You can find an St Louis elder care attorney near you by researching law firms’ websites, reading reviews about firms and attorneys, asking friends and family about law firms they have used, and acting on local advertisements (such as billboards, buses, and bench advertisements).
Identifying potential law firms is the first step in finding the right ones. Once you narrow your list of potential firms, you can complete free consultations to learn more about each firm.
The Benefits of Finding an Elder Care Attorney Through Different Means
There are many ways to find a law firm, and each mode of discovery has different benefits. Consider the benefits of:
When you search for your lawyer online, you have the benefit of:
- Reading both positive and negative reviews from a law firm’s former clients
- Seeing the law firm’s case results (which are often available on firms’ websites)
- Researching the firm’s culture (which they may communicate through their site)
- Seeing that the law firm handles elder care cases as a practice area
- Finding out about a wide range of law firms serving your area
While websites and online reviews are not the only research you should do, you can use them to start evaluating elder care attorneys.
When you see a law firm in a local advertisement, you know the firm serves your geographic area. After seeing a local ad, you can conduct further research on the firm online. You can also call the firm for a free consultation.
Recommendations from Friends, Family, or Colleagues
Word of mouth is a time-tested manner of finding attorneys. It helps when a referral comes from a trusted friend, family member, or trusted colleague.
When you receive a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone, you can:
- Ask about the specific details of their experience with an elder care attorney (and the attorney’s firm)
- Ask about the positive aspects of the firm’s representation
- Ask about any negative experiences they had with the law firm (as you should seek the entire truth about a firm)
- Ask what financial results the law firm secured for your acquaintance
You should weigh all information available—good, bad, and otherwise.
A Free Consultation Is a Prime Opportunity to Vet a Law Firm
You can use recommendations and online research to whittle down a list of potential elder care lawyers. Once you have selected a list of law firms you are considering hiring, take advantage of the free consultation process.
A free consultation is a no-cost discussion with a law firm’s representative, usually conducted over the phone.
A consultation is your time to:
- Have a personal interaction with the law firm’s representative, evaluating how accommodating and service-minded the firm may be
- Ask the law firm about its prior experience handling cases like yours
- Ask the law firm why it is qualified to lead your case
- Ask any other questions you believe are relevant
- Hear the firm’s pitch for representing you
Rely on all available information and impressions to choose the firm you are most comfortable with.
Know What to Seek in an Elder Care Attorney
Your elder care lawyer will have a lofty responsibility. Considering that elder mistreatment can have a profound, lifelong effect on the victim, your lawyer may need to recover a large settlement or verdict. You should choose the firm most qualified to lead your case.
As you work to determine the right firm to lead your case, you may look for:
Generally Positive Reviews from Former Clients
You cannot overestimate the importance of former clients’ experiences. A client sees beyond a firm’s sales pitch and first impression. A client knows, beyond a doubt, whether a law firm treats its clients right.
During the research phase, you should evaluate whether former clients feel positively or negatively towards each firm you are considering. If clients have largely positive words for a law firm, take note.
Case Results in Other Elder Mistreatment Cases
Experience is another important criterion when you are seeking an elder care lawyer. Winning experience is even more important.
A law firm may publish its case results, and you may pay specific attention to:
- The number of elder abuse cases the law firm has handled
- The size of any settlements and judgments the law firm has secured in elder mistreatment cases
- Any similarities between cases the law firm has completed and your own case
The more financial recoveries a law firm has secured for elder abuse and neglect victims, the more confident you may feel about hiring that firm.
A Commitment to Elder Care Cases by the Law Firm
There are degrees of legal experience. Some law firms have handled elder mistreatment cases, but only a handful of them. Other law firms frequently represent victims of elder abuse, amassing decades of experience that will be relevant to your case.
If a law firm lists elder abuse and neglect cases as a practice area, this may indicate its commitment to handling cases like yours.
Close Proximity to the City Where Your Elder Care Case Will Take Place
Though a law firm does not have to have an office in the exact city where your loved one suffered mistreatment, it generally helps when a law firm is close by.
Your attorney will likely need to:
- Investigate the details of elder mistreatment, which may require them to visit the location where the abuse took place
- Secure evidence related to the elder mistreatment case
- Have in-person meetings with you (and any elderly loved one who suffered mistreatment)
- Attend in-person settlement negotiations
- Attend court dates and other legal appearances
When a law firm has an office near you, it may be in a better position to fulfill these responsibilities.
