A major concern that is brought to the attention of personal injury attorneys in the care of the elderly is the danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 500,000 people a year age 60 or older across the country are subject to abuse or neglect. The CDC identifies six types of mistreatment that may occur among the elderly:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
How do I recognize abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly?
It may be hard to recognize abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly. The most extreme cases of abuse may be recognizable, but other forms of abuse may not be so obvious. The Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging defines physical abuse as, “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish or deprivation by a person, including a caregiver, of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.”
What is elder neglect?
Elder neglect may be harder to identify and define. Generally, it means any situation where the caregiver has failed to provide adequate medical care, shelter, food, clothing or proper hygiene to ensure the elderly’s health and safety.
Where does elder abuse take place?
Elder abuse may take place in the home where the senior lives. It may also occur in institutional settings, such as long term care facilities. When abuse or neglect occurs in the nursing home, the facility may be held liable if the following issues played a role in causing the abuse or neglect:
- Negligent Hiring
- Inadequate Training
- Breach of Statutory or Regulatory Obligations
- Medication Errors
A nursing home may be liable for the actions of their employees during the course of their job responsibilities.
What should I do if I suspect an elderly person is abused or neglected?
If you are being abused or neglected, or suspect someone is a victim of elder abuse or neglect, you should contact local law enforcement or Adult Protective Services in your area. If you are concerned about a nursing home resident, you should contact the state long term care ombudsman’s office. You do not need to prove that someone is being abused or neglected when you report your concerns to appropriate authorities.
Should I contact a personal injury attorney?
An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you if the state ultimately pursues criminal charges against those perpetrating the abuse. You may also be able to proceed with a civil claim on behalf of the victim of elder abuse or neglect regardless of whether a criminal case is pursued by the state.
The law offices of Anderson, Moore, Bailey & Nowell are here to assist if you or your loved one is a victim of elder abuse or neglect. Please call us today for a free consultation.
This blog is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for talking to one of our lawyers here at Anderson, Moore Bailey and Nowell. In fact, the first step you can take towards resolving your problem is to have a face to face conversation with one of our lawyers. Our consultations are free, they are confidential, and we can almost always schedule you an appointment the same day we receive a call.