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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Elder Abuse Lawsuit

Elder Abuse Lawsuit Cost


How Much Does an Elder Abuse Lawsuit Cost?

 
average costMedium: Attorneys Usually Charge $100-$400+ per hourhigh costHigh: A Personal Injury Lawyer May Charge 25-40% of the Settlement
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In most states an elder is anyone age 65 or older, and abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial, or caused by neglect. Elder abuse cases can range from a senior citizen becoming ill or being injured because of poor care or outright neglect at a nursing home to an elderly couple losing their money to a greedy relative or being deceptively sold an annuity that won't pay out until they're more than 110 years old. Most civil lawsuits seeking money are filed against nursing homes or similar facilities, or companies selling deceptive or fraudulent financial services

Typical costs:

  • If the case is strong enough, generally an attorney will accept an injury or neglect case against a nursing home or other facility on a contingency basis, where the lawyer takes anywhere from 25-40 percent of the monies received in a settlement or court judgment, and there are no legal you don't receive any money. Typically the attorney's percentage is at the higher end of the scale if a case goes to trial or is appealed. An important factor is whether the individual or company being sued has the resources to pay any money awarded by the court.
  • Financial abuse (outright theft or deception/ fraud) cases might be charged on contingency (if enough money is involved to justify the time and money required to prepare a case), but because of the difficulty in prosecuting these (and because the alleged perpetrator can often use the victim's money to fight the lawsuit) they are more often charged an hourly rate of $100-$400 or more. Based on the estimated costs, the attorney will ask for a retainer -- money that will be placed in a trust account and used to pay the hourly rate as services are provided. If the money runs out, you will be billed for an additional payment. The amount of the retainer will vary considerably depending on the attorney, local standards and the complexity of the circumstances.
Related articles: Property Damage Lawsuit, Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

What should be included:
  • The specific laws governing elder abuse vary from state to state. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) provides a resource directory summarizing each state's laws and agencies dealing with elder abuse, as well as frequently asked questions about elder abuse.
  • Elder abuse is a relatively new field of law. The NCEA gives an overview of laws related to elder abuse and the Utah Bar Association posts a description of the changing role of the courts in elder abuse cases.
Additional costs:
  • Most attorneys will charge you out-of-pocket expenses for postage, copies, messenger services, court fees, disposition costs, long distance phone calls and other incidental items. A lawyer working on an hourly basis will usually bill for these costs as they occur; one working on contingency will usually pay these expenses and be reimbursed out of the settlement/judgment.
Shopping for an elder abuse lawsuit:
  • Ask about the attorney's specific training and experience with elder abuse law. Be sure you understand whether the case will be handled on a contingency or hourly basis, how frequently the attorney will bill (weekly or monthly) and what sort of out-of-pocket or incidental expenses you will be expected to pay.
  • Search for elder law attorneys at Lawyers.com[1] and FindLaw.com[2] .
  • Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement. Be sure you understand exactly how and when (before or after medical bills are reimbursed) the fees will be deducted from your settlement/judgment.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.lawyers.com/elder-law/find-law-firms-by-location/
  2.  lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practice/Elder-Law
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