Tips for Choosing a Nursing Home
Don’t Choose One with a Wasting Liability Policy. What’s That?
Our clients often ask us how they should go about selecting a nursing home. At Zimmet & Zimmet, we are local Daytona Beach nursing home injury attorneys who represent people for injuries and wrongful death as a result of nursing home negligence and abuse.
While there are many factors to consider, the nursing home’s liability insurance is an important factor people may not be aware of. If a nursing home buys a liability policy with unreasonably small limits it is likely that they are counting on a complicated structure of shell companies to avoid paying for the injuries and deaths they cause.
When a nursing home believes that it won’t have to pay for patient injuries it causes, we believe it is far more likely to create a corporate culture that allows abuse and neglect.
If a nursing home thinks it won’t have to pay for patient injuries, why does it buy insurance at all? The Florida legislature passed a law that requires nursing homes to carry liability insurance. The catch is that the law does not require any minimum amount.
Other states do require minimum coverages. For example, Pennsylvania requires nursing homes to carry at least $1 million dollars in liability insurance coverage. New Jersey requires $500,000.
We often see nursing homes buying a type of policy called a “wasting policy.” A wasting policy has a limit that is reduced by defense costs. These policies often have inadequate limits of $50,000.
Although liability policies should pay patients for injuries caused by the nursing home these wasting policies might only end up paying for an attorney to defend the nursing home.
They are also used to pressure the injured patient into settling a lawsuit for less than the case is worth. When the policy limit is only $50,000 and the nursing home’s attorney will bill over $50,000 in fees in less than six months thereby reducing the policy limit to zero, nursing homes often are successful in pressuring injured people to accept much less than their case is worth.
We recommend that in choosing a nursing home you ask to see the liability policy. If it is a wasting policy your loved one is likely to be without significant protection if injured by the nursing home.
Zimmet & Zimmet, representing nursing home patients
Personal Attention and the Time to Get It Right