As children, you’re taught to respect and treat your elders with kindness. However, while that is the right thing to do, it is not always how it goes.
Nursing home negligence commonly results in physical, mental, and emotional harm to elderly patients. If your loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, discuss your situation with a nursing home abuse lawyer without further delay.
What Is Nursing Home Negligence?
Even with extensive laws and regulations for long-term care facilities like nursing homes, nursing home neglect continues to be a prominent issue.
Nursing home negligence can be defined as neglect of elderly patients or disregard for their needs. Individuals of advanced age often require special care and attention. Therefore, negligence can significantly affect an elderly victim’s life and could even result in their passing.
It is worth noting that elder neglect varies slightly from elder abuse. When an elderly individual is experiencing abuse, the responsible party is typically abusing the victim intentionally. On the other hand, nursing home negligence is not intentional. While the two are not quite the same, they can both lead to victims being harmed.
There are many reasons why nursing home negligence occurs. In many cases, understaffing and poor training are prominent problems in nursing homes. When there are an insufficient number of staff members to tend to patients, some patients end up paying the price.
No matter what causes nursing home negligence, it is never acceptable. Victims and their families can pursue justice with the help of a nursing home abuse attorney.
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Common Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
It is not uncommon for nursing home negligence to go undiscovered for quite some time.
However, there may be some noticeable signs of neglect, including:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Personality changes
- New or worsening medical conditions
- Other unexplained injuries
When nursing home negligence goes unnoticed, it can significantly affect an elderly victim’s life. When victims do not get the medical attention or treatment they need, neglect could result in death. It is a unique issue when the victim has no family, or their family or guardian does not pay adequate attention to ensure their needs are met.
If your loved one has suffered due to nursing home negligence, do not hesitate to discuss your case with a nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. A nursing home abuse attorney can review the situation to help you determine whether negligence occurred and create a legal plan of action.
Proving Nursing Home Negligence
Negligence is generally defined as failure to act in the same reasonable manner that a similarly situated party would have acted.
Proving a nursing home was negligent is often a challenging endeavor. However, a nursing home abuse attorney has the knowledge, skill, and experience to prove that nursing home negligence occurred and that it caused the victim harm.
After investigating the situation, your nursing home abuse lawyer will work to establish that the essential elements of negligence were present in your case.
The Nursing Home Owed the Victim a Duty of Care
First, you must prove the nursing home owed the victim a duty of care.
Similar to doctors and healthcare providers, nursing homes and their staff owe elderly patients a duty of care. The precise duty a nursing home and its employees owe patients may vary but is often based on accepted industry practices or standards.
A nursing home abuse lawyer can determine the exact duty of care the nursing home and its staff owed the elderly victim.
The Nursing Home Breached its Duty
After you’ve established the nursing home owed the patient a duty of care, you must subsequently show the nursing home breached this duty. Proving the nursing home breached its duty often requires showing that the nursing home or its staff failed to do something or did something wrong.
For example, if the elderly victim’s medical condition has significantly worsened, it would be helpful to prove the nursing home caregivers were failing to provide the patient with their medication or necessary medical treatment.
The Negligence Caused the Victim’s Injuries
Next, you must prove the nursing home’s breach of duty was the cause of the victim’s injuries.
Your nursing home abuse lawyer must provide a link between the decline in the patient’s health and the inaction of the nursing home staff. This could involve an expert witness who provides insight into how neglect of the patient exacerbated their medical condition.
Creating that tie between the nursing home’s breach of duty and the victim’s harm is one of the most challenging parts of establishing negligence. A nursing home abuse lawyer must use their knowledge to accomplish this key piece.
The Victim Suffered Harm
Finally, you must prove the victim was harmed and is eligible for damages. Damages are typically monetary awards that compensate victims for their losses.
The damages available in a nursing home negligence case depend on the details of the victim’s situation and losses.
Damages can compensate the victim for tangible or intangible losses they suffered, including:
- Medical treatment costs
- Expenses for hospital stays
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Aside from compensatory damages, a victim may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages do not compensate victims but rather punish defendants and deter future actors from engaging in similar wrongdoings. In Virginia, there are no caps on compensatory damages, but there is a $350,000 cap on punitive damages.
Calculating damages is vital, as it determines the monetary value of a nursing home negligence case.
Evidence to Help Establish Nursing Home Negligence
Evidence is critical in a nursing home negligence claim, as it can substantially help strengthen the case.
Some of the most helpful evidence includes:
- Medical records
- Doctor’s notes
- Medical bills
- Surveillance footage
- Photos and videos
- Witness statements
- Expert statements
Your nursing home abuse attorney can determine the appropriate evidence required to build the case and work toward obtaining maximum compensation for the victim’s harm and losses.
Discuss Your Case with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, do not wait to take action. A delay in seeking legal guidance can worsen the situation and put the elderly victim at further risk.