How Can a Lawsuit Help in Elder Abuse Recovery?

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of J.D. Smith with Law Office of J.D. Smith, PLLC.

How Can a Lawsuit Help in Elder Abuse Recovery?
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Elder abuse is not often discussed but is becoming more prevalent as medical advances have allowed more people than ever to live into advanced years. Elder abuse is most often committed by family members, followed by nursing home staff and even other residents. However, it is important to remember that abuse can take many forms and may be perpetrated by anyone. If you or your loved one have suffered from elder abuse, reach out to an elder abuse attorney to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.

Elder abuse can result in a myriad of financial expenses and emotional/psychological damages.

From past, present, and future medical bills, life care expenses, and financial loss due to theft, elder abuse can be extraordinarily costly. Existing conditions can be aggravated and worsened by neglectful care or abuse, resulting in ongoing treatment and/or medications that might otherwise have been avoided. These damages refer only to the economic damages, or damages that come with a specific price tag.

However, equally important are the non-economic damages which are much harder to calculate. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of care and companionship are just a few non-economic damages that may be compensable in a successful elder abuse claim. Abuse and neglect of any kind can be far-reaching, both physically and psychologically, so it’s important to reach out to an expert in the field for help accessing recovery resources.

If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected, take action.

It is important to take action whenever you suspect someone is suffering from abuse or neglect. Children and the elderly are at particular risk of this, as they tend to be more vulnerable than other groups and are often unable to effectively communicate what they are experiencing. If you suspect an elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, it is important to step in and take action to prevent the abuse from continuing.

Tips for reporting elder abuse or neglect:

  • If you directly witness abuse, or if you fear an elderly person is in immediate danger, call the police immediately and file a report.
  • Call the adult protective services and elder abuse hotline. This number is often found under your state’s Health and Human Services (HHS) department. To access the abuse and neglect hotline for the state of Washington, go here and make a detailed report.
  • You may also use your state’s abuse hotline website to file a report, but it is important to note that making a report via the website can take longer to process.
  • You may choose to remain anonymous, but if you do so you will not be informed of the results of the investigation.
  • When filing a report, you will be asked to answer a series of questions and should do so as thoroughly and accurately as possible. This should include providing the names of any individuals/nursing home/staff members you suspect may be involved in, contributing to, or allowing the abuse or neglect to continue.
  • Talk to an elder abuse attorney about options for financial recovery; the initial consultation is free, and most of these attorneys work on contingency, which means you don’t pay unless they are able to make a financial recovery for your case.

An elder abuse lawyer may identify the following compensable damages in a personal injury claim:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Financial loss.
  • Life care expenses.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Loss of care and companionship.
  • Wrongful death.
  • Funeral expenses.

In addition to filing a report with your state’s HHS department and the police if necessary, you may also choose to file a civil personal injury or wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for the damages you or your loved one experienced. A civil claim may be filed at the same time a criminal claim is underway, and often resolves faster, getting the injured party and their family the help they need sooner rather than later.

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