Trusting an at-home caregiver, assisted living facility or nursing home with the life of someone we love is often one of the most difficult decisions we will ever have to make. We do it because we believe that the quality of life of our parent or grandparent will be much better under the care of these professionals and/or in these facilities. However, tragically, this is not always the case, as data has shown that dependent adult and nursing home abuse is a very real problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average, over 500,000 elderly men and women in the US are abused or neglected each year. Even worse, that number may only be the tip of the iceberg, as according to estimates revealed by the National Center on Elder Abuse, only one in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities.
Examples and Signs of Dependent Adult and Nursing Home Abuse
In California, nursing home abuse falls under the Dependent Adult statute and can cover different types of abuse or neglect – such as physical abuse, monetary abuse, and sexual abuse, committed by a staff member or employee of a nursing home, hospital or similar facility. Monetary abuse can happen when a nursing home or caretaker takes advantage of an elderly person to give the hospital, or someone working for the hospital, their money.
If a family member or a loved one suffers nursing home abuse, whether in a private or public hospital, they may be entitled to compensation under the California Welfare and Institutions Code 15610.23.
This statute can also cover abuses of dependent adults who are persons committed to a hospital and under the hospital’s care, and who are abused including physically or sexually by a nursing or hospital staff, medical staff, or doctor. These types of cases can be complicated and often involve catastrophic physical and emotional injuries, requiring the assistance of a lawyer with experience in nursing home abuse and dependent adult cases in California.
There are multiple types of nursing home and dependent adult abuse, and several signs can help loved ones recognize if a family member has been a victim.
Types of nursing home and dependent adult abuse include:
- Emotional mistreatment – Using nonverbal or verbal acts to cause distress, anguish or mental pain.
- Abandonment – The desertion of an elder or dependent adult by someone who has taken responsibility for him or her.
- Financial mismanagement – Exploiting the finances of dependent adult or elder.
- Sexual abuse – Having any kind of non-consensual sexual contact with a dependent adult or elder.
- Neglect – The failure by those who are responsible for elders or dependent adults to provide medical care, food, protection or shelter.
- Physical abuse – Physically attacking, injuring or inflicting pain on a dependent adult or elder, such as hitting, physical restraint or drugging.
Signs of dependent adult and nursing home abuse include:
- Tense relationship between caregivers and dependent adults or elders, including arguments;
- Sudden or drastic changes to an elder or dependent adult’s financial situation;
- Dependent adult or elder whose medical needs are not consistently being met or who exhibits unexpected weight loss, poor hygiene or bedsores;
- Injuries, such as bruising or abrasions, near the genitals or breasts, which could be a sign of sexual abuse;
- Elders or dependent adults suddenly becoming withdrawn, depressed or avoiding normal activities;
- Dependent adults or elders who have suffered burns, broken bones, bruises, pressure sores, bedsores, ulcers or abrasions.
Who Can Sue for Nursing Home or Dependent Adult Abuse?
Families who believe a loved one may be suffering some form of nursing home or dependent adult abuse should remove their family member from that situation immediately. After that, families or victims should talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, because every second they wait, evidence crucial to bringing those at fault to justice could be lost. If they act quickly, victims or their families may be able to file a dependent adult or nursing home abuse lawsuit against the person or facility responsible for their pain and suffering.
How Do Dependent Adult and Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits Help?
An elderly person who is injured by a worker, employee or agent of a home, hospital or similar facility may be entitled to compensation under the Welfare and Institutions Code and general negligence principles of law.
For abuse victims and their loved ones, a lawsuit can provide:
- Security for their future in the form of money for medical bills for any injuries the elder or dependent adult suffered and a better long-term care situation for the dependent adult or elder;
- Closure in the form of victims and families seeing the individual or facility responsible for hurting them held accountable.
While many cases settle without the necessity of a trial, you will still need a competent attorney who can prepare the case for trial, take depositions, and conduct the appropriate investigations to maximize the recovery in an elder abuse, dependent adult abuse, or similar assault type case.
The best way to secure the compensation you legally deserve is to consult and retain an experienced elder law or dependent adult law abuse attorney. Our firm has years of experience in dependent adult law and elderly abuse, helping injured clients to obtain seven-figured recoveries and settlements. We know how to maximize your recovery including filing a lawsuit, litigating a case and going to trial if necessary.
In addition, by holding those at fault accountable, victims and families shine a light on unacceptable situations. This can lead to policy and practice changes both in that facility and throughout the industry, which can help prevent future cases of abuse from taking place.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, different people can be held liable for abuse of a senior member of your family. They are:
- The hospital employee who committed the actual abuse including the nurse, doctor, assistant nurse, and social worker
- The institution, hospital, or company that owns the hospital
A person can always sue the individual who actually caused the physical or economic harm to them in an elder abuse situation. If the person who abused them worked for the county, an experienced attorney may help them recover from the individual caretaker and the hospital or institution that employed the abusive worker or staff member, by overcoming issues in the Welfare and Institutions Code on their respective liabilities.
Personal Injury Attorney for Nursing Home and Dependent Adult Abuse
Anyone who is injured either physically or economically in an elder abuse or dependent adult case may get justice either in the criminal courts or in the civil courts. Our firm can help you obtain justice in the civil courts. We do this not by erasing the abuse on your elderly loved one or on the dependent person which unfortunately is not possible, but by obtaining the maximum recovery possible under the law. We ensure that the negligent hospital, institution, or person will never be able to conduct themselves this way in the future without facing significant consequences.
Attorney Glotzer is relentless in his pursuit of justice in nursing home and dependent adult abuse cases. He will do whatever it takes within the limits of the law, even go to trial, to ensure the negligent person or facility in a dependent adult or nursing home lawsuit is held accountable and prevented from hurting anyone else.
To learn more about Glotzer & Leib, LLP or nursing home and dependent adult abuse cases, call us for a free consultation at (844) 821-5271.