Deciding an elderly loved one is better off in the full-time care of professionals at a nursing home or long-term care facility is never easy, but these choices are happening in California more and more often. California’s elderly population currently numbers more than 6.3 million and will have skyrocketed to nearly 12 million within the next decade. Even with medical advances and healthier lifestyles, many people will reach a point where they can no longer care for themselves and need help from family or a professional facility. In choosing long-term care, you should expect that you or your loved one will be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion while receiving the highest professional level of care. However, reality often falls far short of expectations and can cause a victim severe injury or death. If you or a loved one suffered abuse or neglect while in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact a skilled Hemet Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation.
Hemet Nursing Home Facts
Hemet a growing town of over 84,000 that is getting significantly larger each year and, mirroring California’s trend, has an elderly population that is growing and stands to double within the next decade. This makes it no surprise nursing homes and long-term care facilities will only increase in number and capacity far past the 6 that currently exist in the city. Nearly 25 percent of Hemet’s population is currently 60 or older. This percentage is set to grow drastically, which means the number of elderly individuals that consider nursing home care stands to grow as well. Unfortunately, this also increases the number of potential nursing home abuse and neglect victims.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
In Hemet, nursing home abuse and neglect can subject perpetrators to both civil and criminal liability. California defines abuse and neglect expansively. Abuse and neglect can be:
- Physical abuse;
- Sexual abuse;
- Theft; or
- Any other conduct that inflicts any pain or suffering.
Unfortunately, victims often suffer multiple types of abuse or neglect simultaneously. Commonly, an initial form of abuse or neglect is subsequently followed by psychological abuse of the victim to manipulate them into remaining silent. The abuser will then capitalize on the victim’s silence and continue to perpetrate the initial abusive or neglectful behavior.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Though nursing home abuse and neglect can be as noticeable as a black eye or bloody nose, this is not usually the case. The secretive nature of the behavior is how it is perpetrated for an extended amount of time. Because the abuse or neglect is often long-term in nature and each case is different, you must be vigilant for physical, behavioral, or emotional deviations that could signal abuse or neglect. Indicators may include:
- Malnutrition or dehydration not connected to a medical condition;
- Behavior or mood changes;
- Lying to explain injuries;
- Severe bedsores;
- Sudden lack of hygiene;
- Burns, cuts, or bruises;
- Reluctance to speak freely around their abuser;
- Lack of food, water, electricity or other necessities; and
- Reluctance to be left alone with their abuser or fear in their presence.
How Do I Win a Hemet Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case?
Most nursing home abuse and neglect victims recover damages in civil court by proving a defendant’s negligence caused their damages. To prove negligence, victims must show it’s more likely than not that:
- The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the victim,
- Defendant breached their duty by affirmative act or omission, and
- Defendant’s breach caused the victim actual harm.
Unless the defendant can raise a valid legal defense, if the victim proves the required elements defendant will be presumed negligent and be responsible for the victim’s damages. The complexities of establishing breach of duty as well as tying defendant’s actions to the cause of a victim’s injury are tricky to establish and should be handled with the help of an experienced Hemet Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer.
What Is My Case Worth?
After a defendant is found negligent, they are liable for any injuries a victim can prove in court. Courts can give compensatory damages to victims for harm they suffered due to defendant’s negligence. Victims can receive awards for both economic and noneconomic harms including:
- Hospital bills;
- Property damage;
- Burial costs;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Mental anguish.
In Hemet, the California Elder Abuse Act is also applicable for nursing home abuse and neglect cases. In certain cases, the Act allows enhanced damages for nursing home abuse and neglect victims. In other cases, victims may be entitled to punitive damages if certain elements are present and a stiff burden of proof are satisfied. The stringent requirements for enhanced and additional damages are best handled by a skilled Hemet Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect attorney to avoid potentially costly legal pitfalls.
What If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect is Happening?
Even though preventing nursing home abuse and neglect is the best-case scenario, the secretive nature of such behavior means this isn’t always possible. Rather, vigilance is key to observing and recognizing indicators of abuse and neglect so corrective measures can be taken. When abuse and neglect cannot be prevented, reporting your observations and publicizing the behavior are the best ways to stop the conduct and any further harm to victims.
Voice Your Concerns to the Right Parties
It’s important to say something at once if you have suspicions of nursing home abuse or neglect or an elderly loved one tells you it is occurring. Notifying the right parties and authorities can stop the abuse quickly, stop further and future harm to victims, and start the processing of punishing those responsible for the behavior. The government has established numerous agencies that can handle complaints of nursing home abuse and neglect. Some steps to take include:
- Speaking to the nursing home’s management about your concerns,
- Reporting concerns to government agencies like the local ombudsmen and adult protective services who are tasked with investigating such complaints and protecting elderly persons, and
- Notifying law enforcement so the behavior can be investigated, and the perpetrators can be held criminally liable.
Contact a Hemet Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney
If you or a loved one were the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the experienced Hemet Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys at Walton Law immediately. Our skilled attorneys have spent years delivering personalized, aggressive representation for victims just like you and have recovered millions in damages to compensate for our clients’ injuries. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866) 338-7079 or complete our Contact Us page online to schedule your risk-free, no obligation initial case evaluation today. The consultation is free, and you do not pay until we win your case. Let the knowledgeable attorneys at Walton Law Our analyze the facts of your unique situation, answer your questions and explain your options, and help you take the first step to maximum possible recovery so you can get your life back on track starting today.