How do I know if I have an elder abuse claim?Last updated on: October 30, 2021
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As much as we would like to think our elderly loved ones are being well taken care of in a nursing home, unfortunately that is not always the case. Studies show that 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have reported abuse, and it is estimated that only 1 in 24 cases of abuse are even reported. Thus, elder abuse is much more common than we may care to admit.
If you or a loved one is being abused, call Zinda Law Group today. We know how devastating this discovery can be, and we want to help you make sure the person responsible for your suffering will pay for their actions, if only by providing your family some form of compensation. Contact our personal injury lawyers today at (800) 863-5312 and schedule a free case evaluation; there is no better time than now to stop the abuse.
ELDER ABUSE FAQ’S
If you have found out or have a hunch that your loved one is being abused by the nurses or attendants in their nursing home, we understand that you may have a lot of immediate questions and concerns. For example, you may be asking yourself “What is elder abuse?” or “If this is elder abuse, what should I do about it?” Zinda Law Group wants to help you during this difficult time, which is why we have answered a few of those questions below; if you need more answers, remember that our elder abuse lawyers are only a phone call away.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is when someone physically, emotionally, sexually, or financially abuses an elderly person, or neglects or abandons them. Elderly people in nursing homes are generally more vulnerable to abuse because of mental impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, or because of their dependency on others for their care.
Abuse can happen anywhere, whether it is in a nursing home, in a family member’s house, or in the elderly persons’ own home. Unfortunately, this mistreatment is very common and can be extremely difficult to detect.
What Are Examples of Elder Abuse?
Some common categories of elder abuse are:
- Physical abuse, meaning the perpetrator is inflicting physical pain or injury
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse, which can include threats, harassment, or verbal attacks or intimidation
- Neglect, meaning the caretaker fails to provide adequate care or necessities such as food, water, or medicine; neglect can be intentional or passive.
- Confinement or isolation
- Financial exploitation
- Healthcare fraud, meaning their provider seems to be overcharging or over- or under-medicating for financial gain.
Keep in mind that these categories encompass a wide range of behaviors, and this is not an exhaustive list. If you are unsure whether what you or your loved one is experiencing qualifies as elder abuse, call an elder abuse lawyer near you today. Experienced injury lawyers can help you identify what patterns of behavior are abusive and can help you figure out what to do about it.
What Are the Signs to Look Out For?
As explained above, abuse can show up in all different shapes and forms; however, there are some common signs that you should look out for. If you see any of the following signs, you may have an elder abuse claim. Remember: this list is not exhaustive; if there are other signs that you feel unsettled about that are not on this list, it is still worth calling an elder abuse lawyer to see if what you are experiencing or witnessing is abuse.
- Untreated or undetected medical conditions
- Bedsores or other preventable conditions
- Nonparticipation in activities the elderly person once enjoyed
- Unkempt personal hygiene
- Difficulty or trouble sleeping
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or scars
- Poorly explained falls
- Rapid weight loss or unexplained weight loss
- Lack of access to the aids they need, such as walkers, hearing aids, etc.
- Unusual agitation or seeming withdrawn
- Unexplained STD’s or urinary tract infections
- Unusual failure to pay bills, out of the ordinary changes in financial resources, or seemingly forged financial documents
- Signs of trauma, such as rocking back and forth
- Apparent fear or discomfort around specific nurses, aids, or relatives
Who Are the Abusers?
Anyone in the elderly person’s life can be their abuser. It can be their romantic partner, their family, their caretaker, or the staff at a nursing or assisted living home. The more control a person has over the elderly person’s life, the more opportunities they have to inflict abuse.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are notorious for elder abuse. This is because they largely function for the purpose of making profit, which means they try to cut corners where they can and end up hiring fewer staff than they should. However, abuse can happen anywhere, even in the safety of someone’s own home.
What Kind of Compensation Might I Receive?
Every case is different, so it is impossible to predict the exact amount your family may be able to recover once it has been established that elder abuse has indeed occurred. Plaintiffs in these kinds of cases can generally recover one or more of three kinds of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to costs that are easy for you to prove, such as the days you had to take off of work to handle this issue or the medical expenses you had to pay. Non-economic damages are a bit more obscure, but generally it includes compensation for things like your pain and suffering. Punitive damages are awarded in some states in certain situations; these damages, which are also sometimes called exemplary damages, are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing.
Figuring out what kind of compensation you are entitled to and proving that, whether it be through negotiations or in court, is difficult. Zinda Law Group has a team of professional personal injury lawyers who know exactly what to do to make sure your family receives the maximum compensation possible.
Do I Have an Elder Abuse Claim?
It can be extremely difficult to detect elder abuse, especially when the elderly person has dementia or some other condition that impedes their ability to advocate for themselves. If you have observed one of the signs above or have seen something else that makes you feel uneasy, the best thing you can do is to look into the matter further.
Investigating this kind of claim is tolling physically and emotionally for loved ones, but that is why personal injury attorneys are here to help. An experienced elder abuse lawyer knows how to detect elder abuse and can help you investigate the matter thoroughly if together you determine you may have a viable claim.
WHAT TO DO AFTER DISCOVERING ELDER ABUSE
1. First, talk with your loved one when the two of you are alone. If you are the one being abused, reach out to a relative, friend, or professional that you trust and ask to speak with them privately. It may be uncomfortable to ask these kinds of questions, but the best thing you can do for your loved one is figure out what exactly is going on.
If your loved one has some sort of condition that makes it difficult for them to answer pointed questions, consider asking them to tell you all about their day or about the people who take care of them and observe their verbal and physical responses. Be sure to have this conversation when no one else is around; that way your loved one will feel like they are able to truly disclose to you anything that is going on without fear of retaliation.
2. Report the abuse. Reporting the abuse can be difficult, but in the long run, it is generally better for you, your loved one, and other older adults for you to do so; reporting the abuse can get your loved one into a better situation and can make sure that the person perpetrating the abuse is unable to do so in the future. It can be difficult to figure out who to report to, but an elder abuse lawyer can help direct you to the right authority and number to call and can walk you through the difficult process of disclosing the abuse.
3. Call Zinda Law Group to speak with one of our elder abuse lawyers. These cases are and always will be complicated legally as well as emotionally. Our experienced lawyers know how to advocate for you and with you; we are devoted to holding your hand throughout this process and explaining every step of the way.
Call zinda law group today for your free consultation
No one should be subjected to abuse, least of all those who are truly vulnerable, which is why Zinda Law Group wants to help you and your family if you have found yourselves in that unfortunate position. Our experienced elder abuse lawyers are ready and willing to help you take the first step to obtain the compensation you and your family deserve, and make sure that no one else is subjected to what you have been.
We understand that you and your family may be struggling right now in more ways than one, which is why we guarantee we will not charge anything unless we are successful in your case. It is our “No Win, No Fee Guarantee.” So, if you think you may have a claim, call one of our injury lawyers today at (800) 863-5312 to set up your free consultation.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.