Article Updated: September 10, 2021
Nursing Home Lawsuit
If you are reading this, a bad nursing home probably hurt someone you know.
You need answers, and you need justice. The path to those goals is often a lawsuit against the nursing home.
Below I will teach you the process of a nursing home lawsuit, and involved timelines.
If you have questions after reading this article, call or email me for help.
Clickable Table of Contents
Nursing Home Lawsuit
Types of Nursing Home Lawsuits
12 – About the Author
NURSING HOME LAWSUIT
Claim Preparation Before A Nursing Home Lawsuit
Regardless of what state you are in, before you can bring a lawsuit against a nursing home, you have to get certain ducks in a row.
The first of these is putting yourself in legal position to pursue a lawsuit. That means you must have one of these things:
◊ Power of Attorney
◊ Letters of Administration
Another way of saying this is – you cannot file a nursing home lawsuit unless you have legal capacity to bring a claim on behalf of the injured nursing home resident.
I have gone through this process for well over a hundred nursing home clients and cases. From that personal experience, I know this step alone can cost up to $3,000.
The most expensive category is guardianship. If the injured nursing home resident is alive, but mentally not capable of making decisions, you will need a guardianship.
Talk to a lawyer about getting this done. In many cases, I agree to cover this cost as a case expense for my clients.
Nursing Home Lawsuit Merit Investigations
What type of expert you will need before filing your lawsuit will vary depending on the specific claim (e.g., bed sore versus stroke injury).
It will also vary based on your state, as each state has it’s own, specific, medical malpractice lawsuit expert requirements.
For example, Maryland medical malpractice cases against a nursing home have an expert rule regarding how much of the expert’s professional activities involves testimony in personal injury cases.
The nursing home experts will prepare reports and affidavits that will be used to substantiate that you have a viable negligence claim and that the nursing home breached the standard of care.
Those documents, coupled with a formal lawsuit complaint, is prepared for filing in court. At its core, that is all you need.
Nursing Home Lawsuit Advanced Investigations
However, it’s a good idea to conduct advanced investigation into the nursing home to unearth additional support for your claims of negligence and nursing abuse.
Doing that after you file the lawsuit is a bad idea because at that point, you are dealing with litigation and court scheduling deadlines.
The most well known source (but certainly not the most powerful source) of advanced nursing home investigation is Medicare’s nursing home page. That page provides good intel for nursing home lawsuit investigations.
There are over a dozen such sources that should be investigated in every case before filing a lawsuit against a nursing home.
For nursing home abuse lawyers in the know, access to these specific resources help us collect evidence which tilts the scales in favor of injured nursing home abuse victims, like you.
That evidence can compel a nursing home to make a fair offer to resolve its exposure without the need for trial, which inures to your benefit.
Nursing Home Lawsuit Discovery
Nursing home litigation discovery- done after the lawsuit is filed – will involve the following core forms of discovery (investigation tools) that will need your involvement as the client:
◊ Written questions and answers
◊ Document collection
If you claim to suffer from diagnosed emotional trauma related to losing your loved one, and if that category of pain and suffering is recoverable in a nursing home wrongful death claim in your state, you may also be required to submit to a mental or physical examination as part of the lawsuit and discovery process.
In Maryland that type of invasive examination is permitted pursuant to Rule 2-423: Mental or Physical Examinations of Persons.
The most expensive and time consuming nursing home litigation task, however, is depositions. Between the cost of witnesses, deposition transcripts, and miscellaneous costs, each deposition can easily cost over $1,000. For expert depos, we are talking $3,000+ each.
This makes nursing home discovery, and therefore lawsuits, incredibly costly and time intensive.
This also makes it incredibly important to pick a well funded lawyer who won’t take shortcuts in your pursuit of justice just to save a few dollars.
Nursing Home Lawsuit Timelines
Lawsuits against nursing homes for negligence take a very long time to resolve.
The investigation, pre-litigation, phase can easily take 9 months or longer.
One a lawsuit is filed, it will on average take 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years to resolve your lawsuit.
This results from prolonged discovery, court procedure in scheduling trials, and postponements and extensions of dates.
The timelines for lawsuits against nursing homes are further prolonged because trials in nursing home cases often take two weeks of trial time. Because of this, the court has to look pretty far into its calendar to find a two week stretch of vacancy to schedule your trial.
From the time I start investigating your nursing home case until trial, I would estimate a typical nursing home lawsuit takes 2 1/2 to 3 years or longer to complete.
Nursing Home Litigation Challenges
Unlike car collision cases, nursing home litigation has unique hurdles. Some of those include:
◊ High volume of depositions
◊ Multiple experts
◊ Complex wrongful death and survival action claims
◊ High cost
◊ Unique and complex nursing home laws
The last point – unique nursing home laws – is important to highlight. One of the worst things an elder abuse victim or their family can do is hire a nursing home abuse attorney who is a jack of all trades.
Being successful in nursing home litigation requires a niche set of knowledge, both on the specific medical issues but more importantly on the federal and state nursing home laws.
Lawsuits against nursing homes are too nuanced for an attorney to try and dabble into nursing home cases here and there.
Attorneys who are not dedicated elder abuse lawyers will invariably take shortcuts to
dance around their gaps in knowledge, and push you to settle the case early and settle below value so their
vulnerabilities and knowledge gaps are not exposed by the nursing home’s savvy insurance lawyers
Please do not let that happen. Make sure you ask the right questions and retain a lawyer who knows nursing home litigation inside out, and studies it.
