Physical Elder Abuse Attorney in Charleston, WV
West Virginia has one of the highest populations of elderly citizens in the US (Behind Florida and California.) One estimate puts the state’s population of individuals over 65 at 25% by 2030. Many of these residents are frail elderly who can no longer live on their own.
Nursing homes are for care, healing and recuperating. In some cases, a nursing home is for someone who needs critical care that a family member or caregiver can’t supply at home. In the case of an elderly person, they may be admitted for the rest of their days. When you place your loved one in a nursing facility, you expect that they will be well cared for and protected from any mental or physical ailments.
Nursing home residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. No one should find themselves under threat or in fear of harm by a staff member, fellow resident, or family member with ill intentions.
If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home, contact an experienced physical elder abuse attorney in Charleston, WV, immediately.
Nationwide, about one in 10 elders have experienced abuse. It’s estimated that over 5 million elders per year are victims. Unfortunately, only one in 14 cases are reported to authorities, meaning that the victims are largely unprotected.
Family members are perpetrators of abuse in about 60% of cases, with two-thirds of them being spouses or adult children.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
Adults in nursing facilities may be more vulnerable to elder abuse for a number of reasons, including:
- Cognitive impairment disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Social isolation
Older people particularly may become increasingly fearful if there is continued abuse. If your loved one exhibits things like:
- Bruises, lacerations, or other “minor” injuries
- Other injuries such as joint dislocations or sprains
- Signs of internal bleeding or injuries
- More serious injuries such as pressure marks or sores, burns/rope marks, abrasions, or broken bones
- Open wounds or untreated injuries in various stages of healing
- Broken glasses
- Sudden change in overall health and/or hygiene
- Refusing meals
- Unexplained weight loss
- Sudden incontinence (a sign of distress)
- Emergency room visits
- Claim of abuse by the elder
- Physical signs of restraint or other punishment
- Lab reports indicating an overdose or under-administration of prescribed medications
- Sudden emotional changes, such as depression, anxiety, or withdrawal
- Changes in alertness
- Fear or anxiety in the presence of caregivers
- Stops talking, or is afraid of talking, or refuses to discuss your concerns for them
- An ever-present caregiver who refuses to allow you time alone with your loved one
You may need to investigate how the facility treats them. Patients are often threatened with retaliation if they speak up for themselves, and don’t want to say anything for fear of “making things worse.” Take any claim of mistreatment seriously. Elder abuse can triple their risk of premature death, as well as need additional medical expenses like emergency care and psychotherapy.
Staffing shortages may also lead to patients lacking proper care. For instance, if a resident needs help with a bathroom trip but doesn’t get assistance, he or she may attempt to go on their own. This can lead to falls, broken bones, and other injuries that may be dismissed or attributed to a different reason like falling.
In other cases, nursing home staff attribute injuries or illness to “old age,” in order to deflect attention from neglect or abuse.
Visiting your loved one frequently goes a long way in preventing elder abuse. It shows that the person is being watched and is cared about, especially if they are unable to communicate themselves.
Although these incidents are unusual, they do happen with some frequency. That’s why it’s important to visit often and pay attention to your loved one’s condition every time you visit.
What To Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
If your loved one is in life-threatening, immediate danger, call 911 right away, and arrange for them to be removed from the facility and into a new one.
It’s important not to take a “wait and see” approach, but be proactive. First, speak with the nursing home administrator to discuss your concerns. Should the administrator dismiss your concerns or fail to take corrective action, you may consider escalating your report.
In West Virginia, you can report suspected cases of elder abuse to:
- Adult Protective Services in West Virginia (APS)
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in West Virginia through the WV Bureau of Senior Services
- File a report with the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services
- Call the state’s call the elder abuse hotline at 1-800-352-6513
Document and preserve any evidence you may have, including:
- Pictures and other proof of injuries
- Medical, accident and other reports
- A journal of incidents that document possible abuse, neglect or other mistreatment
- Names and job titles of caregivers involved in your loved ones care
- Periods of time when incidents occurred, and when you spoke to his or her caregivers
- Any additional information you believe to be relevant
While complaints are usually taken seriously, evidence of injuries or other abuse can bolster your claim. Even though healthcare professionals are required to report suspected cases of abuse, you should also report the claim yourself to the state agencies.
Contact Charleston’s Leading Elder Abuse Attorney Today
If you suspect your loved one is being abused, you need a compassionate attorney who will fight for your loved one and the respect and dignity they are being denied.
Filing a lawsuit for damages against the negligent parties can bring compensation to pay for the additional medical care needed. Therefore, it’s essential to find an attorney who understands elder abuse and will aggressively defend your loved one.
In addition to relentlessly fighting to prove that the abuse occurred, The Love Law Firm can help you obtain the compensation you and your loved one deserve for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
To protect your loved ones from this heinous crime, contact attorney Chad Love today at (304) 344 5683 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We offer contingency fee arrangements for your convenience.