As your relatives age, they may suffer physical or mental declines. From immobility to dementia, there are a number of conditions that force elderly individuals to be dependent on others. Your loved one may need someone else to take care of their home, help with their finances, and provide medical care. Along with this dependency comes vulnerability. You and your elderly loved one must trust that whoever comes into their home to help is there for the right reasons and will uphold their responsibilities with care. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many elderly individuals across the country are subject to elder abuse by family members, close friends, and caretakers. If you believe a loved one is suffering elder abuse at home, contact the Steven’s Point personal injury lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC at (715) 343-2850 right away.
Types of Elder Abuse
There are numerous types of elder abuse that can lead to serious physical and psychological injuries, including:
- Physical abuse constitutes a person using force or violence toward the elderly individual, causing pain, injury, impairment, and fear of injury and pain. While physical abuse may involve hitting an elderly person, it can also include actions like using unnecessary physical restraints. An elderly person who needs care is unlikely to be strong or vigorous and it likely does not take a great deal of physical force to hurt them.
- Neglect means a person fails to uphold their caretaking duties to the elderly person such as helping them bathe, keeping them hydrated, feeding them an appropriate amount of healthy food, and giving them necessary medications at the right time. When a person does not maintain these essential functions, the elderly person suffers.
- Emotional abuse can be both verbal and non-verbal. A caretaker may threaten, yell at, blame, humiliate, or ridicule the elderly individual. The person in power may also isolate the elderly person from friends and family and purposefully withhold interaction. When an elderly individual is dependent on someone, that person can torment them without touching them.
- Financial abuse is unfortunately common across the nation. Elderly people are often targeted by caretakers who can easily gain control of their bank accounts, credit cards, and personal property. People in power can use outright theft, fraud, and scams to take money and property from an elderly individual. This risk is particularly high when an elderly individual suffers from cognitive decline or a form of dementia.
- Sexual abuse occurs when a person has any non-consensual sexual contact with an elderly individual. When an elderly individual suffers from cognitive decline, has dementia, or has been deemed unfit, then it is impossible for them to consent to any sexual activity.
- Abandonment is an extreme form of neglect and occurs when a person in caretaking position deserts the elderly person without arranging for their care.
Who May be Guilty of Elder Abuse
No one wants to admit that someone they know could be guilty of abusing a vulnerable elderly person. However, elder abuse at home is a very real concern and may be perpetrated by an elderly person’s:
- Spouse or romantic partner
- Child or child’s spouse
- Family friend
- Hired caretaker
While the abuser may be an independent individual, they may also be an employee of a larger business. If the person who has abused your elderly loved one is a hired caretaker, then their employee may also be held responsible for the abusive conduct.
Recovering Compensation for Elder Abuse
When an elderly individual suffers physical and psychological injuries due to elder abuse, they may have the right to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of society and companionship
During a personal injury lawsuit, it is up to the elderly individual to prove that the defendant, whether a family member or hired caretaker, hurt them. With the help of an experienced attorney, the elderly person will offer evidence to the court that the defendant was physically, emotionally, sexually, or financially abusive or neglectful. Next, the elderly person must provide evidence that this abuse or neglect caused them injury.
When Elder Abuse Leads to Tragedy
Unfortunately, elder abuse at home can lead to catastrophic injuries and early death. When this is the case, you may have the right to move forward with a Wisconsin wrongful death claim. If you would directly inherit from the elderly person as a spouse or child, then you may be able to file suit in your own name. However, if you are a friend or more distant relation, the representative of the elderly person’s estate may be the appropriate party to bring the claim.
By filing a wrongful death claim associated with elder abuse, you may be able to recover:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of financial contributions
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of society and companionship
The financial recovery obtained through this type of suit will be divided among the deceased person’s heirs based on Wisconsin law, including to their spouse, children, and other beneficiaries.
Call Our Wisconsin Elder Abuse Attorneys Today
If your loved one has suffered elder abuse at home, do not hesitate to take action to determine their rights. Elder abuse often leads to civil liability and possibly criminal charges. At Studinski Law, LLC, we can explain your loved one’s rights following this difficult situation. If the abuse lead to your loved one’s death, then we can explain Wisconsin’s wrongful death law and your legal options. Call us today at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a time to meet with us. We serve clients in Wood County, Portage County, Waupaca County, Marathon County, and surrounding areas.