Liability and Damages in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Most of the time, the damages in nursing home abuse cases are not only the physical injuries or the mental injuries that occur, but also the cause associated with either treating individuals or providing additional or different care. Overall, it is the facility’s responsibility to provide an individual with care and respect, but when they do not, the individual can experience life-changing injuries and medical bills which can be burdening for loved ones. For these reasons, it is important to understand what damages may be available to you or a loved one, and consult with a Clearwater nursing home abuse lawyer right away so they can serve as a guide throughout the legal process.
Types of Damages Available
Typically in nursing home abuse cases, there is no distinction between what a person can recover in a nursing home case versus what they could recover in any other negligence case. However, the practical application is that nursing home cases involve recovering for pain and suffering, including the suffering from physical or mental abuse. A person would also be able to recover damages for any additional costs that have been incurred because of medical treatment or for future care that may be necessary based on damages caused the negligence.
Proving damages in nursing home abuse cases requires being able to show that a particular injury, set of injuries, or change in an individual’s condition was related to some activity that occurred or an omission that occurred inside of a facility, and then being able to document it.
In a nursing home liability and negligence case, the elements to prove are duty, breach of duty, causation, and injuries—or an activity that causes an injury.
An attorney may look for medical records, surveillance, the testimony of facility workers, and sometimes the testimony of other residents. An attorney can also look for the standards set forth in particular nursing homes or assisted living facilities, the standard of operating procedures, and if people are actually following the rules or if the rules are there just to look good but are not actually enforce them.
An injured person or loved ones can help an attorney by documenting events and by providing them access to medical records and medical documentation that may be otherwise outside of the obligations of a nursing home to provide. Family members need to be able to communicate with an attorney about their loved one’s personality traits and specific needs and requirements because an attorney may not know the patient as intimately as a family member is going to know them.
Impact of Care Plans
A life care plan is nothing more than a set of directives that an individual has put together in order to notify their family members and loved ones about what their wishes are regarding their care and their life. A life care plan impacts damages because, sometimes, if an individual has a plan set forth telling their family how they want to be treated, that gives an attorney guidance as to what potentially has been lost by an individual because they put their wishes into writing, providing a standard that could be used to show the facility’s negligence.
How They Are Handled
An attorney can try to bifurcate a case, where they can argue damages in a nursing home abuse case to one jury and then if there is a verdict on damages, they can argue liability to one trier of fact, like a jury, and if there is a verdict against a facility on liabilities, then they can argue damages to somebody else. Bifurcating procedures is a tool to try to avoid having a juror angry at a facility.
Arbitration clauses are also common in a lot of nursing home and assisted living facility contracts in Florida. Arbitration is preferable for nursing homes and assisted living facilities because the person making a decision is not a jury; it is an individual that is more clinical about their assessment. Normally, the arbiters will concede on liability, however, what they argue is damages.