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What are the Signs of Physical Elder Abuse?

Throughout the United States, thousands of seniors suffer abuse at the hands of caregivers. Seniors are abused by family members who provide care, by home health aides, and by nursing home staff members.  Abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. All of the different types of abuse can have serious physical and mental consequences for vulnerable seniors and nursing home residents.

When abuse occurs, California and federal laws provide protection to victims.  California Welfare and Institutions Code includes the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, which is found in Sections 15600 – 15675 and which establishes the definition of elder abuse and the civil remedies available to victims.   Unfortunately, many cases of abuse are never reported and many seniors do not take action because some seniors are not able to speak up for themselves or they do not know who to turn to for help.

No senior deserves to be victimized, and family members, friends, and other caregivers should be aware of signs that abuse is occurring.  If you suspect abuse, the Contra Costa County elder abuse lawyers at Evans Law Firm, Inc. should be consulted as soon as possible to provide advice on how to take appropriate action, including reporting the abuse and filing a civil claim to recover compensation for losses.

Recognizing Physical Elder Abuse

While all types of elder abuse can affect the health and safety of a senior, physical abuse is an especially dangerous type of abuse because a vulnerable older person is actually suffering bodily harm in each instance of abuse.  In many cases, this abuse will result in visible marks on the senior, but even if it does not, there are other red flags to watch out for which could be indicators of abuse.

Some of the signs to look for to recognize when abuse is occurring include:

  • Unexplained bruises
  • Pressure marks or bed sores
  • Bone fractures
  • Abrasions
  • Cuts
  • Burns
  • Depression or unexplained withdrawal from normal activities

Disheveled or ripped clothing, broken eye glasses, or a fearful reaction around particular caregivers or nursing home staff members are also red flags that a senior is potentially being abused.  It is important for everyone who interacts with older people to look for these signs, especially if the senior suffers from a condition like dementia which could make it impossible for the senior to speak up about the abuse.

If abuse is occurring, the senior victim or his family members could potentially take legal action not just against the abuser but also against a nursing home that employs the abuser. A nursing home can be held accountable for actions of employees on-the-job, because those employees are acting on behalf of the nursing home. If a nursing home is negligent in hiring, training, or staffing practices, the facility could also be held liable when the nursing home’s failures result in the abuse occurring.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. can provide assistance in taking legal action when there is potential abuse occurring. We are a full-service law firm focused on helping to protect the rights of vulnerable seniors and the elderly in nursing homes. We have successfully helped clients to obtain damages from nursing homes and caregivers who engaged in abusive behavior, and we can bring our extensive experience to your case to advocate on your behalf. Call us today at 415-441-8669 or contact us via email to speak with one of our attorneys and find out how we can assist you.

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