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Elder abuse includes not only physical and sexual abuse but also mental cruelty such as verbal assaults, threats against their safety and dignity, intimidation with weapons, and humiliation through public ridicule, among others.

The elderly are among the most vulnerable members of society who need care and support to live independently, yet they are also considered to be one of the most targeted groups because they are often defenseless against other forms of mistreatment.

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, our Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyers are committed to helping you fight for justice.

Call us today for a free consultation.


Discover your legal options today.

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  • Don't pay for someone else's negligence. Let us help.

Get a free consultation with a Port St. Lucie Elder Abuse Attorney by calling

561-655-1990

or sending our team a message now. You don’t pay until we win.

Elder Abuse and Neglect Claims We Handle

Nurse holding the hand of someone who is suffering elder abuseOur lawyers have represented clients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care homes, and home health agencies throughout the country. We have achieved substantial recoveries for our clients in these types of cases as well as in cases involving medical malpractice and nursing home abuse.

Our lawyers have an extensive amount of experience representing the victims of elder abuse and neglect in civil cases throughout Florida. We will work with you to determine if your case is compensable through a medical payment coverage claim, no-fault insurance claim, or personal injury claim.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse and neglect, call our Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyer today for a free consultation.

How a Port St. Lucie Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help You

An experienced Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyer will know the law and legal procedures inside out since they deal specifically with cases involving elderly abuse victims.

Our lawyers will work closely with you to win justice for your loved one or client. An experienced lawyer has the capacity and capability to protect your rights in court while also ensuring that the offender gets what they deserve.

Fighting for Your Family When You Need It Most

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, our attorneys have extensive experience and knowledge in tackling these cases, involving a wide range of legal claims from medical malpractice to nursing home injuries, accidents resulting in injury at assisted living facilities, wrongful deaths, and more.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse or neglect, call our Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyers today for a free consultation. We will fight for your family and help you win justice and financial compensation on their behalf.

Representation for Those Who Have Lost Their Voice

Unfortunately, the elderly are often silent victims of abuse and neglect.They may be unable to express themselves verbally due to the injuries they have suffered, so our lawyers will step up and speak on their behalf.

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we are committed to helping you fight for justice when your voice can no longer be heard. With more than a century of combined experience, our Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyers can help guide you through the process and explain everything as we go along.

How do I know if my loved one suffers elder abuse or neglect?

Think about the following:

  • Do they have any bruising or broken bones?
  • Do you ever see suspicious marks from restraints on their wrists and ankles?
  • Does your loved one seem unusually withdrawn, anxious, or depressed?
  • Did anyone witness any abuse?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, there is a chance that your loved one is a victim of elder abuse and neglect.

Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse and neglect can occur in all types of nursing homes, regardless of how upscale it is considered or how often family checks in on their elderly loved one. Nursing home abuse is when a nursing home resident is physically, emotionally, or sexually abused by a staff member or another resident.

Nursing home neglect is when a nursing home resident doesn’t receive the necessary care they need, which can lead to serious health complications. Our Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyers at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can help you seek justice for your loved one or client if they’re the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse.

Assisted Living Abuse

Assisted living facilities are the perfect environment for elder abuse to occur because, in addition to staff, residents who are still fairly independent can abuse other, more vulnerable residents.

If your loved one lacks the capacity to make important decisions about their lives, you have the power to make decisions for them. Having the capacity to speak up for them can be helpful, but if the staff at the assisted living facility doesn’t respect your loved one’s rights and needs, they won’t let you know when to step in.

Our Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyers have seen firsthand how seniors are vulnerable to these types of facilities because they offer one-stop living. If your elderly loved one is isolated in an assisted living facility or community and you suspect abuse, call us.

How are nursing homes regulated in Florida?

Nursing home regulations differ from state to state. In Florida, the Agency for HealthCare Administration (AHCA) regulates nursing homes at a state level.

On a federal level, the Department of Health and Human Services via the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services both oversee all nursing homes in the country. These organizations work together to enforce federal and state laws that not only protect nursing home residents but also hold nursing homes accountable for any violations of the law.

Types of Elder Abuse

There are many types of elder abuse, including:

Physical Elder Abuse

Physical elder abuse is the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Examples of this type of abuse are:

  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Slapping
  • Shaking
  • Pinching
  • Pulling hair out
  • Burning with cigarettes or cigars
  • Cutting with knives, razors, and other sharp objects
  • Confining them to chairs or beds for long periods of time

Physical abuse is the most recognizable type of elder abuse, as there are physical signs of the pain being inflicted. The warning signs include:

  • Bruising
  • Broken bones or bone fractures
  • Sprains or dislocations
  • Burns
  • Welts
  • Ligature marks on wrists or ankles
  • Cuts, punctures, or scratches

Sexual Elder Abuse

Sexual elder abuse is when a nursing home resident is forced to participate in any type of sexual activity.

This includes being touched inappropriately, forced to watch inappropriate material, or being raped. Warning signs include:

  • Bruises in genital area
  • Bruising or swelling in breasts
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Unexplained venereal disease or vaginal infection

Emotional or Psychological Abuse

Emotional elder abuse is when a nursing home resident is treated with extreme cruelty. It’s emotionally harmful and causes distress to the resident, but it doesn’t leave physical scars or pain.

