Elder Abuse Attorneys in Burlington
Elder Abuse Attorneys in Burlington
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Burlington, VT 05401
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Elder Abuse Attorneys in Burlington
As unthinkable as it may be, Individuals over the age of 60 can be at risk of suffering from elder abuse. These older adults often suffer from medical conditions that need treatment, either from a visiting caregiver or in a long-term care center. Their conditions may prevent them from realizing when someone is taking advantage of them or physically injuring them.
According to the CDC, approximately one in every ten people over 60 experience abuse. The abuse can occur at the hands of their medical caregivers, or it may arise from close family and friends.
If you suspect an older adult is the subject of abuse, taking action is essential. Elderly abuse can result in severe repercussions, including loss of money, physical injuries, and emotional impacts.
Elder abuse attorneys in Burlington can review your case and determine the appropriate steps. Schedule your free consultation with Morgan & Morgan using our convenient online form.
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What are Types of Elder Abuse?
There are five main types of elder abuse: physical abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and financial abuse.
Physical abuse occurs when someone intentionally hurts an older person. Slapping, punching, and kicking an older adult are all examples of physical abuse. Physical abuse typically happens when a caregiver becomes overly frustrated and takes out those frustrations on the older adult.
In some cases, physical abuse can occur between two nursing home residents. One resident may hit or punch the other, resulting in serious injuries.
Physical abuse is especially dangerous to elderly patients. They often can’t protect themselves from physical abuse. In addition, they’re more likely to be frail, so a slap or punch may result in severe physical injuries that can complicate other medical conditions.
Sexual abuse is common among older adults, their caregivers, or other residents of live-in communities. In sexual abuse cases, someone convinces the older adult to commit sexual acts, even if they don’t want to. Sometimes, the elderly individual doesn’t have the mental capacity to say no.
Sexual abuse can be dangerous, especially among patients with serious medical conditions. Sometimes, the patient may fear telling others that sexual abuse is occuring, especially if they suspect potential retaliation.
Psychological abuse often involves threats and intimidation of the older adult. Caregivers or other residents in a nursing home may use psychological abuse to attempt to control the older person. Sometimes, the abuser uses emotional abuse to humiliate or intimidate the older individual into doing inappropriate things.
Psychological abuse is dangerous and hard to prove because words don’t leave evidence. The older adult may report what was said to them, but people may ignore their reports, especially if they have medical conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
It’s essential never to ignore an older adult’s claims of psychological abuse, even if they suffer from cognitive disorders. Instead, pay close attention to the perpetrators and take action if you note signs of abuse.
Older adults often aren’t able to care for themselves in the way they usually would. They may have difficulties using the bathroom or performing regular grooming activities. Certain conditions may prevent them from getting out of bed, and they may have trouble walking from one place to another.
Caregivers of older adults can easily neglect their needs, especially if there aren’t enough hands available to help them. A neglected older adult may be more susceptible to infections, bedsores, and disease. If the caregiver doesn’t ensure the older person receives their medications as prescribed, their condition may worsen.
Neglect is very harmful to an elderly person. If you believe an older adult suffers from neglect, get them medical attention and arrange for more help.
Older adults are particularly susceptible to financial abuse. They often have retirement savings that they rely on in their later years. Some people may attempt to take advantage of the older adult’s finances and use the money for their own purposes.
Be wary of caregivers and family members who attempt to borrow money from an older adult. Sometimes, the patient may not have full cognitive function and will be more likely to succumb to financial scams. If you notice that they’re constantly giving out money or can’t pay their bills, someone may be taking advantage of them financially.
What are Signs of Elder Abuse?
If you believe an elderly individual is the subject of abuse, you’ll need to look for specific symptoms. Each type of abuse has its own set of warning signs. Elder abuse attorneys in Burlington can help identify warning signs of potential harm to older adults.
Physical Abuse Signs
Older adults who experience physical abuse are likely to display specific symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
- Unexplained cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Pressure marks
You should seek to investigate the cause of all new injuries. Even if the reason for the injury seems plausible, abuse may be occurring. Make sure to carefully observe regular caregivers and monitor your loved one for future injuries.
Sexual Abuse Signs
Older adults are sometimes frail and may not be able to perform sexual activities. When someone attempts to take advantage of them sexually, they’ll often leave marks on their body that can signify sexual abuse.
