Nursing home abuse is a severe problem in the United States. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one in six people 60 years or older experienced some form of abuse in community settings over the past year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, financial scams targeting senior citizens increased significantly. Financial abuse and other forms of nursing home abuse can result in negative consequences for the victim. Abuse victims who suffered a legal injury can file a civil lawsuit against the nursing home to recover compensation for their losses.
What Is a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
If you discover your loved one is suffering abuse in a nursing home, you should report the abuse as soon as possible. If you think your loved one is in danger, you should contact the police. Alternatively, you can report the abuse to the California Department of Public Health or the California Department of Aging. Adult Protective Services (APS) is a social service program in every state that receives and investigates reports of elder adult abuse or neglect and intervenes to help the victims if necessary. You can report to APS in California by calling 1-833-401-0832 and entering your 5-digit zip code. While these avenues are available to alert proper authorities of the abuse allegations, they are not part of your lawsuit.
In California, seniors and dependent adults are protected by the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act or EADACPA. This allows you to file a lawsuit if any of the following occur:
- Physical abuse,
- Emotional abuse, or
- Financial abuse.
In a nursing home abuse lawsuit, the abuse victim files against the nursing home or its employees, alleging:
- They were 65 or older or a “dependent adult” under the EADACPA,
- The defendant abused the victim, and
- They suffered damages due to the abuse.
The nursing home abuse lawsuit process in California is complex and often frustrating. An attorney can help you determine if you meet the criteria to file a lawsuit.
Reasons for Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
California authorizes victims to bring a lawsuit in cases of emotional abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse, and neglect.
Signs of emotional abuse may include:
- Fear or anxiety,
- Lack of responsiveness,
- Depression, and
- Sudden changes in sleep patterns.
Any of these can indicate that some type of abuse is occurring, so be vigilant to watch for these signs from seniors in your life.
Signs of financial abuse can include:
- Unexpected charges on bank statements,
- Sudden changes in account balances, and
- Frequent or unexplained ATM withdrawals.
Financial scammers often target older individuals with more frequency than younger people. Do not hesitate to ask questions if you see any signs of financial abuse.
Signs of physical abuse might include:
- Broken bones,
- Unexplained injuries,
- Fearfulness, or
In some cases, you can find signs of neglect throughout a nursing home facility, such as:
- Poor living conditions,
- Lack of adequate medical treatment,
- Bedsores, and
- High staff turnover.
Extreme neglect that leads to injuries and other harm can be grounds for a lawsuit.
What Documents Do I Need to File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in California?
When you file a nursing home abuse lawsuit, your attorney will prepare a complaint and file it with the proper court. The complaint will lay out the information about your case and outline the compensation you request. When preparing your complaint, your attorney will need certain nursing home abuse documents that support your claim. This may include:
- Police reports,
- Abuse reports,
- The victim’s previous medical history,
- The victim’s current medical diagnosis,
- Medical expenses stemming from abuse,
- Eyewitness testimony,
- Photographs of injuries, and
- Financial documents.
This information will bolster your claim of abuse and help meet the burden of proof in your case.
Curious About Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit? Silva Injury Law Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, you may qualify to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit. At Silva Injury Law, our skilled nursing home abuse attorneys provide all our clients with answers, tireless advocacy, and compassionate support. When you hire our team, you will get much more than an attorney looking to earn a paycheck. Contact Silva Injury Law today to achieve the best possible outcome for you or a loved one.
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At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.