Florida Elder Abuse Attorneys
Much of America’s senior citizens rely on nursing homes, assisted living organizations, and other forms of elder care. The people responsible for the care of our elderly loved ones have a legal and moral responsibility to discharge their duties in good faith and to prevent harm to the patients in their care. When those caring for elders violate these obligations or intentionally harm their patients, it is elder abuse.
Elder abuse takes many forms, including physical abuse, mental abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and more. When elder abuse occurs, the victims may feel trapped or too frightened of reprisals from abusers to speak up to loved ones about their situations. Family members who visit their elderly loved ones must remain vigilant for the signs of elder abuse and know what to do to put a stop to it. We believe that senior citizens deserve to be treated with dignity, which all too often does not happen in nursing homes.
Signs of Elder Abuse
If you regularly visit elderly relatives in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or at their home where they receive regular medical care, it’s crucial to spot signs of abuse as soon as possible so you can end abusive situations before they escalate. Some of the signs of elder abuse include:
- Reclusiveness. An abused elder may appear withdrawn, distracted, or unsociable. This could be out of fear of the abuser, shame, or declining awareness.
- Sudden changes to medical status. Elderly individuals are more susceptible to illnesses and injuries than younger individuals, but it’s still crucial to keep close tabs on your loved one’s medical status and the status of any of his or her medical conditions. If you notice any sudden changes in your loved one’s treatment plan or medical chart, speak respectfully with his or her doctors and caregivers to find out the reasons behind these developments.
- Unexplained injuries. Inexplicable bruises, cuts, or other wounds. If you notice your loved one has wounds, make sure you find out the exact cause from his or her caregivers. If a caregiver cannot provide a reasonable explanation for your loved one’s injuries, this is a major red flag.
- Living conditions. Pay close attention to the cleanliness of your loved one’s living space. Elders often rely on caregivers for bathing and keeping clean sheets on their beds, among other things. If your loved one appears dirty or is sleeping on soiled bedding, this is serious cause for concern.
- Financial irregularities. Most elderly individuals allow a loved one such as an adult child or sibling to handle finances, or at least allow these individuals some degree of access to their finances.
Elderly individuals often rely on their loved ones and friends in these situations, so it’s up to the family members to spot the signs of abuse and take swift corrective action.
Legal Action for Elder Abuse
If your elderly loved one has suffered abuse in any way, the legal responsibility may fall on one or more parties. For example, if one caregiver was intentionally abusing your loved one, the caregiver will likely be liable for the abuse. However, the caregiver’s employer, such as a hospital, nursing home, or other organization, may face liability as well.
Damages in most elder abuse cases involve compensation for the medical expenses and pain and suffering resulting from the abuse. Compensation may also include repayment of financial exploitation or theft. The most important aspect of an elder abuse case is that it removes your loved one from a dangerous situation and holds the responsible parties accountable for their actions. It’s possible for elder abusers to face criminal charges in addition to civil actions from the elder’s family. Contact our attorneys for more information about elder abuse lawsuits in Florida. Call us today for a free consultation.