Los Angeles Physical Elder Abuse Attorney
It is hard to imagine any type of abuse against a vulnerable senior citizen. Sadly, thousands of victims suffer different forms of elder abuse each year, often at the hands of the very people who are meant to protect them – caregivers and nursing home staff members. Physical elder abuse is an extremely dangerous offense that can cause injuries and psychological distress. Learn more about Los Angeles physical elder abuse to protect your loved one from this crime.
What Is Los Angeles Physical Elder Abuse?
Physical elder abuse refers to violence or assault against someone who is 65 years old or older. It can take the form of domestic violence (meaning the abuser is someone in the senior’s household), abuse at a nursing home or abuse by a caregiver. Physical elder abuse may go hand-in-hand with elder neglect, or the failure to provide the elder with proper care or basic necessities. Examples of physical elder abuse are:
- Improperly restraining
Many people who physically abuse a dependent adult are victims of abuse themselves. They may also be individuals with alcohol and drug addictions, criminal histories, and mental illnesses. In many cases, physical abuse is used to exert power over an elderly victim, such as for a caregiver to achieve personal or financial gain. It may exist on its own or in conjunction with other forms of elder abuse, such as sexual abuse, emotional abuse and financial abuse.
Who Is Most at Risk of Los Angeles Elder Physical Abuse?
Physical elder abuse can impact any older individual. Those who are most at risk, however, are elders who live with their caregivers or reside in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or hospices. Other risk factors for physical elder abuse include isolation from friends and relatives, physical disabilities, and mental illnesses. In many elder abuse cases, physical or mental disabilities can put senior citizens at the mercy of their abusers, with no way to defend themselves or – in some cases – come forward to report the perpetrator.
Signs of Physical Elder Abuse
Physical elder abuse can cause injuries that significantly impact the victim. A broken bone could require months of bedrest, for example, with possible complications such as bedsores or infections. Some injuries from elder abuse can be fatal or contribute to an overall decline in health that ultimately causes the elder’s wrongful death. If your elderly loved one is suffering from physical harm, you may be able to notice the following signs or red flags:
- Unexplained injuries
- Frequent trips to the hospital
- Broken bones
- Cuts or scrapes
- Bite or burn marks
- Restraint or strap marks
- Neglected personal hygiene
- Malnourishment, weight loss, or dehydration
- Sudden decline in physical or mental health
Physical violence against senior citizens is widely underreported and can go hand-in-hand with psychological abuse or financial elder abuse. It is often up to family members and loved ones to notice the signs of care facility or nursing home abuse and take action to protect the victim. In addition to physical injuries, elder abuse or neglect can also take an emotional, mental or psychological toll on a victim. You may notice signs of anxiety or depression in your loved one, as well as feelings of guilt, shame or fear. Ask your loved one how he or she is doing and take any allegations of abuse seriously.
What You Can Do to Help an Elderly Person Who’s Been Physically Abused
Elder physical abuse is often hidden. Many victims do not report physical abuse for fear of retaliation by the perpetrator or of not being believed. Others cannot physically complain or have mental health issues, such as dementia, that cause confusion or forgetfulness. Visit your loved one often to search for signs of potential abuse. If you notice any red flags, take the following actions immediately:
- Ask your loved one about his or her living situation. Document or record his or her answers.
- Call 911 to report physical elder abuse if the situation is an emergency.
- Take your loved one out of the care of the perpetrator and to a safe place.
- Get your loved one any medical care that he or she needs. Keep copies of medical records.
- Report potential abuse by an employee of a nursing home or company to a manager.
- In a nonemergency, call your county’s non-emergency police number to file a police report.
- Contact your local Adult Protective Services agency to submit a claim about elder abuse.
- Request assistance from an ombudsman program, or call a national hotline in a case of domestic elder abuse.
- Keep all medical bills, travel receipts and other proof of losses associated with physical elder abuse.
- Contact a Los Angeles elder abuse attorney for legal advice and assistance filing an injury claim.
Your loved one has rights as the victim of elder physical abuse. You can help by reporting the abuse immediately and reaching out to agencies that can offer further assistance. Your loved one’s safety and wellbeing are the top priority. If you need help moving your relative to a different nursing home or location, resources are available. The Los Angeles County law firm of Rose, Klein & Marias LLP, for example, can help you relocate your loved one and protect his or her rights.
How Can You Prevent the Physical Abuse of an Elder?
If you are responsible for an elderly loved one’s welfare, practice due diligence when determining the long-term care plan. Research your options thoroughly. If you decide on a nursing home, visit each option in person to check on the premises and see how staff members treat residents and each other. When choosing a caregiver, check his or her criminal history and background. Look for reviews, referrals and testimonials to determine the best choice for your loved one. After you’ve made your decision, check in with your loved one often to look for possible signs of abuse or neglect.
Contact an Elder Abuse Lawyer in Los Angeles for Assistance
Physical elder abuse is not only a crime; it is also a tort, meaning a wrongful act that can give a victim the right to file a civil lawsuit. An elder abuse lawsuit in California can result in payment given to the victim for his or her medical bills, therapies, medications, pain and suffering, relocation, emotional distress, and other losses. It can hold an individual and institution, such as a nursing home, accountable.
For more information about a physical elder abuse lawsuit in Los Angeles, contact our nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers to request a free case review. We are experienced attorneys who can help you protect your loved one and seek justice.