Finding out that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse can be a heartbreaking experience. It’s not uncommon to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, frustration, and anger. Mostly, people wonder how this happened and what to do about it. A Pomona elder abuse lawyer, like those at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen, may be able to help achieve justice for an elder’s suffering.
When we entrust the care of elderly relatives to an institution and the caretakers there, we expect a certain quality from that care. We are putting a lot of faith and trust in these places and people to do the right thing for those who are so dear to us.
Learning that these expectations haven’t been met can be devastating. It can be so hard to realize that our loved ones have suffered in these ways. Some people even feel guilty for having set up the arrangement. It’s important, though, to recognize that the fault and blame lies entirely with those who have violated that trust by not living up to their responsibility.
Obviously, you want to see anyone involved in criminal activity held responsible, but there is also the issue of general neglect and why there weren’t checks and balances in place to prevent these kinds of situations.
Of course, money doesn’t fix what happened. It’s not going to go back and change what occurred. However, filing a civil claim with a personal injury lawyer can be a powerful tool to push for change in these processes and institutions. Insurance companies may begin to hold their policyholders to higher standards so they don’t have to pay out as much. The consequence of a claim can force institutions to adopt a higher standard, preventing other patients from enduring such abuse.
The money can improve your situation as well, as it can help you find better, more trustworthy care for your loved one. Most importantly, it can allow the abused elder to heal and recover from what they’ve suffered.
Elder abuse covers a broad range of mistreatment. This mistreatment is considered elder abuse when it occurs against those who are 65 or older. While much of this abuse occurs in nursing homes and other care facilities, it can also occur in home environments as well. Some of the more common forms of abuse include:
It’s important to pay close attention to your elderly loved ones in case you recognize any potential indications that they might be suffering from abuse.
Signs like physical injuries, sudden weight loss, or financial anomalies are red flags. If abuse is suspected following an incident involving a vehicle, expertise from a car accident attorney or a truck accident lawyer may be necessary.
Some of the easiest signs to recognize as those stemming from physical abuse, including bruises, cuts, and other more serious physical harm. All these could indicate abuse. Neglect may also have some physical signs that you can recognize as well. For instance, drastic weight loss could be a sign of neglect. Hygiene issues or missing medical aids could also be a key indicator.
Identifying financial abuse can be a little more difficult, as it requires access to a person’s financial information. However, if you do have this information, then unrecognizable transactions, notices of unpaid rent and other bills, and missing money could all indicate financial abuse.
The hardest abuse to recognize is psychological abuse and other forms of abuse that don’t leave physical evidence. However, anxiety, mood swings, being easily agitated, and other out-of-character behavior could be signs of abuse.
Liability for elder abuse is going to differ depending on the circumstances of the abuse. In some cases, it’s possible that multiple parties could be held liable. Some of the potentially liable parties include:
An elder abuse lawyer can help in a number of different ways if you suspect that this kind of abuse is occurring.
We can help investigate the situation to understand and identify if the abuse is occurring. If the abuse is criminal, we can also help you work with local law enforcement to investigate the situation. This process can also be useful for preparing a claim against the liable parties.
Elder abuse claims can be particularly challenging because of the many unique issues involved. For instance, the ability to get reliable testimony from the victim is not always possible. We need to gather evidence that can be used, though, to demonstrate what happened and how other parties are liable.
Before a claim is brought, there may be an attempt to settle the claim outside of court. We can represent you in these negotiations. There may be times when a settlement is the right option for you, particularly if you are hoping to resolve the situation quickly. However, there are also times when taking the claim to court is going to be the right choice.
If a case does go to court, we can present the evidence to prove liability on the part of the defendant. We seek to use whatever we can to collect the damages that can help you and your elderly loved one through this process.
The restitution that is awarded in an elder abuse claim will be highly specific to the claim. For the most part, any direct financial costs will be compensated. These include medical expenses, the cost of relocation to a new facility, or therapy and counseling. In some cases, it could also include the recovery of stolen assets and wealth as a result of financial abuse.
The psychological impacts of the situation will also be compensated. Losses like emotional distress, physical pain, and other psychological issues will be addressed and compensated as well. It’s also possible that, in particularly egregious cases or situations of intentional abuse, punitive damages that are meant to punish the behavior could be awarded.
One of the harder aspects of an elder abuse situation is identifying if the abuse is occurring. The signs will be different, depending on the kind of abuse that’s going on. Physical indications include bruising, weight loss from neglect, and hygiene issues. Signs of emotional abuse can include uncharacteristic behavior, depression, and anxiety.
If or how elder abuse is punished depends on the situation. However, for most types of abuse, there are laws in place that are designed to protect the elderly and punish those who commit acts of abuse. To convict them of a crime, though, there will need to be sufficient evidence of their wrongdoing to persuade a jury. Depending on the nature of the crime, elder abuse can result in misdemeanor or even felony charges, which are punishable by fines, probation, imprisonment, and other penalties.
Undue influence occurs when a person manipulates someone else to benefit their own interests at the expense of the person being manipulated. This manipulation is often accomplished by using a position of authority or power, or even through a close relationship, to compel the elder to do something for the manipulator. In cases of elder abuse, this is often undertaken for the sake of financial exploitation.
Filing a civil claim against those who committed these acts can still serve several important purposes. One of these is that it can trigger change. The funds can also help you find higher quality care for your loved one by getting them the compensation that they’re owed.
However, elder abuse situations and civil claims are often particularly complex. There are many unique difficulties in proving what occurred. This is why it’s absolutely critical to work with a Pomona elder abuse lawyer at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen. We understand the challenges that these claims pose and can call on our experience to help navigate your situation. If you are ready to discuss the options that may be available in your situation, contact us today.