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Deciding it’s time for an elderly loved one to receive care in a nursing home or assisted living facility isn’t easy, but decisions like this are more common in California every year. California is home to over 6.3 million elderly persons; that number will nearly double to 12 million by 2030. Even with medical advances and healthier lifestyles, any elderly person may eventually need professional, full-time care. It should be expected the decision to turn your day-to-day care over to another person entitles you to competent, compassionate treatment, but this is often not the case and results in injuries or death due to nursing home abuse or neglect. If you or a loved one was injured in professional care, contact an experienced Moreno Valley nursing home abuse or neglect attorney to see if you could be entitled to compensation.

Nursing Home Statistics in Moreno Valley

Moreno Valley has a growing population of over 209,000, which means its’ elderly population is also growing. It contributes to the more than 13% of Riverside County residents designated as senior citizens. Nearly 4,200 residents live in the county’s 51 nursing homes, and countless others receive in-home care or other assisted living services. As more Moreno Valley residents avail themselves of facilities like Aqua Bella Residential Care, Barker Place, or Sunny Hills Home Care, more opportunities for abuse and neglect are created. Unfortunately, as a growing population seeks out these services, it corresponds to a 16 percent increase in abuse reports in Riverside County since 2015 – proving the risks to nursing home residents in Moreno Valley are very real.

What is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

California defines both abuse and neglect broadly, and the conduct can be:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Isolation
  • Theft or other financial abuse
  • Any conduct causing pain or suffering

It’s common for multiple forms of abuse or neglect to occur in a vicious cycle or together; initial abuse or neglect is often followed by psychological abuse to silence the victim and permit continuance of the initial form of abuse or neglect.

What are Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Unfortunately, abuse and neglect don’t often present as obviously as someone sporting a new bloody nose. Because the behavior is often hidden and ongoing, changes in a victim’s behavior, physical health, or state of mind are good indicators of a problem. Though no two cases will present indicators in the same way, some common signs are:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Severe bedsores
  • Unexplained malnutrition or dehydration
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Implausible stories on how injuries happened
  • Cuts, bruises, and/or burns
  • Frequent emergency room visits
  • Rapid behavior and mood changes
  • Unwillingness to speak freely or fear around the perpetrator
  • Reluctance to be alone with the perpetrator.

How do I win a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Case?

Most victims of nursing home abuse and neglect pursue compensation for their injuries by filing a lawsuit alleging someone’s negligence injured them. To establish negligence occurred, you must prove in court:

  • The accused owed you a legal duty of care to act as a reasonably prudent person would in their situation,
  • They breached the duty by an act or a failure to act when they should have, and
  • The breach caused your harm.

Another way to argue negligence without proving these elements is through California’s doctrine of negligence per se. A presumption of negligence is created if you can prove that a law, rule, or regulation designed to protect people was violated and resulted in your injuries. For example, if you can prove a nursing home or nursing home worker violated one of California’s many laws setting care standards and you were injured as a result, they’re presumed negligent.

What’s my Case Worth?

It’s common to wonder what your claim is worth, because nothing can undo the trauma a victim already suffered from abuse or neglect. However, if a defendant is found negligent, courts may award compensatory damages for physical, emotional, financial, and psychological injuries suffered due to the negligent conduct. Awards may be given for injuries including:

  • Medical bills;
  • Loss of consortium (companionship);
  • Mental anguish; and
  • Funeral expenses or burial costs.

Moreno Valley also allows damages under the California Elder Abuse Act, which may allow for enhanced damages in some situations. Additionally, in rare cases victims may also be awarded additional damage that punish the wrongdoer rather than make a victim whole for their injuries. Punitive damages and California Elder Abuse Act enhanced damages can be difficult to establish and are best handled with assistance from an experienced Moreno Valley attorney.

What if I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Prevention is the best way to address nursing home abuse and neglect, but the secretive nature of the behavior unfortunately means preventative measures are sometimes too late or not enough. This means it’s important to be watchful in case abuse or neglect signs appear later in order to recognize them, speak up, and act.

Reporting Suspicions or Concerns

If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected or, if they have confided they’re being mistreated, speak up immediately and alert proper authorities. This can stop the abuse, protect the victim, and hold perpetrators accountable. Several agencies and groups are available to hear your concerns and take corrective action:

  • The victim’s nursing home or care facility
  • Government agencies like adult protective services, the health department, and local ombudsmen
  • Law enforcement

It’s also important to speak with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney who can thoroughly investigate your suspicions and help victims recover for the injuries they’ve suffered.

Speak to a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed at the hands of a professional entrusted to provide compassionate and skillful care, speak to the skilled Moreno Valley nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Walton Law, APC today. Our lawyers have years of experience representing victims like you and your loved ones and have secured millions of dollars in compensation on their behalf. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or through our Contact Us page to schedule a no risk, no obligation case evaluation. The initial consultation is free and completely confidential, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our skilled team review your situation, answer your questions, and fight for you to receive the best possible outcome from a bad situation so you can focus on getting your life back on track.