This is one of the first questions potential clients have when they are considering bringing a claim against a care home for an injury to a loved one, though it can be difficult to answer. Some cases last less than a year while others have lasted nearly a decade. On average, a nursing home case will last between 2 and 3 years.
Nursing home litigation is complex, so cases involving long-term care neglect often last several years. One time-consuming aspect of nursing home neglect cases is discovery. During discovery, an attorney will collect medical records from the facility, find an expert witness, and try to understand the corporation’s structure.
Often, care homes aren’t equipped to provide medical records in a timely manner, and their corporate structure is built in a complicated way that shields offenders from liability. The sluggish process of getting medical records, hiring expert witnesses who will substantiate claims, and accessing those responsible for the neglect make the discovery in these cases take several months, if not longer.
Whether the case goes to trial or is resolved in mediation also affects the length of a case. Mediation can resolve a case more quickly and at a lower cost than a trial. Clients who want the matter resolved quickly may accept a settlement offer early in mediation, while those who won’t settle for a low offer may escalate the case to a lengthy trial.
Finally, care home cases often invoke special issues that take time to resolve. If the injured party passes away, or if their claim involves wrongful death, then an estate must be opened and next of kin and executors become involved. This process can add weeks to a claim.
Generally, a case of nursing home neglect will last between 2 and 3 years. Some extraordinary cases may settle in a year or less or last for much longer. These complicated cases are highly dependent on individual circumstances. An experienced attorney can help you determine how long your neglect case may last.