Elderly abuse is a sad, yet widespread problem in nursing homes throughout the U.S. Each year, thousands of seniors and vulnerable individuals experience neglect, as well as physical and emotional abuse from their caretakers. Making the decision to place a loved one in an assisted living or long-term care facility is never easy, especially when one considers the potential risk of them being mistreated. There are over 3.2 million people living in nursing homes each year in this country, and one out of six seniors will experience some form of neglect. Still, sometimes families lack the resources to properly care for these individuals, so it’s important to understand the legal ramifications of nursing home abuse and personal injury in case you find yourself impacted by this type of situation.
As injury.findlaw.com points out, there are three different avenues for legal action as a result of elderly abuse in a nursing home. Each of these actions carries a specific goal. The first is an investigation conducted by a protective services agency. Here, the objective is to ensure the safety of the injured party and provide immediate relief from the abuse they’re suffering in their current living environment. The second is to pursue damages for the physical and emotional abuse in the form of a civil case. While this won’t erase the effects of injuries and neglect, it can provide financial relief for the injured party and help them to secure a healthy living situation for the future. The third type of legal action would be to pursue criminal prosecution against the employees of the long-term care facility in order to ensure that this abuse is not allowed to continue.
Because seniors are an incredibly vulnerable population who lack their own voice, often times suffering from ailments such as dementia or alzheimer’s, proving abuse and liability can be something of a challenge. For example, proving a breach in duty on the part of the caretaker may likely require expert testimony in court by a licensed medical professional. This is why if you have evidence or suspicions of abuse you should immediately consult with a personal injury lawyer or legal professional in order to plan the correct course of action. These investigations and court cases can be emotionally draining and highly stressful. Having a legal advocate guide you through the process is key to ensuring the wellbeing of the injured party and also provides you with the best chance to help them receive compensation for the abuse they’ve endured.