Nursing Home Abuse Trials in Virginia 

The duration of a nursing home case varies significantly case by case and jurisdiction by jurisdiction. Some of the factors that can affect a nursing home case and its duration are whether the evidence is being preserved, whether there is a timely filing, the amount of time the pre-litigation takes, and the length of the trial. Civil cases are lengthier and take longer to get on the docket. These cases are behind shorter cases and behind criminal cases on the docket in terms of priority. Longer civil cases can be scheduled a significant time out into the future.

The amount of time the trial takes varies significantly from case to case and depends on many factors including the numbers of witnesses, expert witnesses, and defendants, meaning corporate entities or individual defendants. Bench trials tend to be much quicker and more efficient than a jury trial. For more information, contact a qualified nursing home abuse attorney.

Multiple Plaintiffs and Defendants

Nursing home abuse trials in Virginia can become more complex as variables are added. A multiple defendant situation is a more complex trial because the defendants try to blame each other. Each party claims they are not liable because the other party is responsible. When there are many witnesses or many expert witnesses, the case is more complicated because there can be differing opinions and more evidence to evaluate. Whenever there are more witnesses, more defendants, or more experts and their opinions contradict one another, it creates a much longer trial scenario.

Process of Nursing Home Abuse Trial

A nursing home abuse trial is identical in most respects, to every type of civil trial in that the injured person bears the burden of proof. The party bearing the burden of proof presents their evidence first. In a trial, the plaintiff makes the first opening statement. The defendant responds with their opening statement. The parties each present their evidence. At the conclusion, the plaintiff presents their final closing statements. The defendant presents their closing statement and the plaintiff is given the chance to give rebuttal.

The different parties in a civil case still need to give the first and the last word, similar to the commonwealth and the state in a criminal case. The things that are different in a nursing home trial than in a normal civil trial are the need for expert witnesses, certain types of evidence, the plaintiff not testifying, and guardians or conservators being involved.

Important Elements

The litigator looks for pitfalls within the nursing home trial process. They are well aware of potential contradictions with expert witnesses. In nursing home abuse cases, expert witnesses establish the standard of care for the given procedure or duty that was performed. For example, in a bed sore case, the appearing expert may testify about the tested standard number of changes of clothing, or changes of body positions required by the medical guidelines and, based on the injury, why that was not followed.

The defense may have an expert who does not concur with that opinion. The case may come down to a battle of experts so it is important that the judge and/or jury members understand the expert, their professional history, their likely opinion, and things of that nature.

Jury Trials vs. Bench Trials

In Virginia, the plaintiff in a civil case can request a bench trial or a jury trial and the defendant can request a bench trial or a jury trial. In a criminal case, the parties may want a bench trial for efficiency purposes and when the issues are more complex. In a jury trial, the jury decides what the facts are and the judge determines the issues of law.

Contacting an Attorney

Experienced attorneys present good cases and help good people who are wronged through no fault of their own. They are proud of their court demeanor, level of preparation and sensitivity to an individual’s needs, and ability to communicate messages effectively. There is a time and a place for a litigator to be aggressive and to be strong. A lawyer makes sure that their actions do not reflect poorly on an individual or profession. A good litigator finds a balance and makes sure that they strongly represent a person within the boundaries of professional conduct.