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Lawyer’s Advice to Nursing Homes That Get Sued Misses the #1 Rule

By December 27, 2013 No Comments

McKnight’s Long-Term Care News is a business news magazine that serves the institutional long-term care field. McKnight’s recently published an online article by an attorney who defends nursing homes in lawsuits.  The title of the article, “Ten tips to lower your LTC litigation costs,” sums up what the article is about.

Interestingly, the author starts her article with the following premise: “If you are a provider of long term care services, the odds are that, in today’s litigation climate, your long term care facility will get sued.” That representation does not ring true with what we’ve seen over the past decade at the Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm.  In fact, our firm only accepts 1 out of 20 cases that we are asked to review.

The nursing home lawyer offers the following “Ten Tips” to nursing homes in her article:

  1. Produce accurate and complete records of the resident’s care. (In other words, obey the law.  Good advice.)
  2. Set “realistic expectations” with the resident and family members. (Lower the consumer’s expectations.)
  3. Have the residents waive their right to sue the nursing home in advance, before they are harmed, regardless of how egregious the wrongdoing is, regardless of how severe the injuries are.
  4. Keep secret documents secret.
  5. Notify family members about significant adverse events, such as the development of a pressure sore or the resident’s elopement from the facility. (Again, this is the law.  Obey it!)
  6. Make sure the nursing home’s employees are available to cooperate with the nursing home’s attorney.
  7. Respond to the injured resident’s lawyer’s requests for information in a timely and organized manner. (Again, obey the law.  Good advice.)
  8. Tell the family or resident that you are sorry when there’s an adverse event, send flowers and cards, which “often dissuades them from suing”.  (Effective PR strategies can be one of the best risk management strategies for companies that cause harm.)
  9. Look for early opportunities to resolve the case to avoid the substantial costs of litigation.  (This is responsible advice. Many lawyers who are hired to defend nursing homes are paid by the hour which, unfortunately, can create an incentive for some lawyers to prolong the case … more work = more hours = more fees for the nursing home’s lawyer.)
  10. Keep the nursing home records organized. (Not only good practical advice, it’s the law.)

Significantly, the author failed to include the number one rule for reducing litigation costs: PROVIDE QUALITY CARE IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Nursing homes that provide quality staff, quality care, and genuine concern for their residents are able to keep their resources focused on what matters most – resident safety and wellbeing.  Other nursing homes seem more dedicated to the bottom line and corporate profits.  They cut corners at the expense of their vulnerable residents.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action today and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.