the Proceedings

After finishing their investigation and gathering evidence, an attorney will start legal proceedings by filing a formal complaint with the appropriate state court. These claims include information relevant to the case, such as the names of the parties involved, the case’s facts, any pertinent legal issues, and the level of damages the family is seeking.

After a complaint is filed, the care facility will receive a copy and have a chance to offer a response. Both sides will then enter the discovery process before the case goes to trial. However, most abuse and neglect claims are settled before they go to court.


Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities to include arbitration clauses in their admittance documents. With arbitration, a victim and their family waive their right to sue. Rather, they are required to meet with third-party arbitrators who will make a binding decision on the case. In most cases, arbitration is more beneficial for the facility than it is for victims and families.

Call a California Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today

Filing a claim against a nursing home and its insurance company isn’t easy. When a family member has been abused or neglected and it’s time to file a lawsuit, our firm’s Glendale nursing home abuse attorneys can help. Call today or contact us online to request a no-obligation consultation.