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27/Sep/2018
Nursing Home Negligence Litigation: Time is of the Essence

The importance of expeditious resolution of civil actions is perhaps most palpable in the context of nursing home negligence litigation.

These actions inevitably involve elderly plaintiffs, whose frail health, which has been further exacerbated by the injuries stemming from the alleged negligence, is rapidly deteriorating. Accordingly, these matters demand a litigation approach that is alive to the fact that life expectancy is an overarching trepidation.

In light of the plaintiff’s overall deteriorating health condition and advanced age, there is considerable urgency to reach a resolution. Should the plaintiff pass away during the course of litigation and before the case is resolved, the value of the case will be significantly reduced to a fraction of what it is worth. Moreover, compensation is only meaningful if it allows the plaintiff to access care and assistance so that his or her remaining years of life can be enjoyed with dignity.

Recently, we had the privilege of resolving a nursing home negligence action. The Plaintiff, A.B., was 85 years old and a resident at a Long Term Care Home when she was involved in an altercation with a co-resident and sustained severe injuries including fractures and a head injury. Subsequently, she required surgical intervention and was rendered largely immobile.

Our team recognized the importance of starting the litigation process early and moving it expediently so as to preserve all the evidence and get A.B. and her family the support they needed. Our success was achieved by taking the following steps:

In less than a year from the date of the incident, we had:
issued a Statement of Claim as against the Long Term Care Home and nurses;
commenced a comprehensive private investigation;
brought a motion to compel the Defendants to produce video surveillance depicting the incident; and
conducted Examinations for Discovery which were instrumental in obtaining key admissions regarding breaches of the standard of care .

To bolster our client’s case, we retained a highly qualified team of medical experts to comment on whether the Defendant nurses breached the standard of care and to assess A.B.’s injuries, future prognosis, as well as the outlook of her future care costs. This information was canvassed through:
a Medico-Legal Expert Report of a Nursing Expert;
a Future Care Cost Analysis of an Occupational Therapist;
Forensic Accounting Reports addressing the loss of income and cost of care claims.

We aggressively confronted delays in the litigation by bringing a motion to compel compliance with undertakings and answers to questions improperly refused. To add additional exposure, we sought a re-attendance at Examination for Discovery of a representative of the Long Term Care Home.

The Settlement:
Less than two years elapsed from the time we were retained to the date of mediation, at which time the parties reached a favourable settlement.

Equipped with the foregoing evidence and decisive advocacy, our team presented a compelling case at mediation and succeeded in settling this case for A.B. and her family which will allow A.B. to access the care she requires and to enjoy her remaining years with dignity.

In the context of nursing home negligence litigation, we never lose sight of the fact that time is of the essence. Our litigation strategy and approach is acutely sensitive to the overarching life expectancy concerns and its direct impact on the quantum of damages.

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