An overwhelming majority of nursing home neglect and abuse cases are settled outside of court. The reason for this is twofold:
First, almost all nursing homes request that the resident sign an arbitration agreement at the time of admissions, and most residents sign them without realizing it. Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method that does not involve traditional litigation or the court system. Essentially, a neutral is hired by the parties to hear the claim and to issue a decision. That decision is binding and not able to be appealed. There are many reasons that this type of forum benefits the nursing home, and we do all we can to help our clients avoid this obligation.
Second, nursing home cases rarely go to court because, as with any type of lawsuit, a jury trial represents a certain unknown. Nursing homes, represented by large insurance companies, fear the uncertainty of jury verdicts. The amounts can range from a defense verdict to plaintiff’s verdicts into the millions of dollars. As such, even where a nursing home plays tough and refuses to settle, once the case appears on the trial calendar, oftentimes appropriate settlement offers begin being made.
Sometimes settling out of court is the smart decision. Not all cases are slam dunks, and the risk of loss to the client may outweigh the benefits of accepting certain cash. However, the best settlement offers generally go to the attorneys that have the knowledge, experience, and will to take the case all the way to conclusion.
There are many considerations when deciding to settle a case or file a lawsuit against a nursing home. If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you are unsure about what to do next, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers today. Our consultations are always free.