Bad Business? Why A Nursing Home Lawyer May Want To Turn Away Cases.

Lawsuit SettlementMany people who hear I’m a lawyer think I’m always focused on one thing: suing whoever I can.  As a lawyer who handles personal injury and nursing home negligence cases, I guess ‘suing’ or sort of goes with the territory. But the truth both as a lawyer and as a businessman I want to pursue meritorious cases where the filing of a lawsuit actually serves the purpose of getting compensation for my clients.

Most non-lawyers fail to recognize that the filing of lawsuits– and the entire litigation process is a time consuming and expensive process.  Since I handled cases on a contingency fee basis, unless there is an obvious benefit to my client– I’m generally not inclined to spend thousands of dollar and pour in weeks, months — or (gulp) years worth of work.  Similarly, with cases involving questionable liability– what the person we’re pursing did wrongly or negligently– I’m generally inclined not to pursue the matter in court.

Not every case is worth pursuing

There’s a false assumption that ‘every case’ has some value to it.  In the sphere of personal injury law, I’ve quickly learned that grasping for straws is a great way for determining who’s going to clean up the dishes, but employing such technique for the prosecution of nursing home lawsuits is unethical and just plain bad business.

I began to consider the entire idea of being selective with my cases, when I read about a recently filed Chicago nursing home lawsuit involving a case filed on behalf of a 92-year-old woman. As reported by CBS2 “2 Investigators: 57 Maggots Removed From Nursing Home Patient’s Ear”, the lawsuit alleges that Lutheran Home for the Aged (Arlington Heights, IL) was responsible for allowing a fly to lays eggs in the woman’s ear canal.  Apparently the eggs hatched and 57 maggots were festering in the woman’s ear for an estimated two or three days.

Disgusting? Yes. Value? Probably Not.

While my reaction to such stories are similar to anyone else’s in that this is a simply disgusting situation, the attorney in me can’t help but think about the damages aspect (or lack thereof) the the case. According to news reports of the situation, the woman (who is unable to speak) was seen tugging at her ear for a couple of days leading to the maggot discovery.  Similarly, the maggots were removed by doctors at a nearby hospital without any significant interventions. While no discussion in the news, I also assume that this woman will make a full recovery.

All in all, this situation shouts at me ‘nuisance value’.  Sure the situation was disgusting for the patient (which could arguable be disputed based on the woman’s diminished capacity) and the family.  Sure the woman required some medical attention.  Sure the maggots may have caused her some discomfort.

Do these factors merit some type of compensation?

Perhaps, but I would suggest not much.

There are plenty of reasons to take– or reject a particular case.  However, as a lawyer who genuinely attempts to bring lawsuits that will actually benefit the family or individual involved, cases such as this actually due a disservice to the families in situations where there indeed as a horrific injury as I would humbly suggest that an incident such as this both desensitizes the jury pool and frankly brings a negative connotation to a pervasive feeling that lawyers are willing to file a lawsuit over pretty much anything.

But who knows? When a jury awards mega-money to this family, I will most definitely eat my words.

For further discussion on the status of nursing home litigation in Illinois look here.

For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.


One response to “Bad Business? Why A Nursing Home Lawyer May Want To Turn Away Cases.”

  1. starme77 says:  Here is a link about what happened to my mother and father in law, nothing could be done because the medical records were fixed to faliure to thrive, actually, he was not being fed, and was simply left in the bed, which led to the bedsore which led to the infection and , well anyway here is another video, of my mother in law now four years after I broke her out of the home, and took her to my home, you can see, she needs assistance eating which is what I requested for my father in law, that the nursing home did not do and so he began to starve,

Justia Lawyer Rating for Jonathan Rosenfeld

Client Reviews

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric