There are not very many attorneys who specialize in elder abuse cases in California. Why? Because they are complex and expensive. It is important that a lawyer has specific training and experience in elder abuse cases because they are completely different from any other kind of case. Case Barnett Law specializes in elder abuse and knows the intricacies and challenges that these types of cases present.
Case Barnett Law believes that you should never file an elder abuse claim without an experienced elder abuse attorney. This process is completely different from other types of personal injury cases.
Abuse at Residential and Skilled Nursing Facilities
When an elderly loved one is being cared for in a residential or skilled nursing facility, it can be hard to know when a medical condition is a normal complication of aging or when an injury is the result of a legitimate accident. The staff will certainly always claim that they are not to blame for your loved one’s condition but—all too often—they are. Some common conditions and injuries that often indicate abuse or neglect in a nursing home include the following: (Please link each to the appropriate library article)
- Bed sores and infectious diseases. When a patient is left unattended for long periods of time, she may develop bedsores, so this condition can be a telltale sign of neglect. An even bigger threat to a patient’s well-being is an infection or infectious disease. Elderly patients have weakened immune systems and an infection may be unavoidable, but they should be treated swiftly and aggressively. Infections like c.diff and MRSA can be fatal in elderly patients if they go untreated.
- Dehydration and malnutrition. Nursing homes must provide residents with nutritious, palatable meals and must provide alternatives if a resident refuses to eat what is offered. If a loved one complains about the food and shows symptoms of dehydration or malnutrition, it is vital that you investigate and take action.
- Falls and broken bones. Falls are common among elderly residents of nursing homes and their brittle bones mean they are more likely to suffer a broken bone in a fall. However, a care facility should take every precaution to prevent falls and should respond immediately when a resident falls. Every broken bone should be investigated for the possibility of abuse or neglect.
- Improper medication. Protocols should be in place so that medication errors never occur in a nursing home. However, if your loved one receives the wrong medication, is given too much or too little of a required medication, or suffers an adverse reaction to a medication, you can be sure someone made a mistake and should be held accountable.
- Wrongful death. Nursing home residents are elderly, and death is to be expected. However, if the death is sudden or there is evidence of abuse or neglect on the body of the deceased, the facility may be guilty of wrongful death. These cases are difficult to prove, and you will need the assistance of a wrongful death attorney who specializes in elder abuse law.
- Financial abuse. Scams involving insurance or counterfeit prescription drugs are sometimes perpetrated against nursing home residents. As a family member, it is often up to you to keep track of your loved one’s finances and to take action if you believe the nursing home is stealing from its residents.
- Improper use of restraints. Bruising, toileting accidents, dehydration, depression, and other injuries can be signs that your loved one has been restrained to a bed or wheelchair. While there are times when restraints are necessary, if you suspect they have been used improperly, call an attorney to help you investigate.
It is not easy to put a loved one in a residential care facility, and you may worry about him or her all the time. You want the best possible care for your parent or grandparent, and it may be hard to distinguish between substandard care and outright abuse. We tell our clients to trust their instincts. If your loved one shows signs of physical abuse or is declining rapidly in other ways, ask questions and call an attorney.
When Should You Get Legal Advice Regarding Your Elder Abuse Claim?
The elderly in America are being taken advantage of by large, corporate, for-profit health care facilities. You should absolutely consult with an attorney experienced in elder abuse before you file a claim. This area of the law is complex and legislation is possibly changing, but you can rest assured that Case Barnett Law will work to get the best possible outcome for your elder abuse case and is willing to go all the way to trial if necessary. If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about your case, call Case Barnett Law today.