Why is My Iowa Nursing Home Case Taking So Long?

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Posted by Pressley Henningsen

You may be wondering why your Iowa nursing home claim is taking so long to resolve. It may help to understand a bit more about the process of filing a claim.

Investigating Your Iowa Nursing Home Claim

The first stage of any nursing home claim in Iowa is a thorough investigation, which can take a lot of time. You need to have expert witnesses in order to bring a case. Medical records need to be gathered for the expert witnesses to review, and it takes time to get all of these records. This initial phase of investigation can take up to a year.

In addition to an attorney doing an investigation into your claim, the State of Iowa may also be looking into your claims of negligence or abuse. They may decide to file citations against the care facility, or they may find the claims are unfounded. Either way, this investigation takes time.

The second reason why your claim can take a while is due to the amount of discovery that takes place once you file a lawsuit. Discovery is what it sounds like – your attorney gets to discover what the other side knows, and likewise, the other side discovers what you know about the situation. Discovery is done through the exchange of paperwork – namely written questions – and through depositions.

Depositions are in-person question and answer sessions that attorneys use to gather more information from witnesses. Scheduling depositions can take a long time since you need to align schedules of attorneys, nursing home staff, and your own schedule. If the nursing home staff has moved on from their job, they may need to be located.

Settlement Negotiations

Settlement negotiations can happen throughout the life of your case. If you and the other side both want to settle, it can significantly cut down on the time it takes to resolve your claim. Depending on when you choose to settle (pre-lawsuit or after the lawsuit is filed), it may resolve your claim more quickly.

However, settlement can take some time as well. In settlement negotiations, the insurance carrier for the other side needs to be involved. This coordination of settlement discussions takes a while to set up but is still a shorter amount of time than proceeding through to trial.

Trials and COVID-19

It can take years to get to trial. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, trials scheduled for 2020 were delayed. Those 2020 trials will be moved to the “end of the line” – they weren’t just pushed backward, delaying the trials on the docket. Furthermore, criminal trials are getting pushed to the front of the line, which means civil trials – like nursing home cases – are being bumped back even further. The ramifications of those delays will be felt for several years in the court system.

Even before COVID-19, a trial took years to reach. Scheduling a trial meant coordinating the schedules of both plaintiff and defense attorneys, experts, and other witnesses.

We encourage you to understand that this is a long process. Sometimes you may be busy with case matters – but most of the time, you will be waiting for the next phase of the lawsuit. Any time you want to know what’s happening with your case, you can call our office at 1-800-433-0283 and speak with your paralegal.If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home or care facility, you need an experienced Iowa nursing home attorney to fight for fairness for you. Call us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation at 1-800-433-0283.

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