Establishing Liability in a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case

Nursing home abuse and neglect injure thousands of people throughout the United States each year. These injuries that victims sustain can often be serious and have a significant impact on residents’ quality of life.

In many cases, the injurious conduct goes unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years.

Fortunately, victims of nursing home abuse or neglect often are legally entitled to compensation under Arizona law. In order to recover, however, they often need to be able to prove that the intentional or negligent conduct of nursing home staff was the cause of their injuries.

For this reason, victims should always retain an attorney familiar with representing people who have been injured in nursing homes.

The representation of a lawyer will ensure that victims obtain the compensation to which they are entitled and that the facility is held responsible for the wrongful conduct of its employees.

Nursing Home Cases Can Be Complicated

Nursing home cases can be extremely complicated, as they often involve state law, case law, and state and federal regulations that apply to nursing home facilities.

Very generally speaking, in order to recover for neglect, victims need to be able to present evidence that the conduct of a nursing home employee fell below the accepted standard of care or violated a regulation, and that that conduct was the cause of their injury.

In cases of abuse, victims need to show that the intentional conduct of a nursing home employee was the cause of their injuries.

Some specific instances of nursing home employee conduct that could very easily lead to an actionable claim include:

  • Hitting, punching, pushing, or slapping
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolation
  • Failure to provide food or water
  • Ignoring requests for care
  • Failing to provide a sanitary environment
  • Negligent hiring
  • Withholding medication
  • Overmedication
  • Unnecessary use of restraints
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Sexual abuse
  • Failure to supervise
  • Medical errors

These are just a few examples of conduct that could result in compensable losses, and it is important for anyone who believes that they or their loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect to discuss their options with an experienced attorney.

A lawyer will thoroughly review your case and determine whether you have a claim to pursue or whether your case justifies looking into the matter further.

Evidence Can be Difficult to Obtain

Another challenging aspect to nursing home injury cases is proving the allegations of abuse or neglect.

In order to hold anyone responsible for the injuries that occurred, you are required to provide sufficient evidence that the party was legally liable due to intentional acts, negligence, or a certain legal relationship with the person who caused the harm.

One of the main types of evidence used in a nursing home abuse or neglect case is medical records of the injured resident.

When a resident gets injured, they should be promptly examined and treated, often by medical professionals in the nursing home. Workers who wrongfully caused the injuries may state that the injuries occurred for another reason besides their own wrongdoing.

For example, a nursing home staff member who pushed a resident to the ground may claim the resident fell due to their own unsteadiness. For this reason, medical records of nursing homes may be unreliable and may not accurately represent what really happened.

Another type of evidence that can be used in nursing home cases is the testimony of the injured victim. It can be difficult to obtain an accurate portrayal of what happened, however, if the resident is suffering from dementia or other degenerative cognitive disorders.

The nursing home may argue that the resident did not remember what happened or was confused about what happened, which calls the veracity of this type of evidence into question.

While gathering sufficient evidence in nursing home cases may be difficult at times, it is possible to prove your claims with the help of a knowledgeable attorney who has the resources to engage in a thorough discovery process.

An attorney will also know how to challenge any conflicting evidence or information presented by the nursing home to try to offer an alternative explanation for the injuries.

Victims Should Contact an Attorney as Soon as They Can

Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect should be certain to call an attorney as soon as they can after they have sustained an injury.

There are many reasons for this, but two of the most important are that personal injury claims are subject a strict statute of limitations in Arizona and waiting to start your case could result in the loss or destruction of evidence critical to your case.

When you call an attorney, he or she will investigate your claim and gather any evidence that may be necessary for your case, maximizing your chances of recovering compensation for your losses.

In addition, having the representation of an experienced lawyer will ensure that you do not inadvertently say or do anything that could hurt your chances of recovering compensation.

Finally, it is important to understand that having an attorney working on your case from the beginning will not result in higher legal fees.

This is because personal injury lawyers tend to work on a contingent fee-basis, which means that any legal fees that they collect are an agreed-upon percentage of any award or settlement the lawyer ultimately recovers on your behalf.

Therefore, personal injury clients are not billed for the hours that they lawyer works on their case, as occurs in certain other areas of law.

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