Burdens of Proof and Negligent Nursing Homes

Burdens of Proof and Negligent Nursing Homes

As one woman will soon find out, merely filing a lawsuit alleging negligence is only the first step toward recovery.  When you or someone you love is injured because of the careless or reckless actions of another, it can be difficult to focus on anything except overcoming and healing from the injury.  What many people do not realize is that it is also your right to recover damages from the person (or entity) that caused the injury.  Filing a lawsuit to recover monetary damages can help you and your loved ones move forward with your lives, but it also can serve as a warning to wrongdoers.  Lawsuits and damage awards in negligence cases are not only designed to make an injured party whole, but they also serve as a deterrence to others who believe that they are above the law.

The Lawsuit

A Homewood, Illinois woman recently filed a lawsuit against the nursing home that was responsible for the care of her elderly mother.  She also filed suit against the hospital that treated her mother, as she claims that the staff there failed to provide the level of care required and contributed to her mother’s passing.  Through the lawsuit, the woman is seeking over $50,000 in damages stemming from the maltreatment of her mother.  According to one report, the plaintiff’s mother developed painful bed sores that went untreated by nursing home staff for months before they became infected and required surgery.  The lawsuit claims that the nursing home was negligent by failing to properly treat the sores, and the hospital was negligent in the care her mother received once the infection grew worse.  To make matters worse for the nursing home, there are reports of other lawsuits filed against it for seemingly similar negligence.

Prove It, and Damages Will Come

As with all litigation, both parties are provided an opportunity to present evidence to support their positions on the matter involved.  The plaintiff’s first burden that must be overcome is during the pleading stage.  He or she must allege sufficient facts that, if true, would be a violation of a law or duty.  It is common for defendants to first argue that this initial burden has not been met in motions leading up to a trial.  Typically, a court will determine if a plaintiff met this burden and if so, move the case forward toward trial.  The defendant can then present evidence at trial that either proves the plaintiff’s allegations to not be true, proves that they have a defense that protects them from liability, or (more often) a combination of the two.

If the plaintiff is successful in his/her argument at trial, and is able to convince a jury that the defendant caused the injury, the jury will then typically also make a determination on the amount of damages that the defendant must pay to the plaintiff.  These damages vary significantly from case to case, and can be very large if a jury determines that punitive damages should be awarded as a punishment to the defendant.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.


When someone you love is injured it can be a very stressful time during which it is difficult to focus on anything other than helping them recover.  It is during this time that a skilled lawyer, who is knowledgeable about negligence claims and litigation, can provide you with answers and help you move forward.  If you have questions and want to speak with an experienced negligence attorney, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C today for a consultation.  Our attorneys can be your guides and trusted advisors during your darkest times.



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