Seniors are a vulnerable section of society, and it’s normal to be unsure about what counts as grounds for legal action. However, according to TorHoerman Law, elder abuse is a very good reason to seek legal recourse.
Recently, a woman in Edwardsville, IL, faced gross neglect at a nursing home, leading to malnutrition. The victim, Alexis Bunk, was only fed 39 meals of the 98 that she was meant to have. Bunk is currently filing a lawsuit to seek $50,000 in relief.
Anyone in her situation would be contacting an Edwardsville personal injury lawyer at once and for good reason. Well, if the situation is clear as day with evidence of neglect, most lawyers will even take the case on a contingency fee basis. In this article, let’s look at what you need to know about filing legal action in the context of senior neglect.
What Really Counts as Neglect in the Context of Seniors?
Neglect of seniors encompasses various forms of inadequate care and attention that compromise the well-being of senior residents. It goes beyond mere oversight and can manifest in different ways, including physical, emotional, and medical neglect.
Physical neglect in nursing homes is a grave concern that arises from systemic failures to meet the basic needs of elderly residents. As we already discussed earlier, seniors may suffer from malnutrition and dehydration due to caregivers failing to provide them with sufficient food and fluids.
It often occurs due to understaffing, inadequate training, and neglectful attitudes among caregivers.
In addition to the physical side, emotional neglect can also refer to a lack of social interaction and emotional support, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Likewise, medical neglect entails the failure to administer proper medical treatment and assistance, resulting in untreated health conditions and deteriorating health.
The Welfare of Seniors is Protected Under the Law
Neglecting seniors, particularly those residing in nursing homes or other care facilities, can be illegal. In the United States, for example, the Older Americans Act and the Elder Justice Act provide protections for seniors and address issues related to neglect and abuse.
As the Nursing Home Abuse Center states, federal laws do exist to protect seniors, but most of the protections come from state laws. For instance, some states, like Florida, make elder abuse a first-degree felony, which results in 30 years in prison. You will have to find out your state laws regarding elder abuse if you are thinking about taking legal action.
Under these laws, caregivers and facilities have a legal duty to provide seniors with necessary care, including assistance with daily activities, medical treatment, nutrition, and a safe living environment. Failure to meet these obligations, resulting in harm or endangerment to seniors, can lead to legal consequences.
Penalties for neglecting seniors can vary depending on the severity of the neglect and the jurisdiction, but they may include fines, license revocation for care facilities, civil lawsuits, and criminal charges.
What to Remember When Filing a Lawsuit?
When filing a lawsuit against a person or a nursing home that has mistreated or neglected a senior, it’s crucial to approach the situation with careful consideration and thorough preparation. This strengthens the case and lends credibility to the allegations of mistreatment or neglect.
Documentation can also aid in demonstrating causation, establishing a direct link between the mistreatment or neglect and the resulting injuries.
Next, consult with a knowledgeable attorney specializing in elder abuse or personal injury law. Make sure to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing your lawsuit, as there may be a time limit within which you must act.
If the senior is open to the idea, consider out-of-court settlements as the legal process can often be tiresome for older people. This includes discovery, depositions, and court appearances, procedures that even young adults find stressful.
It’s also important to consider the potential damages available in your case, including compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Throughout the process, remain mindful of any settlement offers presented to you. Ensure that any agreements reached adequately address the harm suffered by the senior and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
In conclusion, filing a personal injury lawsuit in the context of senior neglect is a valid and legitimate option.
As the CDC states, several cases go unreported because elders are hesitant and afraid to speak up about their abuse. Remember, it’s a good idea to not only listen to what a senior is trying to indirectly communicate but also to actively ask questions.
A simple probe like “Are you being treated well?” is all you may need to find out if the senior needs help.
Mark Thompson, a seasoned pest controller, is renowned for his expertise in keeping homes and businesses free from unwanted intruders. With a passion for environmental sustainability and a deep understanding of pest behavior, Mark has become a trusted authority in the industry.