January 20, 2022 | Nursing Home Abuse
Kentucky law does not set a time limit for settling a nursing home abuse case. A few factors that might influence the time include the type of claim, the evidence supporting your claim, and the insurers involved in the claim.
Filing a lawsuit will also affect the settlement timeline. A lawsuit usually means that you and the nursing home have substantial factual or legal disputes that prevented settlement. But lawsuits can also facilitate settlement by placing time pressures on the parties.
Here is some information about how long a nursing home case can take to settle.
Time to Settle a Case Before Filing a Lawsuit
In a typical nursing home case, you’ll first discover the nursing home’s role in causing an injury or death. You may notify the nursing home, which, in turn, will notify its insurer.
You will submit a proof of loss form to the insurance company that describes the claim. You will also submit evidence to support your claim, including medical records and photos of the personal injury.
Time Limits on Insurers
The insurer will investigate the claim to decide whether to pay you on behalf of its insured. The insurer has 30 days after receiving your proof of loss form to decide.
If the insurer needs additional information or more time to investigate, it can extend the period in 45-day increments by sending you written notice.
If the insurer accepts your claim, it will make a settlement offer. The offer will probably not cover all of the losses that resulted from the abuse. From this point, you and your lawyer can negotiate the settlement amount to try to get fair compensation for the injuries.
The insurer does not have a legal time limit when it comes to negotiating a settlement.
Time to Settle a Case After Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurer denies your claim, it will explain its denial. You and your lawyer will need to provide evidence or legal arguments to overcome the denial. If you cannot persuade the insurer to accept the claim, you will need to either drop your claim or file a lawsuit.
In Kentucky, you do not have much time to file a lawsuit. Kentucky has a one-year statute of limitations for bodily injury claims. If you file a lawsuit more than one year after the injury, a judge must dismiss it.
After you file the lawsuit, the case could settle at any time. If the case does not settle, your lawyer and the insurer’s lawyer will present the case to a jury.
Factors Affecting the Time to Settle
Some factors that could affect the time to settle a claim include:
Evidence of Abuse
Not every injury provides a basis for a nursing home abuse claim. Seniors injure themselves in slips, trips, and falls, even with good nursing home care.
Claims tend to settle quickly if you have persuasive evidence that the nursing home caused the injury, such as:
- Videos of the abuse
- Unusual injuries that only stem from abuse
- Testimony from workers or residents who witnessed abuse
Most insurers do not want jurors to see this type of evidence. Horrified jurors tend to give big damage awards. As a result, the insurer will often try to settle the case before it reaches a jury.
Nature of the Case
If the case arises from medical malpractice rather than nursing home abuse, it may take longer to settle. Medical malpractice cases often turn into a battle of medical experts over the reasonableness of the care provided.
Experience of Your Lawyer
Your lawyer’s experience with nursing home cases can affect both the speed and size of the settlement. Lawyers who previously handled nursing home cases know what to submit with the claim to reduce the risk of a denial. They also know where to find expert witnesses who can support your claim.
By presenting overwhelming and conclusive evidence, your lawyer can push the nursing home insurer to settle.