Unfortunately, those who’ve vowed to do no harm can sometimes do the most harm, and this is true in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. According to the World Health Organization, around one in six people aged 60 and over suffer abuse in retirement communities – abuse that can leave lingering physical and emotional consequences for years to come. Given that individuals are more likely to suffer physical ailments as they age, senior adults are an especially vulnerable demographic to suffering abuse, pains, and traumas.
Now, if you or a loved one had the misfortune of suffering such abuse, what can you do about it? Do you have any legal recourse against the person(s) responsible? How can you mitigate the lingering consequences? Learn more about elder abuse and how a California elder abuse attorney can help you earn the equity and accountability you deserve.
To protect senior citizens, Congress passed the Elder Justice Act, which established a committee to support victims of elder abuse. Institutions that fail to report incidents of abuse are now subject to a $300,000 fine, and they can be fined an additional $200,000 and stripped of government assistance if the failure led to more abuse. Moreover, incidents of suspected abuse must be reported to DHS and local police within 24 hours after probable suspicion is discovered, or two hours if the probable suspicion could lead to more immediate harm.
The harsher the neglect or abuse, the harsher the punishments that can be inflicted. Even if the facility doesn’t properly report, it’s important to self-report your or your loved one’s abuse right away. Contact 9-1-1 or your local police department directly, and consider taking your case to the Elder Justice Initiative report line. More local rules and regulations may also apply, but those vary on a state by state basis. The right elder abuse lawyer can go over these with you accordingly.
Common Consequences of Elder Abuse
As is the case with all abuse, the repercussions of elder abuse are omnipresent through several facets of the victim’s life. Whether the abuse is physical, emotional, or sexual, the wounds of trauma linger and seldom heal on their own. A study published in PubMed found that abused elders face a 300 percent higher mortality risk than elders who aren’t.
How does that translate in legal terms? Well, if you’re an abuse victim who suffered because of a caretaker’s negligence, you can sue for similar damages that you would sue for in any other personal injury case. They include the following:
● Medical expenses
● Future medical treatment costs
● Pain and suffering
● Mental and emotional trauma
It’s important to hold onto medical records, visual records, receipts, or any other evidence that proves damages and wrongdoing. It’s important to make sure your loved one gets immediate medical attention, is in a safe place, and has prompt representation from an experienced elder abuse attorney. Do not hesitate to stand up for your loved one’s rights and safety.