Types of Damages in DC Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Generally, economic and non-economic damages are available to injured persons in nursing home abuse cases. Punitive damages may also be available depending on the circumstances of the individual’s case.

It is important for an attorney to be qualified and experienced in handling nursing home abuse cases in order to determine whether that individual case would qualify for any sort of damages. For this reason, it is crucial to retain an experienced DC nursing home abuse attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Economic Damages

Economic damages is a term used to describe a category of damages awarded in certain types of cases. This form of damages typically refers to the reimbursement of medical bill expenses incurred due to the negligence of the nursing home. Economic damages may also include any other objective damages such as lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and/or future medical bills and expenses.

Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages

There is no cap on damages in D.C. Economic damages is a term used to describe a more objective form of damages, like past medical expenses and any other costs associated with medical treatment either in the past or in the future for injuries sustained in the incident giving rise to a lawsuit.

Non-economic damages are a more subjective form of damages that deals more specifically with that individual person. They are typically referred to as general categories of pain and suffering and inconvenience.


Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages is a category of damages that typically refers to more subjective issues such as pain, suffering, and inconvenience. This type of damages is usually determined by the jury in a more discretionary manner.


Non-economic damages are important because, typically, they involve issues that most affect the client in that they deal with pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Such issues are related to the day-to-day, intangible consequences of injury sustained from the negligence of another that affect the client.

Non-economic damages are also important because they place an individual value on a particular claim specific to that person and what has happened to them. Therefore, the non-economic damages affords the person an opportunity to explain to the jury how the incident has affected him or her and allow the jury to understand this information and make an informed decision in rendering a verdict.

Because of this, it is important for an attorney to understand these issues so that he or she can work to ensure that the person responsible for compensating the injuries can fully appreciate and understand the full extent of this injuries suffered. Such actions also enable the attorney to secure the best possible compensation for the injured party.

A cap in non-economic damages typically refers to a legal statutory limit on the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff can receive in any particular case.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for taking actions so unreasonable that that individual should be punished. These damages are afforded in a very limited type of case under very strict circumstances and are calculated by the jury.

However, it is important to note that punitive damages are typically never awarded in cases involving negligence, such as a nursing home abuse negligence case.

Usually, punitive damages are reserved for cases involving intentional actions and, even when there is an intentional action, the punitive damages are rarely allowed to be presented to the jury. If, for whatever reason, punitive damages are allowed to be argued to the jury, then ultimately the jury determines the amount of punitive damages it feels necessary.

Proving Damages

Damages are often established through the presentation of expert medical testimony. In DC, the Rules of Civil Procedure require an expert medical witness to opine within a reasonable degree of medical probability as to the nature and extent of the injuries sustained by the injured person; the reasonable and necessary treatment for the injuries; as well as an opinion as to the fair, reasonable and customary charge for all treatment incurred in the past, present and future for the injured person.

Damages testimony can also take the form of either the injured person themselves, a family member, or close friend who can provide testimony as to how the injured person was doing overall, and generally in life prior to the incident and thereafter, and allow the jury to make fair and accurate assessment of the injuries and damages, and fairly compensate the injured person for their injuries.

Developing a Life Care Plan

A life care plan is a form of economic damages for future care that will be incurred as a result of the negligence of the nursing home. Expert medical testimony would be required as to the inability of the injured person to perform certain tasks in the future, as well as expert testimony from an economist regarding the present value of these services and the future cost of these services.

A life care plan is not applicable in all cases, but can be very important in cases when an injured person was living independently on their own prior to the incident and can no longer do so as a result of the injuries sustained.

Proving the Claim

Damages are a necessary element of proof in order to establish a claim for nursing home abuse. Therefore, if there is abuse but no damages, or there are damages which were not caused by the abuse, then the injured person’s claim cannot go forward.

Damages, like liability, are a requisite element of a claim of nursing home abuse and therefore absent actual damages a nursing home abuse claim cannot move forward.

Hiring a Lawyer

A person should hire a qualified personal injury attorney to handle their claims because an attorney can draw upon their experience in handling these issues. Such experience allows the attorney to accurately and appropriately advise the client on what, if any, compensation a jury would typically award in non-economic damages based upon the facts and circumstances of that individual case.

A D.C. nursing home attorney to evaluate the claim and determine what, if any, damages are available to the injured person or their family. Non-economic damages are a more subjective form of damages in that they do not correlate directly with past medical expenses or other direct costs.

The qualified and trained personal injury attorney can draw upon their knowledge, training, and experience in handling these types of cases in the past and advise the injured person or his or her family as to what types of non-economic damages may be available to the injured person.

In addition, an attorney will serve as your advocate throughout your case. An experienced attorney can support you in your claim, and will work diligently to help you navigate the legal process.