Americans are living longer, and our aging population is expanding. It is a reality that we or someone close to us will suffer neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other senior care facility. And unfortunately, that’s why elder care lawyers are receiving an increasing number of calls.
Our elders aren’t the only ones at risk. Dependent adults can also suffer abuse or neglect. A dependent adult is someone who as a result of a developmental disability requires a caretaker.
What should I do if I think I need an elder law attorney?
California law provides special protections for adults who suffer abuse or neglect by their caretakers. Elder victims of neglect or abuse may be entitled to recover damages for attorney’s fees and punitive damages in addition to medical expenses and pain and suffering.
If you are not sure if an elder care attorney will take your case, it’s best to reach out. I offer free consultations and you can reach me on my cell phone anytime at 530-305-7396.
What are the five types of elder abuse you most commonly see as a nursing home abuse lawyer?
Lack of staffing, lack of training, or lack of funding often leads to neglect of elder and dependent residents and physical suffering like bedsores, malnutrition, and sometimes death. This includes cases where the premises are hazardous and elder and dependent residents are injured in a fall as a result.
- Psychological abuse
This includes cases where employees of nursing home or senior care facilities are emotionally abusing their vulnerable charges through various types of harassment, including insults, scolding, and humiliation.
- Financial abuse
This includes cases where an employee or owner of a nursing home takes advantage of their position of trust and commits fraud or financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult.
- Physical abuse
This includes cases where a nursing home employee or owner physically assaults an elder resident or dependent adult. These cases typically occur when there has been negligence in hiring, negligence in performing background checks and negligence with training. Frustration and stress experienced by staff under these conditions may lead to verbal abuse, a hostile environment for residents and ultimately physical abuse.
- Sexual abuse
This includes cases where there is negligence in background checking, hiring, supervising, and training employees that can create opportunities for sexual predators to be hired, who can take advantage of their position in the facility to sexually abuse vulnerable elder residents and dependent adults.
How long do I have to sue a nursing home or senior care facility?
The time limit to file a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. Different types of cases involving nursing home abuse have different timelines, which is why as soon as you or someone close to you believes they have suffered abuse, they should immediately contact a nursing home abuse attorney to review the claim. If you wait too long and the statute of limitations has expired, you are forever barred from any monetary recovery even if you could prove abuse or neglect.
Who is most likely to abuse the elderly or dependent adult?
We have seen many types of dependent adult, senior care, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Here are a few examples of recent cases:
Nursing home abuse and neglect leading to wrongful death
A daughter was referred to our office by her employer when her elderly mother was left unattended and unrestrained and fell out of her bed at a nursing home and died. We won the case and wrongful death damages were paid by the nursing home to the daughter.
Skilling nursing facility neglect leading to bed sores
In this case, damages for medical expenses and pain and suffering were paid by a skilled nursing care facility to an elderly patient who was found to have suffered bed sores because the caregivers failed routinely turn her.
Dependent adult wrongful death choking case
The survivors of a developmentally disabled adult who choked to death on food that should not have been served sought, and with our help, won damages for wrongful death against the nursing home and off-site day care facility.
Senior living facility not accessible
A resident of senior living apartment sought damages for the fractured hip sustained when she tried to exit a common area with a manual door while using her walker. In this case, we argued that the door should have had an automatic open function.
How to report elder abuse
In every county, Adult Systems of Care can be contacted to report instances of suspected elder abuse or neglect of a dependent adult. In addition, the Department of Social Services for the State of California in Sacramento can be contacted to make a report. Local police departments and sheriff’s offices also have jurisdiction to investigate elder abuse and neglect cases. Within the crimes against persons sections of most law enforcement agencies there are officers specially trained to handle elder abuse cases.
What questions should I ask an elder law attorney?
Find out if the attorney knows the special laws protecting the elderly and dependent adults from abuse. You should make sure you understand what the elder law attorney will charge as a fee and what the costs are likely to be. Find out if the lawyer intends to refer the case to another lawyer if a lawsuit needs to be filed or if they will remain with the case. You need to feel confident that your elder law attorney knows the area of the law, knows the legal system where the incident happened, and is someone you can trust.
How do I find an elder care attorney? Can you help me?
Whether you need an attorney for a bedsore issue or wrongful death, if you or someone close to you has suffered an injury and unnecessary pain or suffering while in the hands of a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, senior living home or other caretaker or off-site facility for elder or dependent adults, we are here to help.
I offer free consultations either by phone or in Auburn or Roseville, CA and you can reach me on my cell phone anytime at 530-305-7396.