Elder Abuse Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
Compassionate Legal Advocacy for Your Loved Ones
Our Phoenix personal injury attorneys understand how difficult it can be to help an elderly loved one transition to assisted living or in-home care. Every day, many Americans put their trust in nursing home caretakers to care for an aging family member or friend. Sadly, many elderly residents are mistreated and abused in our nation on a daily basis.
Studies show that elder abuse is more common than we realize. Up to 5 million older adults are abused every year in the U.S. According to the CDC, elder abuse is experienced by 1 in 10 older adults who live at home. While victims of elder abuse are primarily women, men have higher rates of nonfatal assaults and homicides, making it all the more crucial to address this growing concern in our society.
For many senior citizens, elder abuse can rob them of their peace, comfort, and dignity. If you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from elder abuse, it’s vital to take immediate action to prevent further harmful or even fatal accidents from occurring.
Elder abuse can impose financial, emotional, and physical hardships on your loved one. If you suspect elder abuse, it's critical to act now. Call (602) 833-1110 to discuss your case with a skilled Phoenix elder abuse attorney.
What Does Elder Abuse Look Like?
Elder abuse is defined as an intentional act or failure to act that causes risk of harm to an older adult. Elder abuse isn’t limited to physical acts. It can take various forms, including:
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
According to the NCEA, emotional or psychological abuse is the most common form of elder mistreatment. It occurs when an elderly person suffers harm through yelling, harassment, insults, or verbal abuse. According to a 2020 study by the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 1 in 3 nursing home staff members admitted to emotionally abusing residents.
A lack of visible wounds doesn’t prevent emotional abuse from inflicting lasting and debilitating effects on an elderly victim. Emotional elder abuse can lead to various mental health conditions, including:
- Poor physical health
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Sexual abuse among the U.S. older adult population entails forced or unwanted sexual interaction of any kind. It includes both unwanted sexual contact or penetration and non-physical acts (such as sexual harassment).
Sadly, sexual abuse among senior citizens is under-researched. This form of abuse is particularly detrimental to older adults with dementia or mental health conditions, as many elderly Americans are unable to communicate nonconsent during an incident of sexual abuse.
Common perpetrators of elder sexual abuse include friends, live-in nurses or medical professionals, assisted living faculty, family members, and other healthcare providers who are regularly left alone with your loved one.
Elder financial abuse (also referred to as financial exploitation) is a crime that robs older adults of their resources and independence. It entails taking or misusing an older person’s money or property for the benefit of someone else.
Common examples of financial abuse among older U.S. adults include when a friend, family member, caretaker, or other healthcare provider chooses to:
- Take an older person’s money without consent
- Fail to repay money they owe
- Overcharge for services
- Fail to deliver a service they were paid to complete
Due to the commonality of dementia, memory loss, and confusion among older adults who require at-home medical care or assisted living facilities, financial abuse can be challenging to detect in the first place. It’s imperative to know the warning signs so swift and appropriate action can be taken.
Physical abuse is often the first thing that comes to mind when one considers elder abuse. It occurs when an older adult experiences injury, pain, illness, functional impairment, or death due to an intentional act of physical force, such as hitting, kicking, or shoving.
Physical abuse among the elderly can lead to various injuries, from broken bones to minor cuts and bruises. Lacerations on the skin (such as the wrists) may indicate the unethical use of unnecessary restraints.
According to a 13-year study by WHO, older adults who suffer physical abuse are 2 times more likely to die prematurely than those who do not. In addition to declining physical health and increased risk of death, elderly Americans who are physically abused are also prone to suffer from lasting mental health disorders, such as suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety.
Neglect is defined as the failure to meet an older adult’s needs. As you can imagine, this can take a wide range of forms, such as failing to provide sufficient food, shelter, clothing, warmth, hygiene, or medical care.
When a medical professional, relative, or caretaker fails to fulfill their caretaking obligations, this is considered neglect. This particular form of abuse constitutes more than 50% of all reported cases of elder abuse.
Who Is Impacted by Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is a growing public health concern that impacts us all. Today, elder abuse in America is considered to be a critical social, health, and economic issue.
Research shows that some elderly adults are more likely to suffer abuse than others. A CDC study shows the following facts about elder abuse among older U.S. adults:
- Women are more likely to be emotionally abused. 67% of victims are female.
- Men have higher rates of nonfatal assaults and homicides. Between 2002 and 2016, the rate of nonfatal assaults increased by 75% for men and 35% for women.
- Black, American Indian/Alaskan Natives, and Hispanic or Latino populations are more likely to experience elder abuse than the White population.
Warning Signs of Elder Abuse
Various red flags can indicate elder abuse. It's crucial to know and recognize the warning signs of elder abuse to prevent further harm from happening to your elderly loved one. According to the National Institute of Aging, the following are common signs of abuse among the elderly population:
- Your loved one seems depressed or withdrawn.
- Your loved one is isolating themselves from friends and family.
- Your loved one has unexplained injuries, such as bruises or scars.
- Your loved one appears to have poor hygiene.
- Your loved one seems underfed or dehydrated.
- Your loved one seems undermedicated or overmedicated.
- Your loved one has bed sores or another preventable condition.
- Your loved one has demonstrated recent changes in spending habits.
How to Report Elder Abuse in Phoenix
Elder abuse is illegal under Arizona state law. Under ARS 13-3623, a violation can result in a felony charge (with Class 6 being the least severe and Class 2 being the most severe) punishable by 12 years or more in prison. If you suspect that an elderly loved one is being abused by a relative, friend, or caretaker, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and seek compensation on their behalf.
Legally, a person can file a lawsuit against a person, company, care facility, or institution if a vulnerable adult has been neglected or abused physically, sexually, emotionally, or financially. An older adult may file to recover losses for:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Medical expenses
Reliable Legal Services Tailored to Your Needs
Sadly, many elder abuse claims simply get swept under the rug or dismissed entirely, contributing to a growing national issue. That’s why our elder abuse attorneys at IBF Law Group are devoted to protecting the rights of older adults and their families. It’s critical for friends and family to work together to ensure that an elderly loved one is receiving the compassionate care and treatment they deserve.
If you suspect elder abuse, it’s essential to seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney. Elder abuse claims can be complex and difficult to prove in court, especially when up against a well-funded institution or facility that denies any wrongdoing. A trusted legal advisor can guide your next steps and establish the best legal approach to obtain the results you desire.
Our hardworking team has a successful track record of achieving customized legal solutions for our clients in Arizona and New Mexico. Our skilled lawyers bring nearly two decades of combined experience to the table to serve you and your loved ones. When you partner with us, you’re partnering with aggressive legal advocates who will align themselves with your unique goals and work tirelessly to obtain a favorable outcome in court.
Do you suspect negligence or abuse in an elderly loved one’s care? We can help you hold involved parties responsible for their unethical actions. Call (602) 833-1110 today to request a free consultation.