Elderly adults in Los Angeles have an expectation that nursing homes will provide adequate care for their physical and emotional needs. When nursing home facilities fail to protect their residents and offer unreasonable care, they should be held responsible for the harm they cause residents’ health and well-being. Elderly neglect requires the skilled advocacy of an experienced personal injury lawyer because many elderly victims have difficulty acting in their own interest due to physical or emotional limitations, often exacerbated by the neglect they experience.
California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (“EADACPA”) defines elder abuse as “physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental suffering.” It is also defined as the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering. Nursing home neglect can lead to mental disabilities, serious illnesses, and even death. This definition mirrors that of the World Health Organization (WHO), which estimates that one in six people aged 60 years and older experiences some form of neglect in their community annually. Furthermore, in institutions such as nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, the WHO reports that rates of abuse of older people appear to be even higher, with two of three staff reporting that they have abused an older person.
At Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP, we have over 300 years of combined experience fighting for the rights of elderly adults who have been harmed due to negligence. We hold nursing homes and long-term facilities accountable for withholding essential needs, failing to provide necessary assistance, and for caretaker neglect. For more information contact our elder abuse lawyer.
What Is Elder Neglect?
Elder neglect may manifest in various forms, including medical inattention, neglect of personal hygiene, isolating your loved one, failing to provide social or emotional care, and others. If a caretaker or nursing home staff harms an elderly adult by providing inadequate care or failing to provide a caretaking obligation, you may be able to seek compensatory damages for the suffering they have caused. At Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP, we can help you determine whether your loved one has endured elder neglect.
The most common ways elderly neglect manifests involve the following:
- Failing to prevent slip and fall injuries and similar damages
- Neglect to deliver proper nutrition and hydration
- Negligence in assisting with personal hygiene
- Overmedicating or under-medicating
- Using unnecessary chemical or physical restraints
- Neglect to give adequate medical care
- Neglect to prevent bedsores
- Negligence in preventing residents from leaving the facility
If you believe your family member has suffered from nursing home neglect, you have legal options to hold the nursing facility or caretaker accountable for the injuries they have caused. Over 15% of nursing home residents admitted to suffering due to nursing home neglect. This can be detrimental due to a higher prevalence of serious medical conditions and functional limitations that render them vulnerable to declining physical and mental health.
Warning Signs of Elder Neglect
Nursing home neglect is typically caused by insufficient staffing, with over 20% of all nursing homes experiencing this issue in 2020. Caretakers who are overworked may not be capable of providing the adequate care needed to maintain residents’ health and well-being. Elder neglect could also be exacerbated by improper hiring practices, where nursing homes are not running background checks, hiring underqualified staff, or not providing proper training.
The following are warning signs of elder neglect to look out for:
- Broken bones
- New or untreated medical conditions
- Significant personality changes
- Other unexplained injuries
- Unusual weight loss
- Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Being left unbathed or with improper hygiene
- Unsuitable clothing
- Unsafe living conditions
- Desertion in a public place
Serious Neglect in its most basic form, a resident who is not receiving necessary care is neglected. This could include a lack of hygiene, and activities, failing to administer medications, or ignoring requests for help.
Neglect can be categorized as “abandonment” or “willful”, where the caregiver is simply abdicating their duties; and “unintentional”, where perhaps no malice took place, but the caregiver’s absence led to injury or pain. When neglect occurs repeatedly, chronically, or over a long period of time, the conduct of the caregiver can be characterized as reckless and create liability under the EADACPA.
Detecting signs of elder neglect may be difficult, despite knowing the warning signs. Many elder neglect claims may require the testimony of a witness, especially in cases of prevalent Alzheimer’s or dementia. At Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP, we can help provide skilled legal guidance at every stage of the legal process, so you are empowered to hold the negligent party responsible for their actions.
Damages You Recover in a Successful Los Angeles Elder Neglect Claim
In order to obtain a successful outcome in a Los Angeles elder neglect claim, you must provide tangible evidence and prove elements of negligence in order to be awarded compensatory damages. Evidence may include pictures, videos, witness testimony, medical documentation, and expert testimony. Even though you possess the burden of proof, an experienced Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer can help you build a solid claim on your behalf.
Damages you may be awarded in a successful elder neglect claim may include:
- Medical expenses
- Other financial losses
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Psychological treatments
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
Consider how neglect can lead to bed sores, which cause over 60,000 deaths each year according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. An injured or immobile resident who is not turned and repositioned regularly, who is left in their own urine or feces for extended periods of time, who is not provided sufficient hydration or nutrition, and who is not assessed regularly for skin integrity issues can suffer from bed sores, also called pressure ulcers, which will cause unnecessary pain and suffering and increase the resident’s risk for other potentially dangerous infections. Our firm has handled many bed sore cases which occurred as a direct result of the intentional understaffing of the facility by the managers and owners who, ultimately, are responsible for the health and welfare of the residents at their facility.
Even if a resident had not previously suffered from a mental condition, a traumatic experience can lead to mental abuse. This can stem from general cruelty, receiving threats, or intimidation, and can be exacerbated by their advanced age. Further, Residents of nursing homes suffer from a disproportionately higher rate of emotional trauma than elderly individuals living elsewhere. This is often tied to mental and physical neglect, and if a resident shows signs of depression or anxiety, medical attention, and legal representation are needed to determine the reason behind this trauma.
If you suspect your dependent has suffered due to elder neglect in a nursing home or due to a neglectful caretaker, consult an experienced Los Angeles elder neglect lawyer promptly to protect your loved one from further neglect and to hold the facility accountable for the harm they have caused.
Speak With an Experienced Los Angeles Elder Neglect Attorney at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP
If your family member or dependent has suffered injuries or health decline due to elder neglect in a nursing home or long-term facility, speak with the experienced Los Angeles elder neglect attorneys at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP. We hold the negligent party accountable for their actions and have recovered billions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for victims harmed due to another individual’s wrongdoings.
With a successful track record and exceptional reputation, Attorneys Mike Arias, Elise Sanguinetti, and Arnold Wang were all recognized in awards ranging from Super Lawyers, Top 35 Plaintiff Attorneys in California, Top 100 Attorney in California, and many other accolades. Schedule a complimentary consultation today at (310) 844-9696, or fill out our contact form to speak with our skilled legal team.