Proving a Complaint Against a Nursing Home

An individual who decides to file a complaint against a nursing home has to show proof of the losses and suffering as a consequence of the conduct of the nursing home employees, and must try to present as much as information on the following forms of damages:

  • Actual past expenses for doctors, nursing and laboratory fees, the hospital, prosthetic gadgets, medications, and the like;
  • Projected future expenses;
  • Needed and reasonable medical expenses;
  • The pain and suffering from the physical injuries sustained;
  • “Phantom pain” and other subjective pains that may not be easily seen by others;
  • Harm or injury from the conditions as a result of prolonged restriction;
  • Mental anguish suffered;
  • Pain and suffering that may reasonably to happen in the future;
  • Past and future loss of the ability to enjoy life;
  • Harm or injury from the loss of sleep

Mental Suffering

Financial damages may be given to the resident of nursing home or his/her survivor, for the suffering and pain, disfigurement, and loss of ability to enjoy life. These damages are given for both physical and mental pain. The victim may recover damages from mental suffering includes the following:

  • The fear suffered after the injury regarding other things that could have occurred
  • The fear of the need for future surgery as a consequence of the injury sustained
  • The fear of the outcomes of the injury while waiting for assistance
  • The fear of increased susceptibility to future injuries
  • The fear suffered during the time when one realizes that the incident tends to cause injury is going to happen and the time of the incident
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety about physical health and future well-being


The elderly are entitled to damages for disfigurement caused by another. Disfigurement can include scars, amputation, hair loss, or any other injury that affects one’s appearance. The dignity of senior citizens should be respected and preserved whenever possible, and if it is affected by a disfiguring injury, an appropriate complaint against the nursing home for monetary damages should be made.

Loss of Enjoyment of life

Most states allow additional recovery when an injury interferes with a plaintiff’s ability to lead a normal life. The loss of the enjoyment of life is generally understood to mean one is deprived of the ordinary pleasures of living a full life. With an elderly client, this could mean the ability to play with one’s grandchildren, to walk and exercise as one did prior to an injury, to communicate meaningfully with others, or to engage in pastimes one previously enjoyed.

Shortened Life Expectancy

Courts generally do not recognize shortened life expectancy as a separate injury, but it may be considered in determining the seriousness of an injury, decreased earning capacity, pain and suffering, and mental suffering from the knowledge that one’s life will be shorter. Jurors are typically told to determine a plaintiff’s future damages based on standard life expectancy tables; however, due to improvements in medical science and living conditions over the years, an attorney might argue that life expectancy was or is actually greater than the standard tables would indicate.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages may be awarded in cases where it is shown that a nursing home engaged in malicious or reckless conduct. In such cases, it is sometimes argued that the nursing home resident was deprived of his or her statutory rights.

Structured Settlements

Structured settlements refer to future regular payments instead of one lump sum payment to an injured person. These settlements are applied popularly in personal injury litigation nowadays but these entail special considerations for the elderly persons. A structured settlement offer safety and income for elderly people without tax and does need management. One should consider that when an older person dies sooner than expected, then he/she losses the benefits of future payments. Furthermore, the injured older person can be entitled to structured settlement so that his/her grandchildren or other beneficiaries will also receive settlement payments after his/her death.

Damages Recoverable By Survivors, Heirs, or Dependents

In a case against a nursing home where the resident dies, the survivor of the resident may file for action and recover damages for the following:

  • Loss of parental guidance and advice
  • Mental suffering and grief of the survivors
  • Loss of relationship/consortium
  • Loss of companionship of the deceased individual
  • Funeral and burial expenses

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