Potential warning signs of sexual abuse include:
- A new STD
- Bruises on the body, including the chest, arms, thighs, or genitals
- Bleeding from or pain in the genitals
- Strange relationships between the caregiver or other residents in a nursing home
Family members who suspect sexual abuse should determine who the perpetrator is and remove their loved one from the unwanted relationship. In some cases, moving the older adult to another facility may make sense if they’re currently in a nursing home or assisted living accommodation.
Emotional Abuse Signs
Individuals who suffer from emotional abuse from caregivers exhibit specific symptoms. It’s important to note that older adults won’t always tell when psychological maltreatment occurs. They may not realize they’re a victim due to their mental condition, or they may fear retaliation from the perpetrator.
Symptoms of emotional abuse to look for include:
- Withdrawal from regular activities
- Not wanting to talk to friends or relatives
- New depression or anxiety
- Expressing fear if left with the abuser
Emotional abuse can escalate to physical abuse if it’s not stopped. Family members and other caregivers should address concerns of emotional abuse with the elderly patient.
Signs of Neglect
Signs of neglect will often be visually apparent in older adults. Look for:
- Too much time spent in bed, without physical exercise
- Foul odors
- Weight loss
- Poor living conditions, like unchanged bedsheets or lack of heat
- Declining health
Anyone who believes an older adult is suffering from neglect should seek the assistance of medical professionals. If negligence occurs at a nursing home, notify the caregivers and facility administration.
Financial Abuse Signs
Financial abuse is serious since it can lead to the individual losing large sums of money intended to support them in their later years. Often, the only people who know an older adult is in a financially abusive situation are those with access to their bank accounts.
Potential signs of financial abuse include:
- Caregivers who take the older adult to an ATM or bank for unknown reasons
- Strange transactions on a bank statement
- Sudden inability to afford things, like their medical prescriptions or rent
- Offering large sums of money to strangers or caregivers
- Unrestrained access to bank accounts
It’s essential to take immediate action if you suspect financial abuse. Unscrupulous actors can deplete an older person’s funds quickly. If the thief realizes that the older adult doesn’t recognize they’re a victim, they’ll become even easier to take advantage of.
How Can Elder Abuse Attorneys in Burlington Help?
An elder abuse attorney can advocate for the rights of the affected older adult. They’ll work to determine who’s at fault for the abuse and take steps to protect them from further harm. Elder abuse lawyers can advise concerned family members on the steps they can take to protect their loved ones and identify the people legally responsible for their loved one’s injuries.
Elder abuse attorneys in Burlington can establish who’s at fault for the abuse and develop a personal injury case against them. A personal injury case can’t repair the damage your loved one has suffered, but it can give them financial compensation for their losses.
What Kind of Compensation Is Available in an Elder Abuse Lawsuit?
In an elder abuse lawsuit, you can obtain compensation for the victim’s past and future medical expenses and financial restitution if the abuse results in loss of funds. The victim may also recover damages for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
Elder abuse attorneys in Burlington can help determine what types of compensation are available for your loved one.
Is Abusing an Elderly Person Illegal?
Yes. An abuse case may result in criminal charges against the abusive perpetrator or facility. Under Vermont law, certain individuals must report instances of suspected abuse within 48 hours. These individuals are mandatory reporters, including physicians, mental health care providers, and nursing home facilities.
Following a report of suspected elder abuse, the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman must initiate a full investigation of the complaint.
Your lawyer will be able to advise you of potential criminal actions against the abuser, as well as civil actions.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for Elder Abuse in Burlington?
You could file a personal injury claim for elder abuse in Burlington if the abuse occurred within three years. If your loved one died due to the abuse, you have up to two years following their passing to file a wrongful death claim.
It’s essential to begin the legal process quickly, as it takes time to assemble evidence and identify the parties responsible for the abuse. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to locate evidence tying the abuser to your loved one’s harm.
Can Someone Be Punished for Failing to Report Elder Abuse?
Yes. You may be liable if you’re a mandatory reporter and fail to report suspected elder abuse.
Vermont law allows various administrative penalties of up to $10,000, depending on the severity of the abuse. For the state to impose penalties and fines, the mandatory reporter must have willfully decided not to report the abuse.
Get Help From Morgan & Morgan
Morgan and Morgan is the nation’s largest personal injury firm. We’ve helped thousands of individuals recover compensation for personal injury cases, including elder abuse.
If you believe your loved one is experiencing elder abuse, you’ll want to take immediate legal action. Contact experienced elder abuse attorneys in Burlington to schedule your free case review.