A black and white image of an elderly person's legs behind a walker.

Family members responsible for an elderly person’s affairs work diligently to find the right nursing home. They seek to ensure that their loved one’s medication is administered properly, that they receive medical attention, and that their basic needs are met. However, despite vetting facilities and workers, nursing home abuse still happens.

Do you suspect your loved one might be enduring abuse in their nursing home? At Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers, our team is here to help you find compensation for your family member. If you suspect you have a situation involving neglect, abuse, or extortion, contact us today.

Our team will schedule your initial consultation and provide a free case review. You can get started by calling our office at (801) 810-9999.

A Utah Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Can Help with Your Case

As people age, daily tasks that were once easy become suddenly impossible. Simple activities like bathing, changing clothes, and remembering to take medication become difficult for an elderly person to manage. While the lucky ones have supportive families and friends to help for a while, there comes a point where the best care and attention can only be received in a nursing home.

At Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers, we understand that you took time and care to vet and research nursing home facilities in your area. But even with taking the most care to find the best option for your elderly family member, a case of nursing home abuse can appear to come from nowhere.

Getting started to take action against the nursing home does not have to be a daunting task. Working with a nursing home abuse attorney means they will take charge of your case and its development.

Your Utah nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to:

  • Investigate any claims and review evidence to determine liability
  • Negotiate settlements from the negligent party
  • Represent victims in court if a case goes to trial

Fighting for your elderly family member should not be a battle done alone. With the right nursing home abuse lawyer by your family’s side, you can find comfort that your attorney will fight for the compensation your case is entitled to.

Cases of Elderly Abuse are Rising

Utah has the highest amount of elderly abuse cases in the United States. In fact, with a growing aging population, the amount of cases of abuse is estimated to increase rather than get better. And sadly, this will place this vulnerable class of people directly in harms way.

With the increasing size of the elderly American population, many families are put in positions where they cannot provide adequate care for their loved ones outside of a facility. With their best interest in mind, many families opt to enroll their elderly family members in a nursing home, where they feel confident that they will be taken care of.

However, often they discover too late that their loved one was placed in the hands of an abuser who takes advantage of their situation. Working with the right nursing home abuse lawyer is the best first step to making matters right for your loved one. When you are working with a personal injury lawyer in Utah, they will represent you and do whatever it takes to make sure that the abuse stops and that the abuser is held accountable for the damages caused to the victim.

The Valley Law Utah Team Knows State and Federal Laws That Can Protect Your Loved One

Representing a client is not only about requesting compensation for damages; it is understanding the law and how it applies to the wrongs that were committed against the victim. In Utah, there has been legislation passed to protect the elderly[1] from cases of nursing home abuse.

One perfect example is the implementation of Rule R432-35 by the Office of Administrative Rules of Utah in 2012. This regulation requires that all healthcare workers, including those working in nursing homes, pass a multi-state background screening that will flag any cases of past abuse, criminal activity, and convictions. Additionally, each healthcare worker will need to undergo this background check every two years to ensure that there have been no changes to their history in the industry.

Many providers try to skirt around these requirements by having a high non-medical staff to medical staff ratio. Lacking enough trained medical professionals to handle the volume of residents can be one example of a company that is attempting to cut costs and avoid providing the adequate level of care and patient supervision.

Utah Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Identify the Types of Damages in a Case

Each case starts with an initial consultation, where an attorney from our team will work with you to identify if you have a case. Once a case is determined, your Utah nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to identify liability and help understand what kinds of compensation can be awarded in damages for the mistreatment endured.

The law allows victims to receive compensation for abusive acts that:

  • Attempted to intentionally or knowingly cause harm or even instill fear in the victim
  • Caused physical injury by omitting care or committing intentional acts
  • Unreasonably medicated, retrained, or isolated the victim in a way inconsistent with a licensed physician’s orders
  • Implemented unauthorized medical treatment in lieu of a medical order
  • Deprived the victim of life-sustaining treatment outside of legally authorized exceptions

After an attorney reviews your case and gathers evidence, they will work towards determining calculations for any damages to which the victim is entitled to. While each case carries its own complexities and unique circumstances, victims can receive compensation for damages, including:

