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How to Prove Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is an unfortunate nationwide phenomena. Luckily, there are steps you can to take to ensure justice is served when a loved one is a victim of it. The Michigan nursing home abuse lawyers take a look at your options here.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost two million people in the United States now reside in a nursing home. With more people living in nursing homes, and less money allocated to nursing facilities by Medicare and private health insurance, the rate of nursing home injuries due to negligence is increasing.

If a person is injured in a nursing home due to an employee’s negligence, traditionally the first step is to set up a claim against the nursing home facility. This usually involves explaining your theory of liability against the home to the insurance company that insures the home and possibility a risk manager and why you are entitled to compensation.

However, often this does not get you very far. Therefore, the next step is to file a lawsuit.

The Lawsuit:
A civil lawsuit, also known as a Complaint, is filed in a circuit court and lays out the parties involved as well as the alleged negligent acts and statutory violations the nursing home committed. The parties are the plaintiffs (injured person and potential family members) and the defendants, typically the nursing home itself and the employees who committed the negligence.

The nursing home will respond, or file an Answer with the court. From there a period known as “discovery” occurs. This is when both sides can obtain documents, take depositions of the parties and experts, and exchange other information that may be used at trial.

During this time the trial judge will set up conferences to try to get the parties to settle. If the parties are not able to settle, a trial date will be set up by the court.

Proving Your Case:
To prove negligence against the nursing home, you have to prove a few things. First, you have to demonstrate the nursing home owned a duty of care to the resident. Next, you must prove the nursing home breached that duty of care (failing to monitor, failing to prevent sores). Typically this means proving the nursing home did not follow the normal standard of care for a nursing home in the same geographical area.

Next, it must be shown the negligence was the proximate cause of the injury, and not something else. Last, you must prove damages – or the various harms that were caused by the nursing home’s negligence.

Types of Damages:
There are many different types of damages a nursing home victim can show. During the discovery phase, the plaintiff must present to the nursing home how the damages occurred and why the plaintiff is entitled to them. These damages include:

• Actual past medical expenses;
• Future necessary and reasonable medical expenses;
• Pain and suffering from physical injuries;
• Pain and suffering likely to occur in the future;
• Loss of ability to enjoy life, both in the past and future; and
• Mental anguish

The list of potential damages is much more extensive than this. Because most nursing home residents are elderly, insurance companies and their lawyers love to minimize damages by simply stating the person is old and therefore not worthy of real money. They will bring in experts to minimize damages and demean the life of the plaintiff.

The key is to fight back and show in a meaningful way the quality of life the plaintiff enjoyed before the negligence, and how the plaintiff’s life changed drastically following the negligent act. A good law firm will hire experts to show why there was negligence but also how that negligence will affect the plaintiff for the rest of his or her live. Family members and friend should also testify to paint a vivid picture of horrible affects the negligence caused on both the plaintiff and their relationships.

The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. represents Michigan nursing home abuse cases throughout the state of Michigan. Our team of Michigan nursing home injury lawyers is ready to fight to ensure you and your family receives fair compensation and justice.

Please contact us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for a free phone consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case.