The length of time needed to prosecute a nursing home abuse trial in Tampa depends on the complexity of the case and on how many witnesses are involved in the conduct that encompasses the abuse. Generally, the trial can last anywhere between one and two weeks. Nursing home abuse trials can often be complex and contain sensitive material. As a result, it is important that an individual does not tackle this process alone, and enlists the help of an experienced Tampa nursing home abuse attorney from the very beginning.
A nursing home abuse claim is something that starts far before the time that someone actually goes to court. Instead, it starts with gathering documents and the discovery process, as well as the production of interrogatories and requests to produce documentation. It also encompasses depositions and statements made not only by the fact witnesses but also by the experts on both sides.
If a case does then proceed to trial the first step is the complex process of selecting a jury. It can take a long time to find the right jurors to sit in judgment of the case involving nursing home abuse. However, once this is done the case proceeds with opening remarks. The defense attorney sets forth what the client intends to prove during the trial. There is the plaintiff’s case-in-chief where the plaintiff, the individual bringing the action, must establish by a preponderance of evidence that they have the right to a claim and what that claim is. The plaintiff must also meet all the statutory elements of nursing home negligence.
Once that is done, the defense sometimes requests a motion for a summary judgment. They will ask the judge to dismiss the claim because the plaintiff did not set forth all of the appropriate facts. Presuming the plaintiff gets through that, the defense puts on their case-in-chief. That includes all of the evidence they have that proves that medical negligence did not happen. This is followed by the closing arguments, jury deliberations, and the jury’s conclusion.
Multiple Plaintiffs & Defendants
It is important to note that Tampa nursing home abuse trials do not necessarily involve just one plaintiff and one defendant. There are times when there are multiple plaintiffs who are similarly situated in their claims and they can be brought against a defendant. Usually, a person does not sue multiple defendants, multiple nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities in a single action.
Jury Selection Process
In the state of Florida, jury selection starts with the accumulation of people with a valid driver’s license, which is the requirement for jury service. Once that happens, a lawyer will coordinate with the judge to try to get an idea of how many jurors are needed to find a good pool. When there is the right number of jurors in the pool, the attorneys will go through the voir dire process.
Both parties have the right to question the jurors about their personal life, their biases, and their experiences. The purpose of that is to determine who can be a fair and impartial juror. From a plaintiff’s perspective, the attorney not only wants a fair and impartial juror, they want someone who can process and comprehend the evidence.
It is important that an attorney keeps in constant contact with their clients, and that they understand the process from start to finish. An attorney should not put a person or family through a jury trial without having them understand the emotional implications, so it is important that any individual involved bring up any concerns with their attorney.
Frequency of Jury Trials
Not all trials are jury trials. A person has the right in Florida to have the judge make a determination of the facts and the law. However, this is very rare. Normally, the defendants want a jury. They find they have a better chance with six people than they do with one.
Elements of Trial
Some important elements in a Tampa nursing home abuse trial that an attorney will review are making certain that the jury that is selected is a jury that understands the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of abuse. An experienced attorney is always vigilant to protect the record to make sure that the record for any appellate purposes is complete.
All of the specific objections and motions filed are preserved. That way, if the case does not come in someone’s favor, they have at least protected their ability to appeal it in the future.
Nursing Home Abuse Case Appeals
There are two types of appeals. There are the appeals that most people think of that come in the conclusion of a case because the verdict is either a verdict that is contrary to the law or the facts of the case. There is another type of appeal called an interlocutory appeal where an individual has a right to appeal a judge’s decision during the pendency of the case in some normally jurisdictional types of matters.
A person appeals a claim by following a notice of appeal in the appropriate appellant court and in providing a copy of the record un-appeal for the judges in that particular circuit to determine whether or not the lower court judge made a decision that is contrary to the facts of the case or the law.
Appellant law has its own set of rules and is very specific at its timing and the obligations of the lawyers to file things appropriately if a person misses a deadline he or she may be barred for a particular case. There is a judges panel involved in the average between 18 and 24 months. The benefits of having a local attorney is having another set of judges look at a particular decision to determine whether or not it was appropriate.