The decision to entrust the care of a loved one to professional caregivers at a nursing home or other long-term care facility is never easy, but it is becoming a more common decision faced by Americans each year – Californians in particular. The United States Census Bureau estimated California’s elderly population will grow to 6.4 million by 2025.
Once the choice is made to allow someone to professionally care for your elderly loved one, you are right to expect they will be given the best quality care possible and treated with the highest levels of compassion, respect, and dignity. However, far too often these assumptions are wrong, and the trust given to caregivers is misplaced. Substandard care, nursing home abuse, and nursing home neglect are unfortunately all too common, but if you or your loved one has been injured under these conditions in Riverside you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney in Riverside today to understand the options that may be available to you.
Riverside Nursing Home Facts
Nearly 12 percent of Riverside is aged 65 or older, and the population explosion of late has grown the city to over 326,000 residents. The elderly in the community are most likely to face the prospect of nursing homes or long-term care facilities in the near future and will be at the greatest risk for abuse and neglect.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Riverside?
Riverside and the rest of California allow criminal and civil cases to proceed against parties responsible for abuse or neglect of elderly or dependent adults. There are many types of behavior that constitute abuse and neglect – they are construed broadly and may include:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Inflicting any mental or physical pain or suffering.
It is typical for more than one variety of abuse or neglect to occur simultaneously. Often, after the initial abuse or neglect occurs, the victim will be psychologically abused into silence which creates ideal conditions for the initial form of abuse to continue.
How Can I Tell if Abuse or Neglect is Occurring?
In rare cases, the signs of abuse or neglect are glaringly obvious. However, this is the exception rather than the rule – most signs or symptoms present in far more subtly than the sudden appearance of a black eye. This is the reason is it important to remain vigilant and look for the telltale physical, emotional, and behavioral signs that may indicate abuse or neglect is being perpetrated towards your loved one. These may include:
- Severe or worsening bedsores
- Cuts, bruises, or burns
- Malnutrition, a sunken face, or dehydration not caused by a documented illness
- Unwillingness to speak freely
- Behavior and mood changes
- Lack of basic necessities such as food, water, or electricity
- Fear when in their abuser’s presence or reluctance to be left alone with their abuser
Remember that abuse may take many forms and present in any number of varying symptoms, so no two cases of abuse or neglect will necessarily present in the same ways. When in doubt, speak up and consult an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney in Riverside.
Winning a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Claim
Personal injuries related to nursing home abuse or neglect are commonly won by arguing negligence on the part of an accused party. To establish negligence, you must show a party owed you a legal duty of care, breached that duty to you through an act or omission, and their breach caused the injuries to you or your loved one.
If you can prove negligence, you are entitled to recover compensatory damages you can prove in court that will make you whole for harms such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Additionally, Riverside follows California’s Elder Abuse Act, which permits a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect to recover enhanced civil damages under certain circumstances. Punitive damages to punish a wrongdoer may also be warranted in certain cases. The complexity of analyzing your case, providing adequate evidence to satisfy different burdens of proof, deciding which damages to seek, and making nuanced legal arguments can be quite daunting and convoluted – issues best handled by a seasoned Riverside personal injury attorney.
How Do I Address Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Because elderly people are especially vulnerable, prevention of abuse and neglect through vigilance is the best-case scenario. However, remaining aware and looking for physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral changes in your loved one is good first step to recognizing and combating the insidious, often-hidden abuse and neglect that can present very subtly. There are also other actions you can take if you believe nursing home abuse or neglect are occurring that can literally save your loved one’s life.
If you notice any changes in your loved one, if they tell you of mistreatment, or if you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, say something immediately. Not only should you speak to the manager of the nursing home or long-term facility to have your concerns documented and investigated, you can also speak to a number of government agencies that are charged with protecting the elderly and following up on reports of abuse or neglect. Additionally, you can speak to adult protective services, a long-term care ombudsman based in Riverside, and even file a police report as elder abuse and neglect are both criminal acts and personal injuries that may heap both civil and criminal cases on the perpetrator.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you or a loved have been injured as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse, do not delay – speak to the skilled Riverside nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Walton Law, APC today. We have years of experience representing clients like you and have secured millions of dollars in damages for the injuries of victims. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866) 338-7079 or using the form on our Contact Us to schedule your no risk, no obligation initial case review no obligation, risk-free initial consultation as soon as possible. Our knowledgeable attorneys will evaluate the facts of your unique situation, discuss your options with you, and deliver personalized advocacy for you. The consultation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let us review your case, answer your questions, and work with you to obtain the best outcome possible from an unfortunate situation.