Why Are Credible Witnesses Key to Nursing Home Injury Claims?

Posted by PKSD New Mexico Law Firm on March 18, 2024 in Nursing Home Abuse Nursing Home Neglect

young female lawyer arguing nursing home injury claim in courtWhen nursing home negligence or abuse injures you or someone you love, you may be eligible to recover compensation for damages. Nursing home injury claims pose many challenges, however, especially when it comes to gathering evidence. Credible witnesses, when available, can play a key role in bolstering an injury claim against a nursing home facility.

Below, our attorneys at PKSD in New Mexico, explain more about different types of witnesses, including what makes them credible for nursing home injury claims and how they can help your case.

Do you need legal help for an elderly loved one who suffered harm in a nursing home? Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Albuquerque have extensive experience helping residents injured due to nursing home negligence or abuse. We are deeply committed to holding at-fault parties accountable for their negligent actions.

Not sure if you have a case? Call to request a free consultation today. We are here to help you.

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What Types of Witnesses Could Help Strengthen a Nursing Home Injury Claim?

When personal injuries occur, other people may have seen what happened, or at least the aftermath. This is true in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other facilities that provide long-term care to elderly residents and others with medical, physical or mental challenges.

Various types of witnesses may be seen as credible and could therefore provide evidence that helps to strengthen a nursing home injury case.

Eyewitnesses

An eyewitness to a nursing home injury could be someone who observed abuse as it occurred. It could also be a doctor or nurse who tended to a resident and directly observed the injuries or other visible wounds.

Eyewitnesses to a resident’s injuries may include:

  • The injured resident: A victim may sometimes be able to testify on his or her behalf. Unfortunately, in many cases, the reliability of a resident’s testimony might be called into question, especially if the victim suffers from any medical, mental or physical impairments. If a resident has been injured by an abusive caregiver, he or she might be unable to communicate out of fear of retaliation.
  • Other residents: Sometimes another resident who witnessed the abuse may be able to provide credible testimony. In a nursing home, however, there may be similar issues about the reliability of statements they may make.
  • Staff or caregivers: In some instances, other employees or caregivers might have observed the abuse or be aware of ongoing negligence and can testify accordingly.
  • Visitors: Although rare, a visitor who was present during the abuse or a family member who notices unexplained or excessive injuries may be able to provide valuable testimony.
  • Medical professionals: Doctors or other health care providers who provide treatment can testify as to the type and severity of injuries a victim sustained.

These types of witnesses are limited in what they can share. They can only provide testimony about what they directly observed. They cannot share their personal opinions about what they saw. In other words, an eyewitness must strictly stick to the facts they personally saw.

Expert Witnesses

Certain cases may be so challenging that they require additional testimony. In this type of situation, a nursing home injury attorney may consult with other experts who are recognized as authorities in their respective fields. These individuals may offer specialized testimony, potentially including:

Experienced Nursing Professionals

  • Nursing home medical experts – These specialists discuss the nature and potential causes of injuries.
  • Psychologists who can address the psychological impacts on the victim.
  • Pharmacists who comment on any medication-related aspects, such as chemical restraints.
  • Economists to estimate and testify about the financial implications of the injuries.

What Makes An Eyewitness Credible in a Nursing Home Injury Case?

The testimony of an eyewitness or expert witness may not always suffice, especially in nursing home abuse cases. For instance, if an eyewitness has a history of being a habitual liar, he or she is unlikely to be seen as credible by the defendant’s attorney.

Key qualities or characteristics that contribute to a witness being reliable, credible, and authoritative include someone who:

  • Does not have a shady history, such as someone who lies or has a criminal background.
  • Is mentally stable and healthy.
  • Was not dealing with any alcohol or drug issues at the time the incident occurred.
  • Does not have a known “ax to grind” with the individual or facility named as the defendant.

An eyewitness’s credibility can significantly influence the outcome of a case, especially if it proceeds to trial. Equally true, an unreliable witness can be extremely damaging to a case. Therefore, it is vital that you or your attorney vet any individual who claims to be an eyewitness to ensure they:

  • Have a clear, consistent recollection and communication of the event.
  • Understand and can easily recall and effectively answer questions.
  • Show a moral commitment to being completely truthful.

What Makes an Expert Witness Credible?

Expert witnesses offer a distinct type of testimony. These individuals possess specialized knowledge or training, but that alone is not enough. They must also be adept at conveying their expertise in a way that is confident and easy to understand. Members of a jury may not have a medical degree and will not appreciate a witness who talks down to them.

Other desirable traits of an expert medical witness include individuals who have:

  • Qualifications – They are recognized as experts and respected in their field.
  • Credibility – The ability to earn the jury’s trust without appearing biased.
  • Prepared for the trial – These individuals dress appropriately, maintain a professional demeanor and show meticulous attention to detail.
  • Consistency – Reliable witnesses may be required to testify multiple times.
  • Approachability – Having a demeanor that is not demeaning to the jury but rather enhances trustworthiness.
  • Educational ability – Has the ability to inform the jury confidently and effectively on complex topics without talking “over their heads.”

At PKSD in New Mexico, we only consult with medical experts when they are needed. Our legal team thoroughly vets any eyewitness or expert witness we consider for a case.

Need Legal Help for a Loved One Injured in a Nursing Home? Call Our Law Firm Today.

At PKSD New Mexico, we have a team of attorneys who have extensive experience managing nursing home injury cases. We have a history of proven results, recovering millions in compensation for our clients.

Has your loved one been a victim of negligence or abuse in his or her nursing home? If so, we are here to help you through this difficult time. Whether you are sure you have a case or not, call our law firm to discuss your situation today.

There is no cost for an initial consultation, and no upfront costs if you choose to hire our firm. We only get paid if you do.

PKSD New Mexico. We work hard to get you results. 505-677-7777

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