As the aging population in America increases, so do incidents of Nursing Home Abuse. Older persons are vulnerable in many ways, and they often are taken advantage of and abused by caretakers, including family members. Many families turn to nursing homes for care of older parents and loved ones when home care becomes too difficult to manage. People trust that nursing homes will provide loving, kind and constant care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, many factors contribute to a growing problem of nursing home abuse of their elderly residents.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When someone has a concern about nursing homes and possible abuse of a loved one or friend, they turn for help to the legal profession. The best professional to consult about this problem is an experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer. They understand the scope of this problem, what constitutes abuse in the eyes of the legal system, and they can examine the details of each unique case to pinpoint problems and offer solutions to any possible abuse problems. They can help you decide how to proceed and if you have a case for litigation to obtain fair compensation for abuse claims.
Nursing Home Abuse Laws
An experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney will have detailed knowledge about nursing home abuse laws for your state. This area of concern is regulated by state law, and if you believe there is abuse occurring, your lawyer will provide direction for making proper complaints to local or state authorities and help you file a legal action against the abusers. Through the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime – Elder abuse and Mistreatment, the federal government maintains a website that has information about nursing home abuse, and it also oversees programs to benefit victims of crime.
Nursing Home Abuse
Records at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that every year more than 500,000 adults over age 60 are abused or neglected. According to a CBS News Report, about one-third of nursing homes, 1,600, were cited for abuse. Many nursing homes had two to five abuse reports on record. The number of elderly people in nursing homes is steadily growing as the nation’s large population of people over age 60 also increases.
Actions that are considered to be nursing home abuse include physical, mental and financial abuse. Often, family members are the guilty ones, in addition to caregivers at nursing homes. Part of the problem at the nursing homes is a lack of concern when associates are hired. Simple background checks could identify risky persons or those who already have a criminal record for violent behavior. Residents who are abused reported being punched, kicked, raped or kicked by attendants or other residents. In one case, a woman who was choked had her neck and wrist broken by a certified nurse’s assistance because the woman had soiled herself. She died shortly after the incident.
The CDC reports show that nursing home abuse takes many forms:
- physical abuse – threats or actually inflicting physical injury; depriving an elder of a basic need
- sexual abuse – non-consensual sexual contact, or coercing the person to witness sexual behavior
- emotional abuse – verbally or non-verbally causing distress, anguish or mental pain
- neglect – failing to provide food, shelter, protection or health care
- financial abuse – exploitation by illegally taking, using or concealing an elder person’s funds, property or assets
- abandonment – when the person who has responsibility to care for the elder person deserts them without arranging for replacement care
California Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Some states have a bigger problem than others with elder abuse, now and in the future. In California, in 2009, it was reported that abuse, neglect or exploitation complaints were over twice the national rate of 5%. The state already has a larger growth rate of their elderly population than other states. Many people in nursing homes or other care facilities suffer from dementia that requires administration of dangerous drugs for sedation. They can easily get abused by caretakers trying to maintain control.
For many people, relief is sought through the assistance of a California Nursing Home Abuse Attorney. In many situations that involve licensed nursing homes, the attorney can find additional evidence that the homes were negligent in hiring personnel, failed to do background checks, and inadequately supervised their staff members. The attorney will investigate the alleged incident, find out if other complaints have been made, interview any eyewitnesses, and do a thorough case development before filing a new complaint. They will protect you from potential legal actions by alleged abusers who might say you are making false claims.
Liability can be placed upon the nursing home facility if certain actions are proven. This includes negligent hiring, under staffing, poor or inadequate training, medication errors or a breach of statutory or regulatory obligations. The nursing home is also “vicariously liable” if any of its employees commit abuse. Some nursing homes hire outside contractors or have other third parties perform various tasks. Those third parties may also be found liable for nursing home abuse or neglect. For example, if the home has a private security firm provide security for the home but a resident becomes injured by a guest or other resident, that security firm may be held liable for negligence.
Personal Injury Compensation
If you are making legal claims under Personal Injury Law to obtain compensation for losses, medical care or other expenses involved in the nursing home abuse case, your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer will present a strong case. If needed, they will go into court for a hearing or trial, acting on your behalf to obtain the best outcome. A claim may be made as medical malpractice or other personal injury claim. If the situation warrants it, the defendant may also face criminal charges.
Compensation may include monetary awards for pain and suffering, emotional or mental anguish, physical injury treatment and medical care, and other claims related to the incident. If the elderly person died from the abuse or neglect, compensation to survivors may also include funeral and burial expenses.
The problem of elder abuse has become so prevalent that a special day, June 15th, is now designated as World Elder Abuse Prevention Day. Many cases of abuse are not filed because the victim is afraid to tell about the abuse they are trying to deal with. Any information you share with your Personal Injury Lawyer is confidential, so you can feel free to discuss all issues related to abuse, at home or at a nursing home facility. The most important thing is to report abuse and try to stop that activity. An experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney knows how to deal effectively with this issue to resolve the problem.