This means the lawyer knows where to find the smoking guns in the facility records, and knows how to uncover shortcuts the nursing home took in staffing and discover other errors which allowed your family to be unnecessarily hurt or, worse, taken from you.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
Challenges with Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
Lawsuits against nursing homes for abuse have an additional hurdle. For clarity, I characterize abuse as assaults and other direct, overt acts of harm.
Nursing home abuse lawsuits often end up with a he said she said dispute.
Those are very difficult cases to prove without corroborating evidence.
I’ll use a real life case (that I handled) to illustrate.
Corroborated Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
Consider the case I handled where nurses ganged up on and physically beat up the resident. The following, corroborative evidence, made this nursing abuse lawsuit winnable:
◊ Witness heard the beating over the phone
◊ ER records documented the beating
◊ Adult protective services were called
◊ A health organization investigated the beating
This converted the abuse claim from a he said she said to a “he said they said,” and my client had the they.
Nursing Abuse Investigations
Thus, it is imperative for claims of nursing home abuse, that to have a viable lawsuit you dig up corroborative evidence.
Talk to your lawyer about what types of evidence can help in this regard. Sometimes creative thinking is necessary, and cookie cutter approaches won’t work.
Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit
Neglect includes things such as not feeding timely or sufficiently, not providing sufficient showers, not brushing a resident’s teeth, and other disregard for general care.
For a nursing home neglect lawsuit to be viable, you must have compounding and substantial injuries. Let me explain.
Nursing Home Neglect Must be Compounding
You do not have a viable nursing home neglect lawsuit if your loved one was not provided water regularly and was constantly thirsty.
That is absolutely nursing home neglect, and a terrible injustice.
Nonetheless, it is not realistic to spend $30,000+ and 3 years in a nursing home lawsuit for that neglect.
Said differently, there must be a compounding of errors and serious accompanying injuries to make a nursing home neglect lawsuit one that makes sense to pursue, versus, for example, one for which it makes more sense to file an Ombudsman complaint.
Nursing Home Neglect Injury Difficulties
Thus, the challenge, or difficulty, with nursing home neglect lawsuits and injuries is that they often do not rise to the level that justifies full blown litigation.
This difficulty results in most of these claims being best served through complaints to local government agencies.
To reiterate, that difficulty is overcome if the neglect is compounded with other issues which result in significant injuries.
Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit
Nursing home negligence lawsuits are those which pursue claims for staffing issues, wounds, and falls.
In the truest sense, it is a claim for negligence, which relates to identifiable breaches of duties of care that the nursing home had.
These lawsuits vary in difficulty and complexity depending on what the negligence is.
The timelines, and procedure, for these negligence lawsuits are no different than the general timeline for all nursing home lawsuits discussed above.
Pursue a Nursing Home Lawsuit
Did the nursing home hurt someone you care about?
Nursing homes know it takes thousands of dollars just to investigate a nursing home lawsuit. That’s why they will yank your chain until you lawyer up.
At the very least, you deserve answers, and it shouldn’t drain your bank account to find that truth.
Whether you get that help from me or someone else, I am rooting for you.
May justice prevail in your investigation.
Reza Davani, Esq.
State Bar No.: 1212110211
Federal Bar No.: 30168
Supporting Literature, Citations & Resources:
Johnson CE, Dobalian A, Burkhard J, Hedgecock DK, Harman J. Predicting lawsuits against nursing homes in the United States, 1997-2001. Health Serv Res. 2004;39(6 Pt 1):1713-1731. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2004.00314
Konetzka RT, Park J, Ellis R, Abbo E. Malpractice litigation and nursing home quality of care. Health Serv Res. 2013;48(6 Pt 1):1920-1938. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12072
Consumer Notice, Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits, Terry Turner, September 1, 2020
Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3-2A-04
CMS Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare
Maryland Rule 2-423, Mental or Physical Examination of Persons
About the Author
This nursing home and medical malpractice article was written by Baltimore, Maryland nursing home attorney Reza Davani, Esquire. Mr. Davani received his Juris Doctor degree from a Tier 1 law school, the University of Maryland Francs King Carey School of Law. He received his first license to practice law from the State of Maryland’s Court of Appeals (MD State License No. 1212110211), and just four months later received a federal law license from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Federal License No. 30168).
Mr. Davani has been practicing law for over 10 years. He began practicing law by helping clients as a sanctioned student lawyer before receiving his law license, and second chaired his first jury trial in federal court before even graduating law school. He is a registered member of the Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ), the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Association for Justice (AAJ), and was formerly on the MAJ’s Legislative Leader’s Circle.
Mr. Davani has taken over 20 cases to trial in state and federal court, and favorably settled well over 100 cases for injured victims. He has personally helped his clients recover over $15,000,000 in personal injury, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse settlements and verdicts in Maryland and other states. He is dedicated to fighting for justice, and welcomes the opportunity to help you.
Nursing Home Lawsuit Lawyer Near You in Maryland & Beyond
I can help you anywhere in Maryland, including Allegany County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Calvert County, Caroline County, Cecil County, Charles County, Dorchester County, Frederick County, Garrett County, Harford County, Howard County, Kent County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Somerset County, St. Mary’s County, Talbot County, Washington County, Wicomico County, and Worcester County.
I have helped clients in over a dozen jurisdictions, including California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, and Virginia.
I help injured victims nationwide in all 50 states on a case-by-case basis via Pro Hac Vice.