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How To Prove Emotional Distress At A Nursing Home

Colburn Law

Nursing home abuse refers to any form of harm that comes to elderly residents in long-term care facilities, encompassing physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse, as well as neglect. The consequences of this mistreatment can be profound, leading to severe emotional distress.

If you or a loved one has experienced emotional distress due to nursing home abuse, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the facility. However, proving emotional distress can be a complex task. Contact a Seattle nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and begin your journey to prove emotional distress.

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress encompasses a wide range of psychological symptoms resulting from an adverse experience or trauma. In cases of nursing home abuse, emotional distress might manifest as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of appetite, insomnia, or a pervasive sense of fear and insecurity. These symptoms can significantly impair an elderly person’s quality of life, affecting their ability to maintain relationships, perform daily activities, or even enjoy their day-to-day life.

Establishing Liability in a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

When nursing home abuse leads to emotional distress, the victim deserves justice. By filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit, these individuals and their families can recover compensation to help pay for the losses that they have suffered due to mistreatment. However, there are certain facts, known as elements, that need to be proven to recover this compensation.

  • Duty of Care: First, the plaintiff must establish that the nursing home owed them a duty of care. Nursing homes have a legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents. This involves providing a safe environment, adequate medical care, and protection from harm.
  • Breach of Duty: If a nursing home fails to uphold its duty of care, whether through neglect, inadequate staffing, or abusive behavior by staff, it has breached its duty. Allowing abuse to occur is an example of this type of breach.
  • Causation: Next, it must be demonstrated that the breach of duty directly resulted in the harm suffered by the resident. This harm includes emotional distress as well as any other injuries that occurred.
  • Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must show that the emotional distress led to damages, such as medical expenses for psychological treatment, pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life.

Evidence to Help Prove Emotional Distress at a Nursing Home

Proving emotional distress and the elements discussed above requires solid and comprehensive evidence. Several documents and testimonies could be leveraged in this situation, including the following:

  • Medical Records: These documents can help demonstrate the resident’s emotional and physical health before and after the alleged distress. Medical records can highlight changes in mental health, prescriptions for anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders, and notes from psychological evaluations.
  • Witness Testimony: Testimonies from other residents, nursing home staff, family members, and visitors can provide firsthand accounts of the resident’s emotional state and any witnessed neglect or abuse.
  • Personal Diaries or Notes: Journals or notes kept by the resident can serve as a direct window into their emotional state over time. Entries detailing their experiences, feelings, and any incidents of neglect or abuse can be powerful evidence of the emotional impact of their treatment in the nursing home.

If you plan on filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit, an attorney can help you build a compelling case for damages. Contact the attorneys at Colburn Law for a free consultation.