The Challenge of Proving Causation in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

Nursing homes in Florida are required to carry liability insurance at all times. Unfortunately, insurance carriers often invest considerable resources into challenging the claims that are brought against them. They might try to assert that the cause of action is not covered by the policy, or they might try to defend their policyholder against your claims by disputing liability, causation, or damages.

Our Martin County nursing home abuse lawyers have decades of experience taking on unscrupulous insurance companies who will do anything in their power to protect their bottom line. We will build your claim as if we are going to trial, performing an extensive investigation and compiling all available evidence so we are prepared for all eventualities. We will anticipate the disputes that are most likely to arise and prepare to counter them.

Often, a nursing home’s liability coverage limits are too low to pay for the damages incurred. There have been multiple bills proposed over recent years aimed at requiring nursing homes to carry higher liability coverage limits, but still today, many facilities choose to purchase lower-cost, lower-coverage policies. If your damages exceed the defendant’s insurance coverage, we can help you assess other potential avenues for pursuing compensation such as the defendant’s assets.

The Challenge of Proving Causation in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

It is almost certainly the case that your loved one had an injury or illness when the abuse or neglect occurred. The defense might try to exploit this fact by asserting that your family member would have incurred the medical bills and other damages being claimed even if the abuse or neglect did not happen. If successful, this defense could reduce the award of damages since the plaintiff must prove that the damages would not have occurred but for the abuse or neglect. This is called proving “causation.”

Causation can be challenging to prove in nursing home abuse and neglect cases since victims usually have pre-existing medical conditions. Fortunately, a resourceful nursing home abuse attorney in Martin County may be able to establish causation using the victim’s healthcare documents from before and after the abuse, as well as the deposition of his or her treating physician and other medical experts. Other potentially valuable evidence includes photos of injuries, surveillance footage, eyewitness deposition, and caregiver keycard data.

Does Vicarious Liability Apply in Nursing Home Neglect Cases?

In many circumstances, yes, vicarious liability applies in nursing home neglect cases. The term “vicarious liability” means one party can be held liable for the negligence of another party. Your personal injury attorney  will inform you that in the context of nursing home neglect lawsuits, the employer (the nursing home) may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of its employees. For vicarious liability to apply, it must be proven that the employee’s act of negligence happened while he or she was performing duties within the scope and course of his or her employment, and the actions of the employee were subject to the employer’s right of control. In other words, if a caregiver abused or neglected your loved one while on duty at the nursing home, there’s a good chance you would be able to bring a claim directly against the facility and not just the liable caregiver.


Call 772-266-5555 to speak with a personal injury attorney or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a nursing home abuse attorney in Florida.