When you search for your parent’s nursing home, it is a trying time. There are feelings of guilt, but also feelings of doing the right thing. After all, we generally, do not put our parents into a nursing home until they need that kind of care, especially as the costs can be exorbitant. This is why you spend so much time looking for the perfect place, and you likely assume that perfect place is safe.
Unfortunately, they may not be safe
Nursing home abuse, neglect and medical malpractice are disturbingly common. This means that even those perfect nursing homes may still have problematic employees. And, as the wave of resignations continues, finding qualified and dedicated nursing home employees, including medical staff, has become a challenge. Some nursing homes are, therefore, keeping employees whom they otherwise may have let go. This, in turn, can increase the risk of your loved ones experiencing abuse, neglect or medical malpractice.
But I can always sue, right?
Yes. In the United States, anyone can sue anyone for anything. Though, the issue with nursing home litigation is that holding them accountable can be exceedingly complicated, depending on the nature of the nursing.
What makes suing nursing homes so complicated?
Three things make suing nursing homes complicated: complicated corporate structure, insufficient commercial liability insurance and bankruptcy. Nursing homes, especially large multistate nursing homes, may have five or more entities in the ownership and operational structure, which can make finding the liable party complicated. Even determining who to serve can take time because of large corporate trees.
Especially for smaller and underfunded nursing homes, their commercial liability insurance may not be sufficient. However, even larger nursing homes may not have enough insurance if there is a particularly prolific negligent employee.
And, if there is not enough insurance, unfortunately, that means that the nursing home will likely file for bankruptcy. This, in turn, will mean that the assets available to litigants can be dramatically reduced. In some cases, less than 1%.
Help is available
For our Livonia, Michigan, readers, there are two key takeaways. First, do more research up front to look for potential red flags, but also inquire as to insurance level and corporate structure. However, you may not be able to get this information without an attorney. Second, it is better to be the first to file against the nursing home than the last. This is acutely true if the nursing home files for bankruptcy.