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If you suspect that someone you know is the victim of nursing home abuse in Louisiana, the experienced Lake Charles personal injury attorneys at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC can give you the guidance you need.
Many people rely on nursing homes to care for family members who have difficulty caring for themselves. Nursing homes can be a lifesaver when the family of an elderly or disabled adult lacks the resources to provide the medical, custodial, and other caretaking services their loved one needs.
Unfortunately, many families are devastated to learn that the trust they had in these facilities was misplaced. The National Council on Aging reports that approximately 10 percent of American adults over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, with some estimates speculating that as many as five million older adults in the U.S. are abused each year. As alarming as these statistics may be, experts note that adult abuse is especially hard to detect and that the majority of such cases are never reported.
Learning that someone you love may be the victim of nursing home abuse can be shocking and disturbing. Many people in this position aren’t sure which laws may apply to their situations, how they and their families can recover, or where to turn for help. The assistance of a nursing home abuse lawyer helps relieve some of this pressure while you focus on the best interests of your loved one.
The skilled and compassionate attorneys at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC are ready to help. Call us today at 337-800-8800 to get started with your free consultation.
Do I Need A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
If someone you know was seriously injured or exploited in a nursing home, you might be facing unexpected treatment costs or thinking about transferring your loved one to a different facility. The idea of filing a lawsuit on top of everything else can seem impossible.
With the help of a dedicated nursing home abuse attorney, you can take legal action and pursue compensation on behalf of your loved one without running yourself ragged. In addition to saving you time and energy, a lawyer can:
- Help you navigate federal and local laws – It’s important to know which rules or regulations apply to your case so that you can build an appropriate framework for settlements or potential lawsuits.
- Gather evidence and witnesses to support your case – Since nursing home abuse happens behind closed doors, it can be very tricky to prove. Collecting solid evidence is one of the most important ways to support your claim.
- File your claim in the proper court – Filing a lawsuit in court requires a lot of time, effort, and paperwork. You don’t have to deal with those things yourself if you hire an attorney.
- Observe legal time limits – In Louisiana, those who wish to file a lawsuit for nursing home abuse, neglect, or wrongful death typically have one year to do so before the statute of limitations, or legal deadline, expires.
- Communicate with others on your behalf – If settling your case involves interacting with nursing home staff, lawyers, or other authorities, legal advice can be very helpful. Lawyers can even communicate or write letters for you to make sure your words aren’t twisted later on.
- Negotiate a higher settlement than you could alone – While you may be able to reach a settlement on your own, you’re much more likely to receive a greater amount with the representation of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.
- Take your case to trial, if a settlement can’t be reached – Many nursing home abuse cases are resolved through settlements. However, when a resolution can’t be reached, cases may go to court, where an attorney can fight for the justice you deserve.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse can take many forms, and if a victim of abuse is incapable, unwilling, or afraid to speak up about it, the abuse may continue unchecked. Some types of abuse, such as bruises or bone fractures, may be immediately obvious but explained away as the result of falls or other accidents. Other types of abuse, such as emotional, sexual, or financial exploitation, are often more difficult to both identify and prove.
Some commonly-reported types of nursing home abuse include:
- Neglect – This type of abuse involves a failure to provide physical, emotional, or social support to dependent adults. Neglect can include withholding food, denying medication, or refusing access to healthcare professionals.
- Abandonment – When someone is responsible for providing care and deserts the person who needs assistance, they are committing abandonment.
- Isolation – Abuse by isolation occurs when caregivers restrict their dependents’ access to the outside world. Isolation may involve restricting family visits or denying contact via phone or mail.
- Emotional abuse – This type of abuse is especially difficult to detect because it is largely invisible. Any caregiver who inflicts emotional pain through intimidation, threats, humiliation, or verbal attacks is guilty of emotional abuse.
- Financial exploitation – To unethical individuals, disabled or elderly adults can present easy targets for financial manipulation. Costs of elder financial abuse and fraud are estimated to range from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion each year.
- Physical abuse – Adults who are physically disabled or elderly are often more prone to things like slip and fall accidents and also tend to bruise easily. Proving physical abuse under these conditions can be difficult. While many people think of physical abuse as striking or beating others, it can also take the form of confining or restraining someone against their will.
- Sexual abuse – Non-consensual touching, intercourse, or exposure to explicit content are all considered forms of sexual abuse. Residents of nursing home facilities are sometimes incapable of comprehending or consenting to these activities, making them especially vulnerable.
- Wrongful death – Older adults who have suffered abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death than those who have not. If the abuse or neglect is severe enough, it can lead rapidly to wrongful death.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents are often relatively isolated and sometimes cognitively impaired, which makes them especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Although nursing home abuse is frequently hard to spot, some telltale signs exist that can help confirm potential mistreatment. Abuse may be present if you see or become suspicious of any of the following:
- A sudden, unexpected inability to take care of one’s own health and wellness
- Disappearance of the resident or sudden lack of contact with loved ones
- Physical signs such as bruises, which are more likely to be visible in abused elders than in those injured by accident
- Visible hand or fingerprint marks on the face, neck, or arms
- Skin injuries such as burns, cuts, punctures, or bed sores
- Sprains, strains, dislocations, and bone fractures
- Internal injuries, bleeding, or vomiting
- An unusually disheveled or dirty appearance
- An unusually malnourished or disoriented appearance
Compensation in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Depending on the nature of a case, the types and amounts of compensation available to abused nursing home residents or their loved ones may vary drastically. For example, if someone was exploited financially, compensation can be awarded to restore lost savings. If someone was physically abused, they can be eligible to have resulting medical treatment expenses covered.
Some of the most common damages included in nursing home abuse claims are:
- Medical bills and related treatment expenses
- Return of stolen property or money, if theft occurred
- Pain and suffering from bodily or psychological harm
- Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages to punish those responsible
Why Choose Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC?
The lawyers of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC offer more than 200 years of combined legal experience. Each of our attorneys has practiced law exclusively within Lake Charles and the surrounding Louisiana regions, so we are intimately familiar with local laws and care deeply about our neighbors throughout the Bayou State.
If someone you love has been victimized by nursing home abuse, you can rest assured that we will apply our extensive experience toward maximizing your settlement and helping you assist those who depend on you. Because of our past results, Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC has been recognized by Louisiana Super Lawyers and named a Top 10 Law Firm for Client Satisfaction. We handle every case with the care and attention to detail we would expect for our own families, and we don’t consider our job to be complete until you are satisfied with the results.
When you decide you are ready to speak with an attorney, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC offers free case reviews for our clients, so we can tell you immediately how strong your claim is and what your legal options may be.
Contact us today at 337-800-8800 or online for an initial consultation at no cost. We’ll be happy to discuss your unique circumstances and the actions we can take to reach your best possible outcome.