California Elder Abuse Lawyer
The experienced elder abuse lawyers at Bisnar | Chase passionately fight for the rights of victims and their families. Taking advantage of one of the most vulnerable sections of our society is simply unacceptable. The perpetrators of such crimes and the individuals and entities who allow such wrongdoing to take place should be held accountable. If your loved one has been the victim of abuse while in residential care, please contact us at 949-203-3814 for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.
A significant portion of elder abuse cases that are reported take place in California's nursing homes. However, there are many unreported cases of abuse that occur in private residences as well. Hospice care providers and in-home care workers are tasked with taking care of elderly, vulnerable individuals who often need help with everyday activities. Workers who take advantage of that vulnerability should be held accountable for their wrongdoing.
What is Elder Abuse?
Many elderly patients who require assistance at home are physically frail and unable to take care of themselves or defend themselves against abuse. Some are not able to hear, see or even think as clearly as they once did. This vulnerability opens the door for dishonest or perverse individuals to take advantage of them. There are many different ways in which someone can become a victim of elder abuse. Some of the most common forms of elder abuse in California include:
- Physical abuse: It is unacceptable to use force against an elderly person. Victims of physical abuse may suffer from pain, injury or even impairment. Examples of physical abuse that can occur at home or in a California nursing home include hitting, pushing, restraining, confining or sedation through medication. Signs of physical abuse may include unexplained bruises, injuries, scratches or changes in personality or behavior.
- Emotional abuse: Psychological abuse can be devastating to an elderly victim. It is common for victims of elder abuse to suffer from intimidation, humiliation, and ridicule. If your loved one suddenly becomes much more anxious, withdrawn or irritable, it is possible that some form of emotional abuse has taken place.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse refers to scenarios where there has been nonconsensual sexual activity. Examples of elder sex crimes can range from showing an elderly person pornographic material to sexual battery or even rape. Signs of sexual abuse may include bruises around the breasts or genitals, sexually transmitted diseases or unexplained vaginal bleeding.
- Financial exploitation: Financial abuse is the act of taking advantage of an elderly person for financial gain. It can include the theft of private property, the misuse of personal checks, the forging of signatures or identity theft or alteration of a person's will. Signs of financial exploitation may include sudden and unexplained changes in the victim's bank account, bills for unnecessary services and suspicious changes in wills or power of attorney.
- Neglect: Depending on the amount of care that an elderly patient requires, neglect can be just as harmful as abuse. Intentional neglect is when a worker knowingly avoids providing care that is needed. Passive neglect is when a care provider fails to learn about the many needs that the patient has. Signs of neglect include bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, messy living quarters and unhygienic conditions.
Choosing the Right Care Provider
It is not possible to prevent all forms of elder abuse from occurring. There are a number of steps, however, that you can take to reduce the chances of such abuse. Make sure you meet with your loved one's care providers. Make it a point to visit as often as you can and ask about the level of care of your loved one is receiving. When visiting, ask your loved one about how he or she is doing. Take note of how clean the residence looks and whether or not your loved one seems healthy. You may want to consider installing hidden cameras if you are suspicious of neglect or wrongdoing. If you still have concerns, it may be advisable to meet with the care provider's employer or to discuss your options with a professional at the California Office of the Ombudsman. If you suspect that physical or sexual abuse has occurred, call the police and file a report right away.
Reporting Elder Abuse
If your loved one is being harmed by a California nursing home worker or home care provider, it is likely that others are suffering from similar issues. Your actions to hold the worker accountable for his or her wrongdoing may help protect others from harm.
You may want to consider calling the Adult Protection Services within the California Department of Health Services. It is their job to investigate reports of elder abuse. They can evaluate abuse cases and help secure counseling for the victim. If you would like to pursue financial compensation, it may be in your best interest to discuss your potential claim with a skilled California elder abuse attorney.
Pursuing Compensation for Elder Abuse
It is possible to hold an abusive care provider and his or her employer financially accountable for their wrongdoing. A skilled California elder abuse attorney can help the victim or the victim's family pursue compensation for medical bills, physical pain, emotional suffering and other related damages.