Nursing Home Abuse
If you or a loved one have suffered injury and abuse at the hands of a nursing home and its staff, you may be wondering the extent of damages you can claim in a lawsuit and how you actually go about proving your case and the dollar amount of compensation you believe you are entitled to.
Types of Damages in Nursing Home Injury and Abuse Cases
As with all legal claims, damages in nursing home injury and abuse cases are meant to compensate the victim for the injury and abuse they suffered. Damages tend to fall into economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical expenses: Includes hospital bills, surgery, doctor’s visits, medication, physical therapy, and other treatment needed for physical and emotional injuries
- Lost income: Lost wages damages compensate the victim for work they’ve missed due to their injuries; however, since most nursing home residents are no longer gainfully employed, these kinds of damages typically do not come into play
- Damaged, lost, or stolen property: If nursing home staff have damaged, lost, or stolen a resident’s personal property as part of the abuse, or have committed financial fraud by stealing the resident’s credit cards or financial information
- Pain and suffering: Intended to compensate the victim for the pain they endured as a result of their injuries and abuse as well as for the loss of the ability to enjoy previous activities due to the abuse and injuries
- Emotional distress: Compensates the victim for the emotional or mental pain and suffering caused by abuse
- Punitive damages: Unlike other categories of damages, punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim for any losses but instead to punish a responsible party for willful or wanton conduct and to deter future similar behavior.
Proving Your Case at Trial
If making a claim for intentional abuse and injury, you will need to prove that the abuse and injury occurred, the victim was harmed by it and that the responsible parties acted with an intentional state of mind, which can be either:
- Willful: the responsible party wanted the abuse and injury to occur
- Knowing: the responsible party knew that the abuse and injury would be a natural outcome of their actions
- Reckless: the responsible party consciously disregarded a substantial risk the abuse and injury would occur from their actions
If asserting that abuse and injury occurred due to negligence, you will need to prove that the nursing home and its staff owed a duty of care to the victim. This can be proven either through the duties spelled out in the contract between a nursing home and the victim, or through the testimony of experts in the field of nursing home care. You will also need to prove that the nursing home and its staff breached their duty to the victim by doing something they shouldn’t have done or not doing something they should have done. Finally, you will need to prove the victim suffered some injury or damage (whether physical, emotional, or financial) as a result of this breach.
Proof of Damages
Proving economic damages from nursing home injury or abuse can be much easier to prove. If medical treatment was needed to treat injuries or if the victim suffered financial fraud at the hands of a nursing home and its staff, there are often medical and financial records to substantiate the amount of economic losses. The nursing home’s own incident reports may also be critical to prove culpability and substantiate losses.
However, non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress, can’t be easily quantified by invoices and financial statements. Instead, evidence of pain and suffering or emotional damages often takes the form of written statements and testimony, such as diaries and notes kept by the victim and his or her family members documenting their physical and emotional condition throughout and following recovery from abuse.
Contact a Lansdale Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
Seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Additionally, nursing home staff needs to ensure that patients are safe and secure at all times. If your loved one suffered an injury, or worse, due to nursing home neglect & abuse in Pennsylvania you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. represent clients throughout Montgomery and Bucks Counties in Pennsylvania, including Newtown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, and Norristown. Call 215-822-7575 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We have an office conveniently located at 2605 N. Broad St., Colmar, PA 18915, as well as an office in Newtown.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.