When we place our elderly loved ones into a nursing home, we would like to believe they are getting the best care possible. However, elderly abuse is more common than most of us would like to believe. In fact, there are about a quarter of a million nursing home related cases of elderly abuse that occur annually in the United States alone.
If you believe a loved one is a victim of elder abuse in the state of Pennsylvania, Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP can help. We know how sensitive an issue this can be, and we use our years of experience to get the best possible outcome for you and your family.
What Are Some Common Signs of Neglect?
Here are some signs that are indications that your loved ones may be victims of neglect.
- Significant weight loss
- Bed sores
- Recurring infections
- Over medication
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained injuries
What are Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Pennsylvania and Federal regulations set forth certain requirements for nursing home facilities. Under these regulations, residents must be treated with care and respect.
It’s likely that family members have also signed a contract with the facility that forces them to perform several duties and provide a certain level of care.
Failure to act in accordance with state and Federal regulations and any activities that would be considered a breach in contract can be categorized as elderly abuse. Common types of abuse include the following.
- Financial exploitation
- Sexual abuse
- Gross neglect
- Physical abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Resident to resident abuse
Who is Liable for Elder Abuse?
If an elderly resident is found to be a victim of abuse, the facility may be responsible for damages under the corporate negligence theory. Even if an employee who was guilty of abusing the patient, the corporation will owe damages as long as the acts occurred within the scope of employment.
In order for the corporation to be responsible, it would have to be proven that the facility was aware of the abuse. Evidence would also have to be provided to show that there was a pattern of behavior that the facility should have been aware of.
Medical records will also come into play in proving there was a breach in the duty of care. It can be difficult to prove health issues were caused by abuse and were not due to other illnesses or natural aging. Often, expert witnesses will need to be brought in to testify as to the cause of injuries.
What Type of Damages Can I Claim in an Elder Abuse Case?
The damages you can claim in an elder abuse case vary from the damages you can claim in other types of personal injury cases.
When an elderly person is a victim, it’s likely they do not have much income and their life expectancy is not long. However, showing that negligence led to injury and loss of dignity in the final stages of a person’s life can lead to substantial damages.
You may receive compensation for injuries as well as punitive damages for willful or wanton behavior as well as reckless indifference. Punitive damages are meant to punish the person responsible for abuse in the hopes that he or she will not repeat their actions in the future.
The Elderly Abuse Problem in Pennsylvania
Elderly abuse is a problem all over the world, but it hits especially hard in Pennsylvania where older citizens account for 21.4% of the state’s population. This includes 2.7 million individuals over the age of 60 and 2.4% over the age of 85. The substantial elder population has resulted in an increase of elderly abuse, abandonment and financial exploitation.
According to the Senior Law Center, older individuals that are abused have an increased risk of dying prematurely. In fact, they are three times more likely to die before their time as compared to those who have not been abused.
While putting relatives in a nursing home can provide advanced care it also increases the risk of that person falling victim to abuse.
What makes it worse is that it can be extremely difficult for nursing homes to catch signs of abuse. With many facilities being understaffed, mistreatment can easily fall under the radar. Therefore, the problem is grossly unreported. In fact, it is estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elderly abuse are ever reported to authorities.
What Should I Do If I Expect My Loved One is a Victim of Elder Abuse?
If you suspect a loved one or anyone else you know is a victim of elder abuse, do not hesitate to call the Pennsylvania Elder Abuse Hotline at 800-490-8585. You can call 24 hours a day seven days a week and the call is free.
For further legal action to be taken, call a qualified elder abuse lawyer. A lawyer will see to it that your loved one is protected and gets the compensation they deserve.
Why Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP?
If someone you know and love is being abused, Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP can help. We have over 40 years of experience in the field of personal injury and elderly abuse law. We offer free consultations, and we won’t ask for a penny unless you get a positive outcome. Our lawyers are skilled in a variety of fields of law ensuring you get the personalized service you deserve.
Elder abuse is a terrible crime. Don’t let neglectful facilities get away with it. Call Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP to see to it that justice is served.