  • Financial losses, like stolen money from cases of financial abuse
  • Medical bills and future medical bills, including physical therapy sessions
  • Psychological treatments, like depression and anxiety
  • Compensation for damages proving reckless behavior, patterns of intent, and other wrongful acts
  • And much more

How Does Elderly Abuse Appear in a Victim

The elderly population is protected by both the Elder Justice Act[2] and the Nursing Home Reform Act[3], which declare and enforce legal protections for the vulnerable elderly population. Abuse can take on many forms, and it is a harmful and possibly deadly behavior to a vulnerable elder. There are three primary categories of abuse: physical and sexual, emotional and verbal, and neglect:

  • Physical Abuse is probably the most common form of reported abuse. This can involve hitting an elderly patient, forcing them to take medication or food when they do not want to, or neglecting them when they have soiled themselves or need help standing or moving. On the other hand, sexual abuse is unwanted sexual attention and possibly even exploitation. In many cases, the elderly suffer from debilitating mental illnesses (like Alzheimer’s) that render them unable to consent to such acts. This kind of abuse has been the least reported, accounting for about 9% of all reported cases by older adults. The impacts of physical abuse can lead to disastrous consequences, such as withholding food, water, and sanitary conditions that lead to further medical complications or even premature death.
  • Financial Abuse is when a caretaker manipulates an elderly person to make financial decisions that they do not want to do or are made to believe they need to buy or spend more on unnecessary services. Consequences of these actions can lead to financial shortcomings and inability to afford the care they need as they pay for unnecessary expenses.
  • Emotional and Psychological Abuse can involve yelling and stating verbal threats that make an elderly resident feel unsafe and belittled. Often in these cases, the elderly are name-called, consistently insulted, and made to believe they are worthless. Emotional abuse can be linked to behavioral actions, such as scoffing and eye-rolling when they are making basic requests, like asking for medication or food. Deprivation of medication and food can lead to more medical complications and overall health decline in the victim.

Realizing that abuse is happening is heart-wrenching and horrifying. The reality is that cases of abuse will not happen when loved ones are present to stop it. Sometimes it will be hard to determine exactly which kind — or combination — of abuse an elderly person is experiencing. Here are some tell-tale signs to look out for:

  • Showing physical signs of injury, like bruising, scratches, fractures, and broken bones. These can come in various stages of healing and are unexplainable as to how they occurred.
  • Showing out-of-character low self-esteem, withdrawn and fearful attitude, or otherwise acting out of what is normal with no explanation.
  • Showing signs of dehydration and malnourishment, wearing soiled or inappropriate clothes, lack of glasses or dentures.

Additionally, elderly victims in a nursing home can be exploited through missing possessions, money, and the sale of their properties without other immediate family members’ knowledge. Aggressors will force the victim to sign away control of their finances and investments. This abuse does not necessarily reflect in physical signs on their bodies but will show in the records of their financial health. The aggressor may extort the victim to spend on purchases or authorize sending them money that puts the victim in a position where they cannot afford their usual expenses.

If You See Nursing Home Abuse, Report It

If you see it, report it. Nursing homes across the state are required by Utah law to abide by rules and regulations. One of the easiest ways that others can advocate for a victim of nursing home abuse is to whistleblow if they see something wrong. Instances of abuse should be reported to the facility, Adult Protective Services, and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DAAS)[4] for immediate investigation.

Don’t Let the Abused Go Silent, Call Our Utah Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm Today

Realizing when someone is being abused is not just horrifying, but it is something that will not change unless something is done about it. The elderly already feel that they are a burden to those around them, and often do not advocate for their well-being.

The legal staff at Valley Law Utah is ready to change that. We help victims and their families hold those liable accountable for any mistreatment and abuse. Let us review your case and see if there is a way that we can help.

Ready to schedule your free initial consultation? Call (801) 810-9999 or submit our online form to get started.

[1] https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter5/76-5-S111.html

[2] https://acl.gov/about-acl/elder-justice-act

[3] https://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.com/resources/nursing-home-reform-act/#:~:text=The%20Nursing%20Home%20Reform%20Act,homes%20receive%20high%20quality%20care.

[4] https://daas.utah.gov/

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We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

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