Nursing homes a target of ‘predatory’ advertising

The term “ambulance chaser” refers, disparagingly, to personal injury lawyers who show up at accident scenes or hospitals, trying to drum up business from injured motorists.

In a climate in which nursing home litigation is growing exponentially, might it be time to coin a new term — that of “walker chaser?” We’ve all seen attorneys’ ads on television or the internet, soliciting business from people who feel they or their loved ones have been neglected or mistreated in a long-term care facility.

In this digital age, plaintiffs attorneys are spending millions of dollars on websites, Twitter handles, blogs, Facebook pages, YouTube channels and Google advertising to cultivate outrage and attract clients. Some will even monitor social media, where people share details about their lives, in order to recruit clients. And, of course, a number of law firms have finessed the art of suing nursing homes, listing their victories worth millions of dollars on their websites. It’s true that residents of long-term care facilities sometimes are treated egregiously, and lawsuits are justified. Yet many lawsuits are brought with no intention of going to trial: the plaintiffs and their lawyers simply want a settlement, paid, typically, by the nursing home’s insurance policy.

What can a long-term care facility do when it believes it’s a victim of predatory advertising? An attorney whose firm often represents nursing homes offers advice here. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform also is at the forefront of efforts to change litigation laws.