Use your instincts and judgment when searching for a lawyer. If you weigh a firm’s objective qualifications (like case results) and trust your own experiences with the firm, you can make a well-informed choice of attorney.
Who Should Consider Hiring an Elder Care Lawyer?
When an elderly individual suffers neglect, abuse, financial exploitation, or other forms of mistreatment, that person deserves justice. An elder care lawyer will pursue the justice you or your loved one are entitled to.
You should consider hiring an attorney if you are:
- The victim of elder mistreatment: If you were personally victimized by elder mistreatment, you can hire an attorney to seek justice for your damages.
- The loved one of an incapacitated victim of elder mistreatment: If your loved one was mistreated but cannot secure representation for themselves, you may hire an elder care lawyer on their behalf.
- The loved one of a deceased victim of elder mistreatment: Tragically, some forms of elder mistreatment cause or contribute to a victim’s death. Those affected by the wrongful death (which may include you) can hire a lawyer to seek justice for their tragic loss.
If you or a loved one was harmed by elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, you have a right to hire a lawyer.
What Does an Elder Care Attorney Do for Their Client?
Elder care attorneys adjust their services to meet their clients’ needs. There are, however, several duties that most elder care lawyers perform for their clients, including:
Obtaining Evidence That Elder Mistreatment Happened
Your attorney will detail the mistreatment that has led you to pursue a lawsuit.
Such evidence may include:
- Admissions by liable parties that mistreatment occurred
- Photographs and medical images of injuries
- Medical records detailing injuries
- Mental health experts’ diagnoses of the victim’s pain and suffering
- Medical bills
Attorneys often rely on investigators to gather evidence urgently and comprehensively. The importance of the evidence-gathering process is a reason to hire a lawyer with ample investigative resources.
Establishing Liability for the Elder Mistreatment
Your attorney will identify those who are legally responsible for the mistreatment.
Potential defendants include:
- Owners of a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other establishment where mistreatment occurred
- Specific perpetrators of abuse or neglect
- Any other individuals who failed to prevent abuse, neglect, or exploitation
Liability varies on a case-by-case basis. Your lawyer will identify all liable parties and demand fair compensation from each.
Documenting the Client’s Damages
Your elder care lawyer will secure medical records, medical bills, mental health experts’ diagnoses, and all other documentation of a victim’s damages.
Calculating the Value of the Client’s Damages
Attorneys must determine the precise financial cost of their client’s damages. They will use this figure as the target for settlement negotiations.
Fighting for a Fair Settlement
Most civil cases end with a settlement, and your lawyer will handle securing a settlement for you.
Your lawyer may fight for a settlement by:
- Presenting evidence of elder mistreatment
- Explaining who is responsible for the victim’s damages
- Presenting the calculation of damages
- Presenting documentation of the client’s damages
- Making an oral argument in favor of their client’s financial recovery
Most elder care lawyers have extensive experience negotiating settlements. This experience may prove beneficial as your lawyer fights for your financial recovery.
Resolving Any Necessary Trial
Liable parties do not always volunteer to pay plaintiffs fairly. When an elder care lawyer cannot secure a fair settlement offer from liable parties, they may take a case to trial.
Trial requires presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, making oral arguments, and more. Your lawyer will handle the entirety of the trial process, requesting emphatically that a jury award you the compensation you deserve.
Protecting the Client’s Rights Throughout the Case
Your attorney’s first duty will be to protect your rights. At every turn of your case, your lawyer will place your interests first and ensure nobody compromises your case for compensation.
What Damages Does an Elder Care Attorney Seek Compensation For?
Elder mistreatment can have a devastating physical, psychological, and financial effect on the victim.
Recoverable damages can include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Treatment for pain and suffering
- Relocation expenses
- Any other economic and non-economic damages resulting from mistreatment of an elderly victim
Elder care lawyers will ensure that their settlement target reflects the full extent of your damages.
Hire Your Elder Care Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Elder care attorneys and victims of elder mistreatment face deadlines for filing their cases. It is up to you to research law firms and hire a capable lawyer as soon as possible for yourself or your loved one.
Once you hire a lawyer, you can focus on personal matters while they fight for your financial recovery and justice. Case evaluations are free, so never wait to learn about your legal options.