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Nursing homes are entrusted with the care of older adults that can no longer live independently. Each of these nursing homes should have special measures in place to keep residents safe. They should also conduct thorough interviews and background checks on employees to make sure that they are qualified to care for seniors and have no history of violent acts.
This is not always the case for nursing homes, as many have been sued for negligence and/or abuse. If your loved one suddenly died in a California nursing home, assisted living facility, or rehabilitation hospital, you must prove that someone in the skilled nursing facility contributed to the injury or death of your loved one to sue the skilled nursing facility.
Elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is not necessarily limited to physical abuse, as it can occur in many forms. In addition to physical abuse, elder abuse can be verbal, psychological, sexual, and financial. In fact, neglect, such as inadequate supervision and failure to administer necessary medications is also considered abuse in a court of law.
Older adults who are physically or cognitively impaired are more likely to fall victim to elder abuse. Nursing homes are not the only places of potential danger, as the majority of elder abuse is actually committed by the victim’s own family members.
Signs to Look Out For
Since elder abuse comes in many forms, you may not know all the signs that something is amiss. Adult Protective Services can intervene if you believe that elder abuse is happening, but they will ask why you believe that.
Signs of physical abuse include:
- unexplained weight loss
- dehydration or malnutrition
- marks or signs of restraints
- broken bones
- injuries resulting from falls
- signs of overmedication and oversedation.
Signs of sexual abuse include:
- bleeding in genital areas
- bruises in genital areas
- testing positive for sexually transmitted diseases
Signs that an elderly person has been verbally abused include:
- a showing of excessive fear or apprehension around certain persons
- the elderly person blaming themselves for insignificant problems
- visible depression or anger most of the time, and
- rocking, sucking, or mumbling -- called "false dementia."
Signs of financial abuse include:
- recent, frequent cash withdrawals from bank accounts
- disappearance of personal property
- new loans or mortgage contracts
- sudden revisions to wills, deeds, or trusts
Elder abuse is shockingly common, as it increased as caretakers were pushed to their limits during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you suspect your older family member is being abused in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospice care, contact a Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer. Someone with knowledge of California elder abuse laws can help you remove your loved one from this situation as well as prepare you for the civil court battle that is to come.
Like many civil suits, an elder abuse or neglect lawsuit centers around negligence. Plaintiffs must prove that the nursing home did not meet industry standards of care and that this failure resulted in injury or death to the nursing home resident. The failure to execute a reasonable level of care that others in the same situation would have done is called negligence. If you can prove that this negligence led to your damages, then you have a very strong case for compensation.
Our nursing home neglect lawyers will be immensely helpful in your difficult time of grief and stress. A lawyer will understand the burden of proof that must be shown in order to win financial compensation. Our attorneys will make sure that you have a solid claim for compensation and that you are within your legal rights to file a lawsuit, setting you up for success.
Our attorneys are highly skilled in civil court, so they can prove all aspects of elder abuse in your situation. Whether it’s medical malpractice or abuse of the power of attorney, our lawyers will find the guilty party and use every tool at our disposal to prove their fault.
The Law Office of Nigel Burns
Call our lawyer for family issues today to schedule an appointment or discuss the abuse of your elderly loved one in a California skilled nursing facility. Our probate attorney administers simple or complex estates with multiple beneficiaries, the succession of small businesses, and high net worth estates with taxation issues. You can schedule an appointment in our conveniently located Los Angeles office. Our fees are reasonable.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can occur in many forms. Neglect is a form of abuse that involves a caretaker doing the bare minimum in taking care of an older person, which often results in malnutrition and bedsores. It can also come in the form of physical abuse, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse.
How Can Adult Protective Services Help in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
Adult Protective Services is similar to Child Protective Services in that they ensure vulnerable populations are treated humanely by those in charge of them. When Adult Protective Services is brought in, they will conduct an investigation into the caretaker of the elderly person to determine if abuse or neglect has taken place.
Elder Financial Abuse: Power of Attorney Scams
A power of attorney is someone appointed to handle matters like another’s finances and health decisions when they are physically or mentally incapable. Those who are in their final years of life often need a power of attorney to keep them safe, but unfortunately many people abuse this power and end up using the senior’s assets for themselves. If you suspect your loved one’s power of attorney is taking advantage, contact our office.
Elder Physical Abuse
It’s possible that the caretaker or nursing home in charge of your older relative is physically abusing them. Abusers inflict physical harm or pain on the victim by hitting, slapping, and pinching. Beyond physical violence, they can also over- or under-medicare, withhold food or water, and more.
Neglect can be just as detrimental as outright abuse. If you are noticing any of the signs below, you may need an attorney for senior neglect.
- Bruises, bedsores, infections or other injuries
- Excessive and/or unexplained weight-loss
- Reluctance to speak while a staff member is present
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions
- Unexplained or unexpected death of the elder victim
FAQs About Elder Abuse
What Should I Do if I Think an Older Loved One is Being Abused?
You need to take action if you think someone is being hurt, deprived of medications, sexually abused, or financially exploited. When you contact an elder abuse lawyer, they will ask what you’ve done so far. It’s a good idea to report the elder abuse beforehand to Adult Protective Services, the California Department of Aging, or the California Department of Health Care Services. This will help your claim.
What Kind of Damages Are Claimed in Elder Abuse Lawsuits?
The average nursing home abuse lawsuit results in the payout of $406,000 worth of damages. These damages can be economic or non-economic, and the specific damages vary in each case. They range from pain and suffering to medical bills if the victim went to the hospital.
How Can I Protect an Older Adult From Financial Exploitation?
As people age, their ability to distinguish genuine offers from scams decreases, and this is why so many older adults fall victim to online and phone scams. You can research the most common scams and inform the elder of what to look out for. If they are too cognitively impaired to weed out these calls, you can monitor their internet activity and tell them not to answer unsaved phone numbers. In the most serious of cases, conservatorships are put in place to protect those who may harm their own wellbeing.