• Gabriel Sutton

Proving Causation: A Critical Step in Nursing Home Abuse Cases


If you intend to bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a nursing home, your case will most likely be filed on the basis of negligence. To prevail in a negligence claim, you will have to prove four primary elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.


Naturally, different kinds of scenarios pose different challenges for plaintiffs when it comes to proving these four elements. In nursing home negligence cases, for example, it’s especially common for defendants to dispute the third element, “causation.” This is because nursing home residents usually have at least one preexisting injury or illness. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have moved into a long-term care facility in the first place.


That means if you’re putting together a nursing home negligence claim, you should be prepared for the defendant to challenge the cause of your loved one’s damages. For example, they might assert that your family member would have been injured or died regardless of the negligence.


To resolve such a dispute in your favor, you will need evidence that proves the injury or death would not have happened but for the negligence. Such evidence might include:


  • The victim’s medical records;

  • Surveillance footage;

  • Deposition from the victim’s medical providers; and

  • Deposition from geriatric care specialists.


A resourceful nursing home abuse attorney should be able to help you obtain all of the above; however, it’s important to remember that proving causation is just one component of building a winning personal injury claim. You’ll also have to prove that a breach of duty occurred and that your family suffered damages as a result. Evidence that will contribute to these elements of the case might include:


  • Photographs of any bedsores, lacerations, or bruises;

  • Deposition from other residents or the individuals who visit them often;

  • The facility’s hiring practices and training manuals;

  • Nursing logs;

  • Hospital records;

  • Entries from the victim’s daily journal;

  • Medical bills;

  • Receipts and invoices for expenses your family incurred as a result of the mistreatment; and

  • Deposition from friends or relatives who witnessed the victim’s decline firsthand.


When Should I Call a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?


Generally speaking, it’s wise to seek legal counsel as soon as you suspect abuse or negligence. For tort cases in New York, the statute of limitations ranges from one to three years. If you want to sue a government facility, though, you must file a notice of claim within just 90 days. You then have one year and 90 days to file a formal lawsuit.


Discuss Your Case with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in New York


If you suspect a loved one is being neglected or abused by nursing home staff, contact Leitner Varughese. We’ve won more than $100 million in nursing home negligence and malpractice verdicts and settlements.


By letting us handle the logistics of your claim, you can focus on taking care of your family. We represent clients throughout New York City, Long Island, and New York State. Call 855-585-2969 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney in New York.

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The information you obtain on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.  The Firm's attorneys acted as trial counsel, attorneys of record and/or otherwise facilitated in the recoveries of the stated verdict and settlements.  Certain verdicts and settlements achieved by trial counsel and/or outside counsel.  Attorney advertising.