Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer
Older adults deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. However, many older adults are abused or neglected every year. Abuse and neglect of the elderly can happen in nursing homes or private residences. You should know the signs that abuse or neglect is occurring so that you can take the proper steps to protect your loved ones. If your loved one has been abused, a Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer at L.A. Personal Injury Attorneys might help you to recover damages for your losses and protect your loved one’s rights.
Types of elder abuse and neglect
According to the National Council on Aging, an estimated one out of every 10 adults who are older than age 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, but only one out of every 14 cases are ever reported. This makes it important for you to understand the types of elder abuse that can occur and the signs that your loved one might be the victim of neglect or abuse.
The types of elder abuse and neglect that can occur include the following:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Willfully depriving elderly adults of their needs
- Passive neglect
There are many signs that an elderly adult is being abused or neglected. Some of the most common signs include the following:
- Bruises, lacerations, and fractures
- Dehydration and weight loss
- Missing medications
- Acting withdrawn
- Acting fearful around specific people
- Poor hygiene
- Bed sores
- Unexplained changes in behavior
- Checks written to nursing home staff or others
- Large sums of money being withdrawn from an account
Older adults are particularly vulnerable, which leads them to be targeted by predators. Some elderly adults may suffer from dementia and not be able to tell others what is happening to them. Others may be fearful of reporting their abuse because of concerns about reprisals. These factors make recognizing the signs of abuse very important. If you see signs that make you think that elder abuse or neglect is occurring, you should take immediate action to protect your loved one.
What to do if you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected
If you think that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you should take immediate steps to protect him or her. If your loved one is in imminent danger, you should call 911 and the state’s elder abuse hotline to report what is occurring and remove him or her from the environment in which it is happening. If you do not think that your loved one is in immediate danger, talk to the supervisor of the nursing home to report your concerns. Ask about your loved one’s care and the staffing levels. If you believe that your loved one has been neglected or abused, you should report it to your local law enforcement agency and seek help from an experienced Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer at L.A. Personal Injury Attorneys.
Why it is important to seek legal help
Nursing homes and their insurance companies use many strategies to avoid or reduce liability in cases involving elder abuse. Nursing homes frequently include mandatory arbitration provisions in their contracts because arbitration tends to favor the companies over plaintiffs and keeps the companies’ conduct out of public view. Experienced attorneys can litigate against forcing elder abuse cases into arbitration. This might help to increase the likelihood that you will prevail in your case. Litigating an elder abuse claim in court also allows you to hold the perpetrator publicly accountable for the wrongful conduct.
Insurance companies that represent nursing homes will often try to settle with plaintiffs directly in the hope that they will not seek help from attorneys. Settlement offers that might be made by insurance companies early in the process are often low-ball offers that will not sufficiently cover all of the losses that have been suffered. The companies might extend these offers to reduce the compensation that they might have to pay and to convince the victims that their claims are not worth as much as they are.
Another strategy that insurance companies frequently use is to ask victims to sign medical authorizations. The companies will tell the victims that they need access to their records to confirm the severity of their injuries. In reality, the companies use medical authorizations to explore the entire medical histories of the victims so that they can blame their injuries on different events.
Insurance adjusters might ask you if you will consent to a recorded statement about what happened. Never agree to do this. The company will simply try to use what you say against you in your claim. If you are asked to give a recorded statement, tell the company that you want to talk to an experienced attorney before you will say or sign anything. A lawyer can review an early settlement offer and can deal with the insurance company on your behalf so that your rights can be protected.
Damages in an elder abuse claim
By filing an elder abuse lawsuit against the nursing home and abuser, you might be able to recover the following types of economic and noneconomic damages:
- Past and ongoing medical expenses related to the neglect or abuse
- Money that was stolen through financial exploitation
- Income losses if applicable
- Property losses
- Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death claims
- Physical pain and suffering the victim experienced
- Emotional trauma
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium and guidance
Cases in which the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious might allow the recovery of punitive damages. These are monetary awards that are on top of any compensatory damages that are awarded and are designed to punish the defendant for the abuse that occurred.
Contact a Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, you should take action immediately. Report your concerns to the authorities, and contact the elder abuse attorneys at L.A. Personal Injury Attorneys. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 323-553-1000. We can evaluate your claim’s merits and work hard to protect the rights of your loved one if abuse or neglect has occurred.