All too often, the most defenseless members of our society are the ones who are mistreated. This is true regardless of a community's income or other demographics. Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect are prevalent manifestations of this dark side of humanity. Whether it's the repeated appearance of bruises and broken bones, malnourishment or emotional abuse, it's imperative to know when to bring an experienced nursing home abuse attorney on board to help protect your loved one's rights.
Elder abuse can take a number of forms. These include physical abuse (deliberate injury at the hands of another, sexual assault, poor health and malnutrition as a result of neglect), mental and psychological abuse (verbal abuse and intimidation) and financial abuse (stealing from the elderly or conning them to give up their assets).
At the heart of most elder abuse: The older individual believes they can trust the person who is abusing them. The abuser is often a close family member, such as a spouse or grown child, or a healthcare professional.
If you have any reason to believe that your friend or family member is being abused, you should immediately contact nursing home abuse attorneys and local law enforcement officers.
Sometimes, it's tricky to know when a lawyer should be contacted. With nursing home abuse, the sooner the better. Letting a situation escalate can be disastrous and can lead to even more terrible and egregious forms of abuse and neglect. In general:
Elder abuse and neglect—whether it occurs in a nursing home, assisted living facility or in a private home—is often a crime. Your elder abuse attorney can help you work with law enforcement to ensure that the abuser is prosecuted.
But even if the abuser is found guilty in criminal court, the only way a nursing home abuse victim or elder abuse victim will receive compensation is through a civil lawsuit. And abuse victims should consider a civil lawsuit even if the abuser isn't criminally charged or isn't found guilty. That's because it's usually easier to win a civil lawsuit (where the court reaches a verdict based on the "preponderance of the evidence") than a criminal case (where a guilty verdict requires the judge or jury to be convinced "beyond a reasonable doubt").
Your elder abuse lawyer can help analyze the situation and file a lawsuit against the person, people or organization responsible for abusing your loved one.