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Negligence and causation in nursing home abuse cases

A properly run, caring nursing home can make a huge difference in an elderly loved one's life while at the same time putting that individual's loved ones at ease. Although regulations have been implemented to ensure patient safety, many Florida nursing homes still fail to properly care for their residents. Sometimes nursing home residents are harmed by neglect, such as inadequate nutrition,failure to supervise or medication errors, but other time injuries and death are caused by nursing home abuse.

Regardless of the type of harm caused, a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse may be able to seek compensation for his or her damages. In order to succeed on such a claim, though, a victim must prove negligence and causation. To prove negligence, a victim must establish the applicable standard of care and illustrate, through evidence, how that standard of care was breached. Oftentimes to satisfy this element a victim will need to have an expert testify as to what procedures and treatments are appropriate.

Causation can be difficult to prove in a nursing home neglect or abuse case, because many nursing homes will try to claim that the injury was an inevitable result of the victim's age. With this in mind, a defendant may try to argue that the victim had pre-existing conditions and therefore there is no causal link between the breach of care and the injuries suffered. However, even if this is argued, a victim may still be able to show that his or her condition was made worse by the breach of care. Again, it may be beneficial to have a medical expert to testify about this.

Pursuing a nursing home negligence or abuse case can be challenging on account of the legal issues that can come into play. Those who wish to pursue a claim in hopes of recovering compensation for their damages should be sure to prepare as thoroughly as possible before moving forward. It may help to seek the advice of an attorney, as this post cannot serve as the basis for a lawsuit or guarantee any particular outcome in one's case.

Source: FindLaw, "Nursing Home Abuse Claims," accessed on Sept. 30, 2016

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