Unfortunately, the rising population of seniors in the United States means that instances of elder abuse are rising too. While most nursing homes and their employees do their best to provide a loving and hospitable environment for seniors, some cases may cross the line and have detrimental results.
If you suspect elder abuse, you, fortunately, have several options. One of those options is to investigate the abuse and determine if legal action is the best next step. This guide will help you learn about this situation an older person may be facing.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse comes in several different forms. When most people think of abuse, they might think of physical abuse first. Physical abuse can include hitting, slapping, and other types of physical contact done with malice. Look out for signs of physical abuse in unexplained injuries such as cuts and bruising. Sometimes physical abuse extends into sexual abuse and psychological abuse, as well.
Other Types of Elder Abuse
Emotional abuse is one common form of elder abuse. It could involve yelling or psychological manipulation. It often involves making threats and can be combined with other forms of abuse.
Financial abuse occurs when an individual steals or takes advantage of the finances of an elderly individual. Perhaps somebody came in and manipulate your loved one to sign over their power of attorney or something related to their bank statements.
Additionally, some forms of abuse are actually neglect, in which a staff member fails to act. They may neglect to move or bathe your loved one, resulting in serious medical conditions. They may forget to administer medication, for example. Negligence can be another form of medical malpractice and it is recommended to get legal advice on how to handle claims in this area of law.
Elder abuse can happen anywhere, from nursing homes to personal residences. You may suspect a nurse, a staff member, or even a family member of abuse. And this abuse can have severe consequences that can last for a long time.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse?
One of the first things you should do if you suspect elder abuse is to alert the appropriate authorities. The police may be able to step in and remove potential threats.
Unfortunately, elder abuse is still difficult to prove. Many people turn to investigators or attorneys who can help them prove the allegations. Personal injury claims can be the answer to getting justice for the wrongdoings done to your loved one.
Removing the individual from the situation in which he or she is being abused is also important. This prevents further abuse and can also alert others to potential abuse.
How Can You Gather Evidence of Elder Abuse?
In some cases, people hire private investigators to find evidence of elder abuse. An investigator can determine if abuse is happening, who is committing it, and what evidence points to the abuse.
Whether you work with an investigator, do it on your own, or hire an attorney, investigating elder abuse often begins by talking with your loved one. He or she may be able to shed light and provide information to help you further investigate.
An investigation may also include a look into the civil litigation history of a company as well as the histories and backgrounds of the employees involved. Public record searches can also be helpful.
In some areas, an investigator may be able to use video or audio footage as well. In states where it is legal to do so, an investigator may have cameras or recorders capture footage of abuse or discussion of abuse.
Should You Hire an Attorney if You Find Evidence?
If you find evidence of elder abuse, hire an attorney. An attorney can help you recoup losses due to medical bills and disability, and a lawsuit may help bring justice for your loved one.
Galligan Law is an experienced law firm that seeks compensation for individuals who have been injured in nursing home situations. Call our Iowa office today to discuss your personal injury legal options with an experienced lawyer.