He sees the same nursing homes being sued over and over again, despite the fact that these homes are frequently poorly insured (if at all). And, he says, “And it’s not the same lawyers suing those nursing homes.” More surprisingly, in his observation, nursing homes are winning most of their nursing home neglect cases. “What does that tell you?” he asks.
It’s often easier to identify trends by looking at small sample sizes. In this case, Jackson County, Mississippi has a population of about 175,000. Over 2.7 million people live in Chicago, and Cook County, Illinois (Chicago and most of its suburbs) contains over 5 million. So it’s very possible that Mr. Thomas is seeing trends that simply have yet to be noticed in areas where it’s simply not possible for one man to have a bird’s eye view of the court systems.
Mr. Thomas doesn’t present any specific figures to back up his claim that nursing homes are winning more cases than losing, but let’s assume that’s true. Let’s also assume his other claim is accurate and that the cases he’s seeing being won (and lost) are by a host of different trial attorneys.
My take on why this trend is developing is a simple one: experience makes a difference.
Attorneys who work on behalf of nursing homes who are often the subject of lawsuits are extremely shrewd. Each day in court (win or lose) serves to hone their strategies for the next trial. An inexperienced nursing home attorney can easily find him or herself outmaneuvered.
A fair answer must also account for attorneys who work for an hourly rate. These attorneys win whether their client does or not. That’s why our Chicago nursing home lawyers work on a contingency basis. If we don’t believe you have a solid case, we won’t waste our time or the time of our clients.
Finally, I would point to the many ways that laws have been shaped to put great disadvantages on the victim. For example, a recent law passed in Wisconsin has made nursing home violation reports inadmissible in courtrooms.