Proving Damages In Cases Involving The Elderly

Proving damages in nursing home abuse or neglect cases can be a complex affair. There are a vast number of considerations to be made when gauging how much compensation one is entitled to. It is easy to overlook certain damages established by law and a lack of familiarity with these laws could prevent recovery of a truly fair and appropriate amount.

In order to get the full and fair compensation you or your elderly loved one deserves, you will need the assistance of the experienced Oklahoma City nursing home abuse attorneys at Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst. We are deeply knowledgeable about the rights of nursing home residents and can help you preserve them inside and outside of the court. For a free, comprehensive consultation, call us today at 800-539-0652.

Types Of Damages

When determining a victim's compensation amount, the court recognizes an extensive array of damages. It is important that you record all instances of suffering that can be attributed to the fault of the nursing home and consider all of the following types of damages when compiling evidence for your case:

1. Necessary and reasonable medical expenses;

2. Past expenses for related medical visits and treatments;

3. Related expenses that will be incurred in the future;

4. Suffering caused by conditions associated with prolonged immobilization;

5. Pain and suffering from physical injuries;

6. Future pain and suffering;

7. "Phantom pain" and other less tangible pains that may be unapparent to others;

8. Mental and emotional suffering;

9. Harm from lack of sleep;

10. Past and future impairment of the ability to live a comfortable and joyful life.

Mental Suffering

Many people hold the misconception that allegations of mental suffering do not hold water in the courtroom. However, this is not the case. It is established scientific fact that our mental well-being is integral to our health and quality of life. The court acknowledges this and allots rewards accordingly.

You may recover damages for the following types of mental suffering:

1. Fear of the effects of an injury while awaiting help;

2. Fear experienced in anticipation of an injury incident;

3. Fear experienced when considering other possibilities surrounding the injury;

4. Anxiety over one's health and future well-being;

5. Anxiety over the potential need for future surgery and treatment;

6. Fear of increased vulnerability to future injury;

7. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Disfigurement

Concern over one's appearance is not a shallow, frivolous trait, but one shared by nearly every individual, young or old. Disfigurement caused by scars, amputation, hair loss or other physical damages can negatively impact one's sense of pride and dignity. This can result in depression, anxiety and other chronic mental conditions. For this reason, a victim may recover losses related to his or her disfigurement.

Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life

An injury can potentially alter one's life to the point where one is not able to live normally. What constitutes a normal life is the ability to engage in activities, both functional and recreational, without hindrance. The loss of this essential ability defines what is referred to as "the loss of enjoyment of life." The court recognizes the suffering such a lost can bring about and may duly enforce compensation.

Shortened Life Expectancy

Although shortened life expectancy is not recognized by the courts as a separate damage, it may affect other damages such as mental anguish, decreased earning capacity and future suffering. The jury considers established standard life expectancy tables when determining the appropriate reward for a plaintiff's future damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer can argue for enhanced damages due to medical and technological innovations that may increase life expectancy beyond what the standard tables indicate. Your good habits and other health practices may also be used to support greater damages.

Punitive Damages

Nursing home injury cases are distinct in that their plaintiffs tend to be elderly and generally in poor health. Due to these circumstances, damages such as lost work and wages, future pain and suffering and future medical expenses become less relevant; on the other hand, more immediate damages like punitive damages — meant to punish the nursing home for their abhorrent behavior — become more significant.

Punitive damages are often awarded in cases where malicious or reckless behavior on part of the nursing home is established. Every nursing home resident possesses statutory rights, and if those rights are violated, they may recover related damages.

Wrongful Death

If a nursing home resident died due to the nursing home's misconduct, the resident's survivor(s) may file a wrongful death claim and recover damages for:

1. Loss of consortium;

2. Loss of parental advice and guidance;

3. Loss of the companionship of the deceased person;

4. Mental anguish and grief of the survivor(s); and,

5. Funeral and burial expenses.

Justice For You Or Your Loved One

The legal team at Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst understands how painful it can be to have elderly loved ones suffer when they should be living out their days in comfort and peace. We do not tolerate neglectful or abusive nursing homes and will passionately help you bring these unlawful facilities to justice through civil or criminal litigation. Someone will answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also fill out an online contact form.