It is important to research nursing homes before sending a loved one to live in a facility. This three part series will help you learn more about nursing homes in Pennsylvania. In Part I, we showed you how to find Pennsylvania nursing home inspection reports. Here, we will discuss how to find Pennsylvania Nursing Home Lawsuits.
Finding Pennsylvania Nursing Homes Lawsuits Online
First, we need to determine what county the facility is located in. In Part I, we showed how to find all nursing homes in each county in Pennsylvania by using this link. Once you have chosen the correct county, you can find the official name of the facility. From there, you have to google the “[insert county] clerk of courts”. For example, I will use Philadelphia County.
Googling “Philadelphia County Clerk of Courts” leads you to this page, which shows the Clerk of Courts homepage. Next, you will need to find a way to review “civil cases”, as Pennsylvania nursing home lawsuits are generally civil cases. Under the “How Do I Get Case Information” tab, you can click a hotlink for “civil”, which will lead you to this page. From here, click the “web application” hotlink which will lead you to a disclaimer; after agreeing this disclaimer, you will have arrived at the “First Judicial District, Pennsylvania Trial Division – Civil Page“.
Once on the Civil Page, use the first few words of the company name to search for cases against the relevant facility. Using “Bala Nursing Home and Retirement Center” as an example, you will note that many of the lawsuits are against company’s with slightly different names. That is why it is important to only use the first few words of a company name – in this instance “Bala Nursing”.
What Can You Learn from a Pennsylvania Nursing Home Lawsuits Online?
First, make sure when you have arrived on the page containing the lawsuits, you only look at cases where the party name is “DFT”. This means that the facility is being sued, and is likely for some neglect or abuse of a resident. For an example in this post, I will use “Griffin v Bala Nursing Home” from 23-Feb-2007.
At the top of the page, you can already find key information. The top contains names of the parties, the date the case was filed, what the case type is (here “malpractice”), and the status of the case (here, the case was settled and discontinued).
What you will notice, though, is that most of the actual documents are not available for free to the public. Instead, copies cost money or can only be accessed by an attorney. That is why it is incredibly important to hire a Pennsylvania Nursing Home Attorney who has access to such information and a history of litigating against nursing homes across the state.
While you might not be able to access certain individual court documents, you can now find out if a nursing facility has been sued, how recently, how often, and for what alleged reason.
More questions on a potential nursing home abuse case involving a Pennsylvania facility? Call our PA nursing home negligence attorney today for a free case consultation.
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