Roger : Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist. Customer:
Thanks - what do you have to say
Roger : The biggest obstacle if you were to sue is being able to prove that (1) the rings were with your mother at the hospital and (2) that the hospital staff or a staff member, employee, etc. is responsible for losing the rings.
Roger : Any time property is lost in this type of situation, it is very difficult to hold someone responsible.
The paperwork that was filled out (although limited) says that she had the rings and that they were removed prior to a procedure in the OR (removed in the prep room) They apparently were in a bag with her dentures - they were brought to the room and the dentures were given to her and the bag was thrown away. The floor nurse admits to this
Roger : If the rings were insured, a claim should be filed with the insurance company as well. I understand that the money/worth of the rings is not what you're after as these rings have a significant amount of sentimental value, but that should be done as well.
I am assuming that the rings were under the household insurance but they was not a specific listing for her rings.
Roger : If you have a written admission that acknowledges that the rights were removed by hospital staff and that hospital staff threw the rings away, then that would certainly give her legal grounds to hold the hospital responsible.
Roger : If the hospital has admitted liability, but cannot find the rings, then she should demand that they pay her for the loss.
Roger : If the hospital refuses or offers a token amount, the only thing she could do is sue.
There is also no documentation on the rings and their worth - since purchase they have not left her finger except for the time she had the resized which was quite a long time ago - not sure how much replacement cost would be
Roger : You would likely need to get a local jeweler who appraised the rings to determine their worth to give you a replacement cost.
I only know basic information - they were yellow gold, engraved with initials, the diamond was .35 but don't know the clarity/etc. of the ring. For myself looking on line, I estmiated $1,000 for the rings and $800 for the diamond - but not sure how accurate that is.
Roger : Ok.
Roger : If the rings are insured, the insurance policy should have a value set by an appraisal.
Roger : Also, if you have a basic idea of the rings, you can probably get a reasonable estimate to replace the items.
So I guess I need to talk with a reputable jeweler(s) and get an estimate for replacement - if that what you are saying. When my parents did insurance there was a general category for misc. jewelry but not an appraisal for the rings at that time. My mother just keeps saying that she paid $12 for Dad's ring - I remind her that gold has greatly increased in value in 64 years.
Roger : Yes, that's probably the best you can do if you don't have any value-related information on the rings.
OK - so I need to get an estimate on replacement - if the hospital is cooperative and if they only offer a token - how do I go about finding an attorney for this situation?
Correction - if the hospital is UNcooperative
Roger : IF the hospital isn't willing to make things right and pay your mother the cost of replacement, then you can look up a local attorney at www.martindale.com.
Roger : You would need a general civil litigation attorney.
Do you think that that the hospital would be willing to make compensation for her emotional state about the rings?
Roger : Short of filing a lawsuit, probably no.
My mother has indicated that being 89 years old and with my dad gone, she doesn't know if she would want to fully replace the rings - She had planned to pass them down to me or a granddaughter - it would be her decision on what to do with the replacement money isn't that right
Roger : yes
To recap: Get an estimate on the replacement cost for the rings
Second: See what the hospital will do as compensation - if not right contact a lawyer and sue them for the cost. Anthing else?
Roger : That's pretty much it.
Roger : If you've got an admission from the hospital, you're way ahead of the game,
The admission was primarily verbal but it does indicate that the incident happened in the OR/prep room where no family was as they did not inform us that the procedure would be happening. The paper also indicates that the floor nurse Cathy searched garbage for the rings. Anyways - thank you for your help May be mom will be feeling better as she keeps saying the rings are gone and the doing hospital will be doing nothing. I know that hospitals are hard to get compensation from. THANKS again
Roger : Sure. Glad to help -- and GOOD LUCK.
Roger : If you need anything further, please let me know.