Elder Abuse and Neglect Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
Overview of Elder Abuse and Neglect
We all have met elders in our society, whether they are our own grandparents, parents, other relatives, neighbors or people in the community. Many of these aging adults are outgoing, friendly, social and communicative. Others are more frail and unable to express themselves, defend themselves against elder abuse, due to processes of aging or health conditions.
When any person is unable to effectively communicate, has memory issues or suffers from frailty, disease or conditions of aging, they are vulnerable to negative actions and abuses by others. Sadly, exploitation of elders is very common.
The signs of elder abuse may or may not be visible. You may see bruises on a neighbor who quickly changes the subject when you ask about cause of the injuries. Or you may visit an elder relative who cries upon seeing you, but is unable to verbally communicate why. Other elders suffer financial exploitation and abuses often hidden in paperwork or behind closed doors. Nursing home injuries are also common. You may even just wonder why your older acquaintance suddenly avoids talking to you and seems less vibrant than before.
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Many of these symptoms of elder abuse seem at face value to be consistent with aging or health problems. But as elders become less physically capable of taking care of themselves, they are vulnerable to being neglected, physically abused, verbally abused, bullied and exploited. Because they do not hear, see or move as well as they used to, they are also subject to being taken advantage of.
Many elders are being abused every day. They may even be aware of this, themselves. But fear can drive them into shame and silence, not knowing who to turn to for help. Of course, many more are treated this way because they cannot speak for themselves.
In the United States each year, over a half million reports of elder abuse reach authorities. Millions more are never reported.
Who Commits Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse occurs when an elderly person’s care is entrusted to a caregiver who neglects or commits acts of abuse against the aging adult. This caregiver can be a family member, friend, home care provider or even a nursing facility worker. Elder abuse can take place in a variety of settings and is not just something that occurs in nursing homes.
Elder abuse occurs in:
- The aging person’s own home
- A relative’s home
- Nursing facilities
- Hospital settings
- Assisted living facilities
- Community program centers
- Anywhere a vulnerable elder’s care is entrusted to another person
Sadly, much of the elder abuse occurring today is within homes where the abusive caregivers are the elder’s own children, grandchildren or even spouse.
Types of Elder Abuse
There are many different forms of elder abuse. The most common threads in abuses are threats, neglect and financial trickery.
Physical Elder Abuse
Physical abuse of elders occurs when non-accidental force is used with resulting pain, injury or impairment. This type of elder physical abuse can include physical assaults, hitting, shoving or improperly administering medications, restraints or confinement.
Emotional Elder Abuse
Also known as psychological abuse, caregivers may speak to the person in their care in ways that cause them emotional distress. The caregiver may also treat the elder in ways that negatively impacts their emotions.
Verbal abuse of elders may include intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, threatening, yelling, habitual blaming or scapegoating. Nonverbal forms of elder abuse include isolation, terrorizing or menacing the aging person, or ignoring them or their needs.
While bruises are not left behind by these abuses, they deeply impact aging adult functioning, mental acuity and emotional balance.
Inappropriate contact with an elder adult without his or her consent is elder abuse. These types of abuses include sexual acts. But they can also include exposure of them to pornographic materials, forcible viewing of sex acts or forcing them to disrobe.
Neglect or Abandonment
Neglect is the cause of more than half of all elder abuse cases in America. Such failure to fulfill the needs of a person being cared for can be purposeful or unintentional. Factors such as ignorance or denial may lead to a caregiver’s neglect of the elder under their care.
Many aging adults are exploited for access to their bank accounts, credit cards, other funds or property. This can be by a caregiver or a complete stranger operating as a scam artist. Some caregivers forge checks, use credit cards without permission, steal cash, force signature on financial documents, steal government checks or income, steal household goods or engage in identity theft.
Financial scams also target elders from outside of their home. The aging person may be told they have won a prize but must pay a certain sum to claim their winnings. Other popular scams include non-existent charities that steal elder funds, investment frauds and other abuses.
Healthcare Abuse of Elders
Unethical nurses, doctors, hospital workers and other care providers in professional settings may commit healthcare fraud and abuse of elders. These acts include over-billing, billing without providing services, gaining kickbacks for referrals or prescribing of particular drugs, over medicating, under-medicating, theft of medications, committing Medicaid fraud and other acts.
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Overview of Elder Abuse Cases
The law firm of Cantor Crane understands the pain and impact of elder abuse, as well as your need to secure the safety of your loved one. We provide the legal assistance needed to ensure elder abuse cases result in the best possible outcome, while also working with our clients to get their loved one into safe hands.
Each case involves a number of factors when determining settlement amount. These factors may include medical expenses incurred as a result of the abuse, pain and suffering, life care costs and other damages.
Medical care is one of the highest expenses of aging. Elder abuse can result in a wide variety of medical costs extending beyond $100,000. Many of these expenses occur at the time of discovery of the abuse. But due to the more frail health condition of these highly vulnerable adults, there may be long term costs associated with medical care for elder abuse injuries.
Pain and Suffering
It can be difficult to calculate the compensation appropriate for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is often combined with other losses, such as damaged family life. To determine the value of these losses, it will be necessary to examine the impact of the abuse on your elder’s future.
Pain and suffering is often more than what all other losses amount to – combined. Money never holds the same value as the well-being of someone you love. Nor does money make up for permanent damage or pain. Because these losses experienced as pain and suffering are so vast, the courts justify larger sums for this type of injury.
Life Care Costs
Especially due to their vulnerability at the time of abuse, many elder adults suffer injuries or losses that will require treatment for an indefinite period. Life care costs are those such as rehabilitative treatment, in-home care and assistance with daily living.
When your loved one has been abused in an elder care situation of trust, there are many damages suffered by your entire family. An experienced Phoenix injury lawyer like those of Cantor Crane can calculate appropriate damages to ensure that your loved one is protected, cared for and secure for the future.
The attorneys of Cantor Crane have been involved in over 200 jury trials as part of all types of cases. Our lawyers have extensive experience in legal representation of elder abuse victims and their loved ones.
We encourage you to call the office of Cantor Crane at (602) 254-2701 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. One of our lawyers will discuss your case with you during an initial consultation and provide some insight into what can, and should, be done to protect your rights and interests, as well as those of the elder you love.