Will Expert Witnesses Play a Role in My Case?

December 09, 2019

by Donaldson & Weston

personal injury attorney

Possibly. The answer to this question depends on the facts of your case and whether a dispute arises.

Your West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorney might consult with various experts when building your case. For instance, your lawyer might bring in a life care planner and doctors who specialize in your loved one’s illness or injury to assist with calculating the value of medical care. Your lawyer may also speak with a current or former director of a nursing home regarding whether the standards of care were breached.

Beyond the investigation, expert witnesses may be deposed by your lawyer during discovery. Such deposition is often needed to overcome disputes regarding liability, causation, or damages. For example, if the defense asserts that the standards of care were fulfilled and neither negligence nor abuse took place, your attorney might depose a nursing home director or medical expert regarding how the duty of care owed to your loved one was breached. If the defense contends that you are trying to claim damages for a preexisting injury or illness, your lawyer might depose your loved one’s treating physician and medical experts who specialize in his or her condition to prove causation.

Our West Palm Beach nursing home neglect lawyers work closely with carefully vetted medical and technical experts. We always strive to build the strongest case possible before settlement negotiations begin, and this often requires us to consult with experts in a variety of disciplines. If no settlement is reached early in the proceedings, we will know whether expert witness deposition would contribute to your case and how to get the most value out of such deposition.

How Will My Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Prove Damages?

Nursing home abuse and neglect can result in both physical and psychological scars. The trauma suffered by victims can result in persistent emotional distress that affects nearly every aspect of life. As such, medical bills are not the only costs that the at-fault party might have to cover; your loved one may also be entitled to non-economic damages and perhaps even punitive damages.

Depending on the circumstances, the following compensatory damages may be recoverable in a nursing home abuse or neglect case:

  • Healthcare costs the victim has already incurred;
  • Medical bills the victim is reasonably certain to incur in the future;
  • Other economic damages arising from the tort;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Hedonic damages (i.e. loss of enjoyment in life).

If the defendant’s misconduct was especially egregious, punitive damages might also be available. These are intended to punish reprehensible conduct and to deter similar behaviors in the future.

At Donaldson & Weston, we know what it takes to maximize the potential value of a nursing home abuse or neglect claim. Below are a few kinds of evidence we may use to prove damages in your case:

  • The victim’s medical records;
  • Deposition from the treating physician and medical experts;
  • Surveillance footage of the incident;
  • The police report, if applicable;
  • Photos of visible injuries; and
  • Deposition from people close to the victim who have noticed changes in personality or mood since the mistreatment.