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How to Prove Emotional Distress at A Nursing Home

Colburn Law

When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, the expectation is that they will receive competent and compassionate care. However, when this trust is breached, and abuse occurs, it can lead to profound harm—including emotional distress.

Victims of nursing home abuse have the right to file a lawsuit against the facility and the individuals responsible for their mistreatment. Here is what you need to know about proving emotional distress at a nursing home.

Nursing Home Abuse Can Cause Serious Emotional Distress

Abuse in nursing homes can manifest in various forms, including physical, emotional, and even financial exploitation. Each of these can lead to severe emotional distress for the resident. Victims can experience feelings of helplessness, fear, and the trauma of being mistreated or neglected.

The impact of the abuse can be long-lasting, affecting the resident’s mental health and overall well-being. Victims can develop psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where they relive the trauma through flashbacks and severe anxiety. These conditions often require ongoing psychological support and can significantly hinder the victim’s ability to enjoy life and engage in previously cherished activities.

The Elements of Negligence in Nursing Home Lawsuits

To establish a case for emotional distress in a nursing home abuse lawsuit, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the harm to occur. Four elements of negligence need to be established in these lawsuits:

  • Duty of Care: Nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide a standard of care that ensures the safety and well-being of their residents. This duty is fundamental to the trust placed in these institutions by families and the community.
  • Breach of Duty: A breach occurs when the nursing home fails to uphold this standard of care. This could be through acts of abuse, neglect, or failure to provide basic needs and protections.
  • Causation: It must be demonstrated that the breach of duty directly caused the emotional distress. Establishing this link is crucial in proving that the actions or inactions of the defendant were responsible for the resident’s suffering.
  • Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered harm as a result of the breach. In the case of emotional distress, this might include psychological treatment costs, the diagnosis of mental health conditions, or a decline in overall well-being.

Evidence Needed to Prove Emotional Distress at a Nursing Home

Proving emotional distress in a nursing home also requires a comprehensive body of evidence. These documents and records can help establish each of the elements described above and prove the effects of the abuse on the victim’s life. This evidence often includes:

  • Medical records and bills that show the psychological impact and the cost of treating the emotional distress
  • Personal journal entries that describe the daily experiences and emotional state of the resident
  • Photographic and video evidence that demonstrates the conditions and incidents that led to emotional distress
  • Insurance forms and internal documents related to the care of the resident

A Seattle Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You

A Seattle Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You

Navigating a nursing home abuse lawsuit, particularly when proving emotional distress, is a challenging endeavor. A Seattle nursing home abuse lawyer can provide invaluable support throughout this process. From gathering and presenting evidence to presenting the case, an attorney can help you and your loved ones seek justice. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your options and initiate your claim.