Nursing homes are the one place where people take their loved ones, hoping someone will take good care of them. Unfortunately, we read stories of abuse in nursing homes every other day.
Worse, your loved one in a nursing home may be limited cognitively or in speech, meaning abuse can continue for weeks or months unnoticed.
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, you can sue for damages under medical malpractice laws—this post highlights steps to proving your abuse or neglect claim against a nursing home.
1. Hire a Lawyer
If you suspect or have evidence to prove that your loved one has suffered abuse at a nursing home facility, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the nursing home to recover damages. Even when you think you have credible evidence to prove your case, filing a nursing home abuse and neglect claim may not be as simple as you may think.
The nursing home will most likely build a solid defense with the help of their attorney, and your claim may not stand a chance. If you hope to get justice for your loved one, enlisting a lawyer with experience in nursing home abuse claims would be the best place to start.
You may want to check out nursinghomelawyerpa.com to find a lawyer specializing in home abuse and neglect cases.
2. Get Them Medical Attention
Older adults’ bodies are pretty fragile, meaning any form of physical abuse can take a huge toll on them. So it is best to ensure they are checked by a doctor outside the facility where they suffered the abuse.
Getting medical attention can help in several ways; it ensures that your loved one’s health is taken care of, helps determine the probable cause of the injuries, and provides medical documentation necessary to prove the damages suffered.
3. Gathering Evidence
After medical help, the other thing you want to do is gather all evidence as soon as possible. The longer you take, the higher the chances of losing the evidence. Most signs of abuse and neglect can include bruises, cuts, scrapes, sores, and fractures.
These injuries can disappear fast, so you may need to document the injuries in photo or video. Also, your lawyer can help you access the facility’s CCTV footage if they have one installed to get evidence of abuse.
4. File the Claim
After getting medical help for your loved one and collecting all the necessary evidence with the help of your lawyer, the next step will be filing a lawsuit. Filling a claim provides you with the one important chance of presenting your evidence to the other side.
Depending on the strength of your case (the available evidence), they may opt to settle out of court or go to trial.
Elements of a Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Case
When navigating a claim, your lawyer has to show that the three elements of neglect exist, which include:
- Breach of duty. Nursing home health providers owe a duty of care to their patients. They are expected to provide a standard of care that any reasonable health service provider would under the existing circumstances. A breach of this duty amounts to negligence.
- Causation. Your lawyer must also prove that the breach of duty resulted in the injuries sustained by the patient.
- Damages. The damages sought are specific to the injuries suffered by the victims as a result of neglect or abuse. There are two main recoverable damages under nursing home neglect and abuse cases, economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover all monetary costs incurred in the treatment of the injuries. On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to unquantifiable damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional and psychological pain.