There are several factors that determine when it is right to settle, and every case is different, so there is no simple answer to that question.
Once a client meets with us regarding a potential case, our first job as attorneys is to investigate the claims. Investigation means acquiring all pertinent documents and items. For example, gathering all of the medical records, requesting documents from the government via the freedom of information act, and acquiring any incident reports or, where applicable, death certificates. Also, we interview witnesses, investigate the nursing home, and take photographs and videos of the injuries. This may take from a few weeks to month.
After this initial investigation, we compile the important information and provide to persons that we consider experts in the field. The experts will review the material and provide affidavits that attest to the negligence of the nursing home. So for example, we had a recent case in which our client, a dementia suffer, was allowed to wander without supervision, became entangled in window blind cords, and strangled to death. We consulted with an engineer regarding window blind safety, as well as a nursing home administrator with 30 years experience overseeing long-term care facilities. These two experts testified via affidavit that the window blinds should not have been there, and that the nursing home should have monitored the resident. Consulting with experts can take up to several months, depending on the availability and number of experts needed.
Once the investigation is complete, all of the information is placed into a demand package for the nursing home’s lawyers and insurance company. The demand will typically ask for a certain sum of money. At that point, the nursing home will begin to negotiate a settlement amount.
Sometimes, settlement negotiations can take from a month to several months. Sometimes, the parties will mediate the dispute prior to filing. But at the end of the day, if the parties are unable to come to an agreement, a lawsuit will have to be filed. That begins a whole other timeline. Most nursing home lawsuits, unless settled, can take between 18 months and two years to reach a conclusion.
If your loved one has been injured at a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you are wondering how long it will take to settle, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Georgia nursing home abuse lawyers today. Our consultations are always free.