Arlington Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

It is not something anyone likes to think about, but elder abuse is an all-too-common occurrence in care facilities. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse often goes unreported and undocumented because the abused are unable, or too afraid, to speak out against the perpetrators. Sadly, elder abuse is also difficult to determine and prosecute. It helps for family members to be aware of both the signs of abuse and the law. Any suspected abuse should be handled carefully and always with the guidance of a qualified Arlington nursing home abuse lawyer. Nursing Home Abuse in Arlington VA

The personal injury practice group at our law firm understand how devastating it can be when the people entrusted with the care of your precious family member violate that trust.  We understand what it takes to file a successful injury claim against a nursing home other elder care facility.  When you bring your case to us, we’ll listen carefully to what you have to say before determining the next steps to take.  In some cases, our Arlington nursing home abuse lawyers may need to conduct a thorough investigation of the events and personnel related to your loved one’s injuries.  Once all necessary information has been gathered, it will be possible to determine how to effectively pursue your claim.

Call our firm today to complete your free initial evaluation and begin the process of seeking justice and compensation.

Types and Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.” There are four common ways elders are abused in a nursing facility. They include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial exploitation. Although an experienced Arlington nursing home abuse lawyer can go into more detail about each of these types of abuse, a brief overview of each is provided below.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is one of the easiest types of abuse to spot. Physical abuse can include using unnecessary force or restraints to control a person. It can also include using improper medications or dosages. Neglect of necessary treatment or medical care for injuries can also be considered a form of physical abuse.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is much more subtle than physical abuse, but it can be equally damaging. Emotional abuse can include any action that creates unnecessary anxiety or fear in the elderly person. It also includes verbal abuse such as harsh language, shouting, threats or ridicule. Long term, unnecessary isolation is also considered a form of emotional abuse.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is perhaps the most disturbing form of elderly abuse. It involves any non-consensual sexual action or activity between the elder and the caregiver. This is not limited to sexual actions or physical contact. It can also include forcible viewing of pornography or forcing the elderly person to undress without due cause or reason.

Financial Abuse

Elderly persons are at especially high risk of financial exploitation by caregivers. It is common for caregivers to have access to an elderly person’s personal information, including credit cards, debit cards, checkbooks and even sensitive account information. Nursing home residents are also more likely to be trusting of staff and more likely to innocently provide personal information that can be used to exploit them. It is important for other family members to monitor an elderly person’s finances for possible abuse and to limit the access and spread of personal information that can result in fraud or identify theft. There is no minimum amount that needs to be stolen for the action to be considered abuse, and cases may range from petty theft of a few dollars of cash to total identify theft.

Nursing Home Abuse Laws

Virginia Law Code Section 18.2-369 states the definitions of nursing home abuse and the punishments surrounding this crime. In summary, these laws define abuse as “knowing and willful conduct that causes physical injury or pain.” Neglect is defined as “the knowing and willful failure by a responsible person to provide treatment, care, goods or services which results in injury to the health or endangers the safety of an incapacitated adult.”

The law includes a very important factor to consider when determining a case. The abuse must be willful and known. It cannot be due to a simple mistake or accident. The abuser must intend to cause harm or knowingly withholding treatment or care that they realize is necessary. These can be difficult things to prove, which is why having an experienced legal advocate and the investigative resources of a private law firm on your side can be extremely valuable.

This requirement can also severely limit the types of actions that are legally construed as abuse. For example, if a caregiver restrains a resident and bruises their arm, even repeatedly, but it is found that the restraint was necessary for the safety of the individual and the caregiver did not intend to cause harm, then it is not likely to be considered abuse in the criminal context. Also, a caregiver administers the wrong medication to a resident, but did so accidentally and did not intend to cause harm, they would not be found guilty of criminal abuse.

As one can see by the above examples, abuse cases can be very tricky to prove and prosecute. On top of the restrictions of the law, there is often very little additional evidence or witnesses to abuse. Facilities often lack cameras, and caregivers may interact with residents alone. This can create a hearsay situation, pitting the resident’s or family’s testimony against the caregiver’s. Quite simply, it is incredibly difficult to see results in a nursing home abuse case without the assistance of highly-qualified legal representation. Though the standard of proof is different in the context of civil abuse cases, there are complications present in all types of abuse cases and an experienced Arlington nursing home abuse lawyer is needed to promptly identify issues and present solutions to deal with them.

Contact an Arlington Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today

If any abuse is suspected, the first step is to report the abuse to police and the state social services department. Immediately afterward, contact a skilled Arlington nursing home abuse lawyer so that he or she can begin evaluating the situation and help you determine if you have a viable civil claim. The Arlington nursing home abuse attorneys with our firm can fight for justice for you or your elderly family member and they will work aggressively to hold the perpetrator or perpetrators responsible for the damage they have wrought.