If you know your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, it’s not a matter of whether to hire an attorney – it’s a matter of when and which attorney to hire.
Any time someone is suffering from abuse – whether physical, emotional, or financial – the most important thing is to get them out of that abusive situation immediately. Doing so may involve breach of contract with the facility where they’re living, but a good elder law attorney can help you deal with that legally.
If the facility refuses to release the senior, for any reason, call an attorney immediately. They can help get your loved one out of the facility swiftly and legally, so you can put your mind at ease as far as their safety and wellbeing is concerned.
Once the senior is safe, it’s time to evaluate damages. If you haven’t already contacted an attorney, you might want to do so at this point. You know best what you and your loved(s) spent as a result of the abuse, but an attorney can make you aware of some costs that could be included in a lawsuit that you may not have thought to include.
In addition to the financial damages as a direct result of the abuse, whether it’s medical costs or reparations for stolen money or personal items, the costs of moving can also be included the damages incurred as a result of abuse. For example, if you had to hire movers to help your loved one move from one facility to another, and/or make a deposit with the new facility, those are all financial damages that should be included when you go to file your lawsuit.
You can also include pain and suffering as one of your damages when you file your complaint. That term covers all the intangible harm the abuse caused to your family and your loved one. Although you can’t put a price on trauma and emotional damage, you can file for compensation for pain and suffering by filing a civil lawsuit.
If you do decide to file a lawsuit and have yet to hire a good attorney with experience with elder law, now is the time to do so. Their first job will be to determine if you have a case. To sue for abuse, you need to be able to prove that the facility (or someone working for the facility) was either negligent or outright malicious in their treatment of your loved one. Without proof, you don’t have a case.
Once you have proof (or at least a solid foundation for a lawsuit in which proof might be obtained during the discovery portion of the case), your attorney will help you draft a complaint and make sure it goes through all the proper channels. You can either file a criminal or a civil lawsuit and your attorney can advise you as to which course of action would be best for your particular case.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.