How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Claim?
Injury or wrongful death claims resulting from nursing home neglect or abuse in the Jacksonville, Florida, area typically take longer to resolve than a standard injury case, like a car accident. This is for many reasons.
First, if a nursing home resident dies, the Florida Statutes allow a nursing home 30 business days to provide records. Factoring in weekends, 30 business days translates to 40 to 42 days. In addition, we typically have to obtain additional records from other medical providers, which can add to the length of time involved.
Once all of the records are received, if there appears to be a basis for neglect, our lawyers then have the records reviewed by a registered nurse or medical doctor. If the expert comes to the conclusion that the nursing home was negligent, we are then able to start the pre-suit process.
Florida’s statute on nursing home neglect claims prohibits us from filing suit within 75 days of initiating the pre-suit process. The pre-suit process is supposed to allow for the exchange of information and for the discussion of whether the case can be settled. However, nursing home operators quickly learned that the statute has no “teeth,” meaning that if they refuse to provide requested information, there are no consequences. We have never received any meaningful information from a nursing home during the pre-suit process. Often, we receive no response whatsoever.
However, every now and then, settlement discussions can be productive during the pre-suit process. In that regard, we have settled several nursing home claims within six months of being hired; however, that is by far the exception and not the rule. Typically, it takes anywhere from one to three years to resolve a nursing home case.
For nursing home injury cases that do not involve death, we can take measures in an effort to speed up the trial of the case. Florida Statute § 415.1115 provides for a speedy trial for persons who are over 65 years old. The statute does not provide a specific time frame for trial, rather, it merely allows the court to “advance the trial on the docket” in “consideration of the age and health of the party.” Unfortunately, wrongful death claims are not governed by this statute.
Even after a claim has been settled, it takes some time before funds can be disbursed. For wrongful death claims, we have to conclude the probate process. In addition, we have to repay sums expended by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers for medical care related to the injuries at issue. We negotiate with these entities to reduce the amount that has to be repaid. Doing so takes a least several weeks, and, sometimes, several months, to complete.
Justice is not swift with nursing home claims. Since the pre-suit process does nothing beneficial, it should be repealed. The nursing home lobby will fight hard against any such proposal as the delay is in its favor. In addition, many attorneys who do not routinely handle nursing home claims will shy away from accepting nursing home cases due to the complexities and potential pitfalls of the pre-suit process.
If you have a nursing home injury or death case in the Northeast Florida area, our Jacksonville attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss your potential claim. If our law firm accepts your nursing home neglect claim, you pay us nothing unless we make a financial recovery for you. Our attorneys handle nursing home neglect claims in Jacksonville, Orange Park, Lake City, Fernandina Beach, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs, Flagler County, Union County, Nassau County and Baker County. We have recovered millions for our clients in nursing home neglect claims.