Seniors who require special care are most often placed in a skilled nursing facility. The family members who lack the resources or skills needed to keep their loved ones at home put their trust in the elder care staff, believing correctly that they have the right to assume that proper care will be given. When that trust is broken, a elder abuse attorney can take legal action to pursue compensation.
Unfortunately, about one in ten seniors are abused.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 500,000 older adults over the age of 60 are abused or neglected each year.
This doesn’t take into account the vast number of cases that go unreported, either out of fear or lack of awareness that help is available.
If you have experienced or witnessed elder abuse — or even suspect it — you must report it to the police right away to get the situation under control before it leads to wrongful death. Your next step should be to consult with an experienced elder abuse lawyer to pursue justice owed to the victim.
Types of Elder Abuse
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. Here are some of the common types covered by State of California Elder Abuse Laws.
Physical Abuse of the Elderly
Infliction of pain or suffering on the body, such as punching, slapping, biting, and hair pulling. It is also unlawful to willfully permit an elder to suffer, as in the case of staff who are aware that elder abuse is taking place in their facility and allow it to continue.
Mental or Emotional Abuse
This is often presented as threats of violence or murder, which causes the senior “reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety”. Forced isolation or abandonment can be considered forms of mental abuse.
Sexual Abuse of Seniors
As difficult as it maybe to accept, seniors are subject to sexual violations, either expressly against their will or when they are incapable of voicing their lack of consent. These violations range from rape to a variety of lewd and lascivious acts.
Elder Financial Abuse
There are many financial predators and scam artists who are willing to take advantage of the elderly in order to get their money. These people might coerce an elder to write them a check, or write them into their will under false pretenses. They may even engage in identity theft.
Neglect of the Elderly
Failure to fulfill a care-taking obligation is unlawful, whether intentional or not. Some forms of neglect include failure to administer medication, failure to provide adequate food and water, untreated physical problems, unsanitary living conditions, and lack of bathing or toileting.
I found Frank Penney and his staff to be sympathetic to my situation. Mr. Penney is the attorney you would want to represent you. He is professional and aggressive, he resolved my case much sooner than I expected.” -Dorothy R., Nevada City, CA
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
Administrators, supervisors, and other facility staff are “mandated reporters”, meaning they are legally required to report actual and suspected nursing home abuse, or else face jail time and fines. Other mandated reporters include health practitioners, law enforcement officers, and clergy.
Even those who are not required to report nursing home abuse have an ethical responsibility to do so. California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform provide a comprehensive list of resources for reporting each type of elder abuse.
Consult an Elder Abuse Attorney
When an elderly loved one’s rights are violated, family members may take action by suing the facility to recover compensation. There is no excuse for nursing home abuse, and the perpetrators should be held accountable for their actions. Our elder abuse attorneys are experts at maximizing awards and settlements.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.