West Palm Beach Elder Abuse
West Palm Beach has always had a large elderly population, and it has continued to grow over the years. Some of these individuals need the assistance of nursing homes or other similar facilities, placement in which is not an easy decision for family members. Unfortunately, residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities can be susceptible to abuse or neglect by the people entrusted with their care. The West Palm Beach elder abuse lawyers at Donaldson & Weston help victims and their families pursue damages, as well as justice, against those responsible for their harm. Our firm offers compassionate and dedicated legal representation in claims against both individuals and facilities. If you or someone you love has been subjected to elder abuse, contact our office today to find out more about your legal rights and how we can help.Elder Abuse is Widespread in South Florida
Since 2000, the population of West Palm Beach has risen by over 25 percent, and many of the city’s residents are above the age of 65. West Palm Beach also is the site of 10 nursing homes, which include Savannah Cove, the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, the Rehabilitation Center of the Palm Beaches, Manocare Health Services, Lakeside Health Center, Darcy Hall Nursing Home, Columbia Hospital Transitional Care, the Lourdes Noreen McKeen Residence, Consulate Health Care, and Palm Beach Shores Rehab and Sub-Acute Center.
In Florida, 72,000 individuals reside in nursing homes. A national study found that one-third of nursing homes throughout the country were issued citations for approximately 9,000 situations involving elder abuse. Elder abuse is defined under Florida law as any act or omission resulting in harm to an elderly person. There are many different forms that elder abuse can take. Physical violence is one type, but neglect can also cause significant harm or even death to a victim. Emotional abuse can include verbal threats, insults, degradation, isolation, or manipulation for a caretaker’s own benefit. Sexual abuse can also occur, perpetrated either by a nursing home employee or by another resident or visitor, if there are not proper measures in place to avoid an assault. Caretakers can also financially exploit their elderly patients, slowly withdrawing funds from bank accounts or otherwise finding ways to gain access to their assets. In any of these situations, an elder abuse attorney in West Palm Beach can help victimized people assert their rights.
Many times, the most vulnerable individuals are unable to recognize that they are being abused, or they may be too afraid to report the abuse to authorities. In fact, only one of every 14 incidents of elder abuse are reported. As a result, loved ones should be aware of certain warning signs, including:
- Changes in behavior or personality
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, sprains, or broken bones
- Bed sores
- Weight loss, dehydration, or other signs of malnutrition
- Unsanitary conditions, such as unclean or soiled bedding
- Unusual changes in an individual’s bank account, wills, or other legal documents
- Individuals who appear to be over-medicated or not receiving proper dosages of their medication
Facilities that fail to adequately screen, train, or supervise their employees create harmful environments for individuals who rely on them for the most basic care. Victims of nursing home abuse can recover damages for medical costs, pain and suffering, disability, and more.Retain a Skilled Elder Abuse Lawyer in West Palm Beach
It is important to hold abusive or negligent caregivers and facilities responsible for their actions, not only to protect your own loved ones but also to make sure that others are kept safe. The injury attorneys at Donaldson & Weston assist families in taking proper legal action against an individual or entity liable for harming a vulnerable adult. If you believe that a relative is being abused or neglected by a caretaker, or if they are living in unsanitary conditions, our firm can help you determine your next legal steps. Call our office today at (772) 266-5555 or contact us online to set up a risk-free, no-cost consultation with a West Palm Beach elder abuse attorney who can help you get started on a claim.