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How to Prove Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

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Monday, August 13, 2018

How to Prove Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

Each year, the number of nursing homes and residents in the United States increases.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that there were 15,600 homes in 2014 and the number of nursing home residents in 2014 was 1.4 million. These numbers are only expected to increase as the aging population increases.

Unfortunately, finding enough qualified care professionals or nursing homes that are not filled are decreasing. More residents are finding themselves in overfilled nursing homes without the staff to handle their care needs.

There has been a correlation between the increase in nursing home residents and nursing home abuse/neglect cases. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to file a claim for nursing home abuse, you need to know specifics about the process – especially when it comes to claiming damages. It is best to consult with a nursing home abuse attorney because they can review your case and better determine what damages you are eligible to receive as well as collect evidence to prove their legitimacy.

What Damages Can You Claim in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?

The damages you might recover in a nursing home abuse case depend on the statute and the extent of the injuries. When a nursing home breaches federal or state safety guidelines, they are liable for the injuries they cause. Victims of the abuse can seek damages against a nursing home, caregivers, and other parties responsible for their injuries.

Some of the damages that a victim might claim include:

Medical Expenses

If a nursing home caregiver or facility abuses a resident, and that abuse results in medical treatments, the nursing home is liable for the costs of those treatments. Nursing homes may pay the following damages in an elder abuse claim:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medication costs
  • Hospitalization fees
  • Surgery costs
  • Physical and rehabilitative therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Transportation to and from physicians’ offices
  • Ambulance transportation
  • Doctor’s visits

Lost Wages

In a typical injury case, the injured party might seek damages for wages lost while they recover from their injuries. Nursing home residents do not work, but their loved ones do. If a loved one must quit their job to care for their family member who was abused personally, they may seek damages under exceptional circumstances.

Also, if the nursing home resident does work, they may seek compensation for the hours missed or inability to work in the future because of their injuries.

Cost of Relocation

In nursing home abuse cases, the victim is often moved to another nursing home. This might involve new administration fees, residential fees, and the cost of transporting their personal property to the new nursing home. Residents or family members may claim these costs in their lawsuit. Also, fees paid to the nursing home during the time of abuse may be eligible for a refund.

Pain and Suffering

Any victim that suffers physical and emotional pain can receive damages from the person responsible. These are non-economic damages that are based on the severity of the injury and the long-term damage done to the victim.

The more serious the injury and abuse, the higher the non-economic damages will be. If you can prove that your loved one suffered greatly and that they will be affected for the rest of their life from that abuse, the pain and suffering damages may increase.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a particular category of damages that will not apply in all abuse cases. Punitive damages are seen in cases where the act exceeds ordinary negligence, and the courts feel that the defendant deserves a punishment. When staff maliciously or deliberately abuse nursing home residents, this can qualify for punitive damages.

To recover punitive damages, your attorney must show that the defendant knowingly or intentionally abused the victim. Punitive damages are not designed to compensate the victim; therefore, they are not based off the medical costs, lost wages, and other tangible losses. The court decides the proper amount of punitive damages based on the severity of the malicious or intentional acts.

Proving Your Damages

While you are entitled to multiple categories of damages in an injury case, you must show the validity of the damages you request.

You must not only prove that your loved one suffered harm, but that the nursing home caused that harm to have a valid claim. Once you have established the nursing home is at fault, you must prove your damages – showing the court that you have the right to collect the amount of compensation you are requesting.

The evidence you need to support your damage claim can vary depending on the type of abuse. The more documentation you have, the easier it will be to get the compensation you deserve.

Some evidence you can use to help prove damages include:

Medical Records

You can establish when the abuse started and the extensiveness of that abuse through medical records. Once your loved one began receiving treatments for their abuse, such as broken bones or lacerations, you have the paper trail showing the medical costs associated with the injuries.

You will also have health insurance billing records, prescriptions, doctor’s office visits and notes, and treatment plans that you can use to prove your requests for medical expense compensation.

Photographs

Photographs of the bruises and other injuries will help establish that your loved one suffered injuries. They will also help the judge or jury visualize how severe those injuries were. This helps prove your request for medical compensation, pain, and suffering.

Diaries

Your loved one might keep a journal outlining the abuse. This diary might describe who was responsible for the abuse, when it happened, and how it impacted your loved one’s quality of life, emotions, and mental state.

Personal Observations from Family Members

Your personal observations as you care for your loved one or when you suspected abuse could also help prove your case. You can discuss the emotional or physical changes you saw in your loved one, their living conditions, and what led you to suspect abuse.

Investigative Reports

When you suspect nursing home abuse, you report it to the local authorities. Not only would you have a police investigation, but the state’s health department is likely to investigate as well and issue their findings in an official report. You can use both reports to prove the conditions of the nursing home, staff, and anyone found guilty of abuse.

Receipts

If you want compensation for costs like transportation to and from doctors’ offices or the cost of relocating your loved one to another nursing home, you need to document how much you spend out-of-pocket and keep receipts to prove these were valid charges.

Working with an Attorney Is Critical

Nursing home abuses can be hard to prove, especially when the abuse is allowed to go on for several months before it is detected. Medical expenses that you thought were unrelated could then be identified as stemming from the injury. And sometimes witnesses or evidence is harder to track once a few months pass by.

It is best that you consult with an attorney that handles nursing home abuse cases to explore your options. An attorney can identify what damages your loved one could receive and also help prove that these damages are valid in your claim.

Furthermore, your attorney identifies all liable parties for the abuse, ensuring that not only the abuser but their employer and the nursing home are held accountable for allowing an abusive caregiver into their facility.

Contact an Attorney for Your Consultation Today

After you have reported the suspected abuse, contact Malman Law to explore your legal options. We fight for victims of nursing home abuse, and we ensure that our clients receive the compensation they need to recover from this heinous crime.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys at 888-307-7068 or request more information online.

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