Initial Consideration and Pre-Trial Procedure in Defending the Nursing Home

Excerpt from a speech by J. Scott Myers

Evaluation of Nursing Home Cases

Defending a nursing facility begins with early recognition and detection of potential lawsuits. When an incident occurs at a facility that results in injury, there is a great potential for a lawsuit to arise. It is important that the defense attorney is educated on the incident and the policies and procedures of the facility prior to the filing of the lawsuit. Immediately following an incident, the facility should be in contact with its attorney to inform them of the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident Waiting until the plaintiff's attorney has been retained and in contact with the facility, or, awaiting the filing of the lawsuit deprives the facility of time. This delays the defense's initial steps of securing the appropriate documents and equipment, and contacting the appropriate witnesses.

The evaluation of a nursing home cases involves a familiarity with federal and state laws that regulate nursing homes, and the typical types of injuries caused by neglect suffered by nursing home residents. The federal law that regulates nursing homes is detailed and discusses specific aspects of care that should be provided the nursing home resident. This law, along with its regulations and its interpretive guidelines, must be consulted before an attorney can competently analyze a nursing home case.

A long with maintaining actions against nursing homes based on different theories of negligence and statutory violations, a plaintiff may also claim that the defendant nursing home and its parent corporation violated a provision of OBRA (Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987). Certain nursing home administration standards that more frequently appear at issue than others are as follows: