If you and your family plan to press criminal or civil charges against an abuser, you will need to prove the abuse in court. In order to do so, you should gather as much information as you can. But, you might not know how you can do this. For this reason, I created this list. The list talks about some of the most common forms of evidence in neglect and abuse cases. This list is a good place to start if you have to prove abuse with concrete evidence. For more information, please refer to the other pages on this website.
Photographs of Injuries
Photographs can act as strong evidence of injury. If your loved one was the victim of physical abuse, they might have physical injuries that you can photograph in order to document them. As soon as possible after the abuse occurs, try to take pictures of the injuries, as these can be used to prove that injury actually took place in court.
Inquire in the nursing home if any other residents or staff members witnessed the abuse to your loved one. If you ever witnessed this abuse, you can also testify as an eyewitness in court. Eyewitness accounts of the abuse can support your loved one’s claims in court. If someone did not see the abuse but was aware of it, such as another resident that your loved one confided in, they can also testify that the abuse took place.
While it can be painful for your loved one to recount the abuse that they experienced, their testimony can be very helpful in building a case. You can help your loved one through this experience by being supportive and reassuring. Your loved one’s statement and testimony will be essential to proving abuse.
Expert Witness Testimony
In order to prove injury, it might be a good idea to bring in an expert witness to testify. In most cases, expert witnesses are doctors that specialize in a particular area. Finding an expert witness that can explain and attest to your loved one’s injuries will help to prove that the injury actually occurred.
Proof of Injuries
Another way that your loved one can get proof of their injuries is by visiting a doctor or a psychiatrist. Whether physical or emotional damage was done, a doctor will be able to recognize and document this damage. A doctor’s report can then be used as evidence in court.
If the nursing home has video cameras in rooms, you can subpoena these videos to try to find images of neglect or abuse taking place. If the neglect or abuse was caught on tape, you can use these videos in court as evidence. Learn more about the use of cameras in nursing home on this website.
History of Abuse
In order to discredit the nursing home or the nursing home employee, you should look into their history. Does the home or the employee have a history of neglect and abuse? While this does not prove your loved one’s abuse, it is relevant information that can establish a pattern of issues in the nursing home or with the employee accused of abuse.
If your loved one visited a hospital or a doctor for issues related to abuse, you should keep the bill. A copy of the bill can be used to determine compensation later on in the case.
Medication bills are another way to document your loved one’s pain and suffering. Keeping a copy of these bills will allow the judge to determine fair compensation in the case.
Photographs of the Nursing Home
If a nursing home was not up to standard, code, or policy, and these issues led to neglect or abuse, you can take photographs of the nursing home to show the subpar state of the home. Go into your loved one’s room at the home. Are the bed sheets stained and soiled? Is there dirt and dust all over the place? Have personal belongings, such as clothing, jewelry, and makeup been strewn all over the floor? If so, you might be able to convey neglect of your loved one. In addition, certain facilities might be conducive to an abusive environment. If this is the case, you can photograph these issues and use them as evidence in court.