Over the last several years, the news has delivered a constant barrage of stories about California nursing home abuse and neglect. If you’re reading this, chances are you or a loved one also suffered a nursing home injury. While it’s impossible to fully compensate victims for a nursing home’s unconscionable and negligent behavior, you can take action to put an end to the abuse and restore some of your or your loved one’s losses.

You may wonder, How do I get started if I file a neglect or abuse lawsuit against a nursing home? And how long will a case take to settle once I do? Typically, a nursing home settlement can take between six and twenty-four months. But the settlement timeline depends on a number of factors.

The Process Of A Nursing Home Lawsuit

Common nursing home abuse and neglect scenarios that give rise to lawsuits in California are bed sores, falls, medical errors, physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, and inadequate care. Typically, once you decide to file a suit, the amount of time it takes to settle depends on how long it takes for your case to move through each stage of a civil suit process. We’ll touch briefly on each stage.

Case Evaluation

Before filing a lawsuit, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney will evaluate your case. At Silva Injury Law, a case evaluation typically includes a free initial consultation, where an attorney will interview you and collect information. This will be followed by an initial investigation and assessment of your claim. Based on the information your attorney collects, they will be able to determine which, if any, nursing home abuses rise to the level of negligence needed to go to trial.

Notice of Civil Suit

If Silva Injury decides your case meets the legal standards to file a civil suit, we will send a notice of claim to the defendant. A notice of claim is a statutorily-required letter notifying each defendant of the injury and your intent to file a lawsuit. The defendant will then respond to the lawsuit. If the defendant fails to respond, they may automatically lose the case. However, in most cases, the defendant responds with a denial of fault and an explanation.

Pre-Trial Investigation and Discovery

Your legal team will then pursue a thorough investigation during which your attorney will gather extensive evidence, including:

  • Medical records,
  • Documents,
  • Photographs,
  • Witness testimony, and
  • Expert testimony.

In addition, both parties’ attorneys often take depositions. A deposition is where parties question each other and any witnesses under oath.

This practice of gathering information is called “discovery.” Discovery allows plaintiffs and defendants to exchange information that may be used in the trial. This can be a time-consuming process and is often the part that takes the longest on the path to settlement.

Demand Letter

Most nursing home negligence and abuse cases settle before making it to court. At this stage, depending on your case, your lawyer may decide to begin settlement negotiations by sending the defendant a demand letter. A demand letter will outline your demands, including the damages you seek. It will also explain why you deserve compensation. Defense can then agree to your proposed settlement amount or make a counteroffer. If you don’t settle at this point, you may enter negotiations, agree to mediation, or continue to trial.


If you do not settle outright, both parties may agree to mediation. During mediation, a private mediator or a judge will work with you and the defendant to help you reach a settlement agreement.

Settlement Offer

If you reach a settlement agreement through a demand letter or mediation, the defendant’s attorney will make a settlement offer. If you accept the offer, your case is considered settled. If you do not, the defendant may counteroffer. If you do not accept the defendant’s counteroffer, your lawsuit will go to trial.

Silva Injury Law Can Help You Move On With Your Life

At Silva Injury Law, we believe our duty goes beyond achieving large monetary awards for our clients. We strive first to be decent human beings and provide all our clients with tireless advocacy and compassionate support. We do not charge any money upfront and offer free in-person or remote consultations. And if we accept your case, you don’t have to pay us a penny until you collect a settlement or verdict. Call us now at 209-580-3973 or contact us online to get started.
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