Bowling Green Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers Applaud Decision to Study Medical Review Panel Bill

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J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman of Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers say the proposed law to route all nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits through a review panel would be a disservice to the public.

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Bowling Green nursing home abuse and neglect attorney J. Marshall Hughes

If it becomes law, [H.B. 361] could deter victims and their families from taking action against negligent nursing homes – something that we know is a serious problem in Kentucky and nationwide.

Bowling Green nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman today expressed cautious optimism about the Kentucky legislature’s deferral of a controversial bill that would require lawsuits against nursing homes to be reviewed by a medical panel before heading to court.

H.B. 361 would have required all potential malpractice suits to be reviewed by a panel comprised of three physicians and one non-voting attorney. The House’s Health and Welfare Committee recently decided that the bill needs more study.

“The deferral of a decision on H.B. 361 is encouraging, but it’s not a victory that we can fully celebrate yet,” said Hughes, a Bowling Green nursing home abuse and neglect attorney whose law firm helps clients throughout Kentucky.

“The bill could be reconsidered as early as this summer,” Hughes pointed out. “If it becomes law, it could deter victims and their families from taking action against negligent nursing homes – something that we know is a serious problem in Kentucky and nationwide.”

Advocates for H.B. 361 say the bill will protect nursing homes with good track records from the rising number of nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits emerging in Kentucky. Last year, numerous news reports of elder abuse, neglect and fraud in elder care facilities were highlighted in a lengthy series of articles in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

“The media attention reflects the tragic truths we see in our everyday work,” said Coleman, a Bowling Green nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer who has tracked the bill closely.

“While there are undoubtedly good nursing homes in the state, there are also ones that abuse or neglect their residents. Victims and their families should have the right to file claims against them without waiting for a medical review panel’s decision.”

According to the Herald-Leader, attorneys representing the interests of nursing homes argue that H.B. 361 is necessary. They claim that personal injury lawyers file suit knowing that most nursing home abuse and neglect cases will settle before going to trial.

Not so, said Hughes.

“Nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers take action against facilities when they have compelling evidence to support a claim that an elderly or vulnerable person has been mistreated and deserves to be compensated for their suffering,” Hughes said.

“There is no reason to have a law in place that lengthens the legal process and prevents justice from coming in a timely fashion.”

Both attorneys said that Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers will continue to monitor the progress of H.B. 361 as it proceeds through the legislature.

“We are relieved to see that legislators are taking a more thorough look at H.B. 361,” said Coleman. “But even if the proposal becomes law, the addition of a medical review panel will not prevent us from protecting the interests of those who have suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect in Kentucky. We will do what we have always done at Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers – to fight until we get the results that injured victims deserve.”    

About Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers

Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, with Kentucky offices in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Lexington and Louisville, is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of nursing home abuse and neglect victims, as well as the families who care deeply about their elderly loved ones.

Partners J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman are accomplished injury attorneys and advocates for people who have suffered from nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as auto accidents, brain injury, drug injury, defective products, environmental dangers, fire and burn injury, insurance disputes, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, Social Security disability, stock fraud, truck accident injury, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.

For more information contact Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers at (800) 489-6000 or use the firm's online contact form.

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