Can You File a Lawsuit for Elder Abuse Without Visible Damage in Texas?
Elder abuse and nursing home abuse are some of the most terrible cases of neglect and abuse that our attorneys deal with. Seniors in nursing homes can be abused in many ways, not all of which leave physical marks and signs of abuse that make what happened clear to a jury.
In some cases, proving elder abuse without signs of visible damage is difficult, especially if the only evidence of abuse is the victim’s statements. However, juries often believe victims of elder abuse that have no reason to lie, and other evidence – such as witness statements and similar testimony from other nursing home residents – can help back up claims. Moreover, some signs of elder abuse are obvious even if there are no visible marks or bruises, such as in cases of malnourishment.
If you are a senior who was the victim of elder abuse or you are a loved one helping a parent or grandparent pursue an elder abuse claim against a caregiver or nursing home, call The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Arlington elder abuse victim attorneys offer free consultations and may be able to help with your case. Call us at (817) 476-1797.
Suing for Elder Abuse Without Signs of Physical Abuse
Bruising and other signs of physical abuse can be helpful when making a claim against a caregiver or nursing home for elder abuse. However, not every case of abuse involves physical abuse – and not every case of physical abuse leaves bruising and other visible injuries. Nonetheless, victims and their families may still be able to claim damages for the abuse they suffered.
Many victims of elder abuse do not face physical abuse at all. Instead, verbal abuse and psychological abuse undermine their rights and dignity and cause just as much – or even more damage – to the victim. Emotional distress and psychological distress are common outcomes of elder abuse, especially if the victim is left alone, has their calls for help denied, or is constantly demeaned and called names by their caregiver.
Other abuse qualifies as physical abuse because it affects the person’s body, but there might not be physical signs of abuse. For instance, leaving a patient in a soiled bed, leaving them lying on the floor, or neglecting to feed them are all physical examples of abuse, but they might not leave clear signs. Sometimes, photos of the victim before and after the abuse can show things like excess weight loss, which can help provide evidence of abuse.
Even in cases of serious physical abuse, things like bruises might not be such clear-cut evidence of abuse anyway. Many older adults are on blood thinners and other drugs that make them bruise very easily. Moreover, they may be more prone to injuries like broken bones. It can be difficult even in cases of abuse to prove to a jury that a bruise or a broken bone was the result of abuse and not normal injuries from bumping against a table or falling down.
In any case, it is important to work with a lawyer to help prove your injury case. Whether there are physical signs or not, you will need more evidence to support a claim of elder abuse, and an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer can help you bring forward this evidence.
Other Evidence for Proving Elder Abuse Lawsuits in Texas
To prove your elder abuse claim in a court of law, you will need to provide enough evidence to convince the jury that it is more likely than not that the defendant did indeed cause the abuse. The defendant will usually claim that any injuries or other effects the victim suffered actually happened because of something other than abuse, or they will claim that the victim is exaggerating the effects of non-abusive behaviors. To meet this standard and overcome the defenses, you usually need to provide more explicit evidence of abuse along with evidence of injury and harm.
Some of the best evidence in elder abuse cases is eyewitness testimony. The victim’s testimony is often essential, but the defendant may try to claim that the defendant has memory issues or mental issues that make their testimony unreliable. Because of this, it is best if you have a family member or other residents who witnessed the abuse and can back up the victim’s testimony.
Other “circumstantial” evidence can help corroborate the victim’s claims. Evidence from call logs, medical charts, and other records at the nursing home can also demonstrate what the nursing home did wrong. For example, a nursing home abuse victim’s claim that they were left in a soiled bed would be backed up if there are records that the victim called for help and help was not sent until hours or days later.
Evidence of the harm suffered could include pictures of injuries, rashes, and other physical signs of abuse. Additionally, logs of weight loss, a decline in mental acuity, and other changes can be presented. Testimony about the psychological effects of abuse can also be good evidence of harm, even when there is nothing for the jury to physically see.
Call Our Texas Elder Abuse Lawyers for Help with Your Case
If you or a loved one suffered elder abuse in Texas, The Queenan Law Firm might be able to help. Call our Texas elder abuse attorneys today and set up a free case consultation. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.