Some common examples of emotional abuse are:

  • Constant yelling
  • Name-calling
  • Intimidation with weapons like knives, guns, or bats
  • Physical restraint when the person doesn’t want to be touched

Emotional abuse can also include withholding basic needs such as:

  • Food and water
  • The right to communicate freely with friends and family
  • The right to visit their spiritual leader of choice

The warning signs of emotional abuse are:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Depression or withdrawal from social situations
  • Apathy or lethargy
  • Decreased mental abilities, like short-term memory loss

Neglect

Neglect is the most common form of elder abuse. It’s when a caregiver fails to provide necessary care, attention, or assistive devices.

Some examples include:

  • Not providing medical care when in need
  • Not changing diapers often enough
  • Not providing necessary medications or treatments
  • Keeping the person in bed all day and not allowing them to get up

Neglect is the most difficult form of elder abuse to prove, but it’s also the easiest for a nursing home resident to suffer from.

Signs of neglect include:

  • Unusual weight loss or gain
  • Unsanitary living conditions such as soiled bedding and clothing, dirty dishes in the room, and poor personal hygiene
  • Malnourishment, including dehydration and unkempt long fingernails

If you or a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, contact an experienced Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyer today. A member of our legal team will meet with you for free to discuss your options.

Abandonment

Abandonment is when a nursing home resident is deserted by their caregiver. It can be intentional or unintentional, but it’s considered an elder abuse form either way.

Some of the most common examples of abandonment include:

  • Leaving a person alone in public without telling anyone where they are going
  • Telling the person where they are going but never returning
  • Giving the person too much medication and not enough food or water once they fall asleep

Abandonment is considered a form of elder abuse because it leaves a senior without necessary care, which puts them at risk for further injury, illness, or even death. Doing so is also illegal in most states.

Warning signs of abandonment include:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fearful requests for reassurance that they won’t be left alone again
  • Loneliness or boredom

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is when a family member or someone the nursing home resident trusts steals or misuses their money.

This type of elder abuse can also include:

  • Forging a person’s signature to take their money and property
  • Denying them access to their bank accounts or other financial instruments
  • Preventing them from getting a job so they don’t have access to their earnings

This can be done through fraud, coercion, and/or undue influence.

Warning signs of financial elder abuse include:

  • Sudden changes in bank accounts
  • Large withdrawals from the victim’s account without explanation
  • Difficulty paying bills
  • Selling or giving away property or possessions without permission

If you suspect that someone has stolen money from your loved one, contact the police right away. You can also ask an experienced Port St. Lucie elder abuse lawyer to help determine if there is enough evidence to file a civil lawsuit against the abuser.

Self-Neglect or Self-Inflicted Abuse

Self-neglect is when someone doesn’t take care of their basic needs or health. Self-inflicted abuse happens when a person deliberately harms themselves.

This type of elder abuse is very dangerous because it puts the sufferer in further physical and/or financial danger.

Some examples of self-neglect are:

  • Not taking medications or insulin shots
  • Leaving the stove on after they fall asleep and consequently causing a fire
  • Leaving dirty dishes in their room without washing them for several days
  • Self-neglect can also involve not taking care of personal hygiene, like not bathing or brushing their teeth

Warning signs of self-neglect include:

  • Not eating when there’s food in the room
  • Evidence of untreated injuries
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Filth in their home or in terms of their personal hygiene

If you suspect that your loved one is neglecting their needs, it’s important to report it. Self-neglect and self-inflicted abuse can lead to serious health problems and even death.

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Conditions That May Worsen Elder Abuse

There are several medical conditions that may cause an older adult to become more likely to suffer forms of elder abuse. These include, but aren’t limited to:

Parkinson’s Disease

People with Parkinson’s disease are at a higher risk for elder abuse because they often have trouble speaking up for themselves, and they may be less mobile. This can make them more dependent on their caregiver, which can lead to intentional or unintentional neglect.

They may also be more susceptible to financial abuse, as they may have a harder time managing their money. If you know someone who has Parkinson’s disease, be on the lookout for signs of elder abuse and report any concerns you have to the authorities.

Depression

Depression can cause someone to lash out at the people they care about, especially if they don’t understand that the treatment is actually abusive. Depression can also make it harder for someone to take care of themselves or advocate for their needs.

These individuals may not know how to speak up about the abuse or may even feel that they deserve it due to their depressive state. Their depression can also be made worse by the elder abuse, creating a cycle of acceptance of the abuse. They are less likely to reach out to others for help the deeper they fall into a depression.

Dementia

As the brain ages, it becomes harder to think clearly. This becomes even more difficult when someone has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. They may not be able to recognize their caregiver any longer or they might have trouble communicating their thoughts and needs.

Dementia is a memory disease, so they may not be able to remember what happened or why their caregiver is treating them the way they do. They may also think that the abuse is something they deserve as punishment for some forgotten transgression. The person could also be dismissed if they do report these incidents of abuse, as people will say they are making it up because they cannot remember what actually happened.

Older adults who have dementia are susceptible to financial abuse because their cognitive abilities may not be as sharp as they once were. If you’re taking care of someone with dementia, monitor their money closely and report any concerns you have to the authorities.

Alzheimer’s

People with Alzheimer’s have a difficult time expressing themselves, which can make it easier for others to take advantage of them.

As they age, the individual may not be able to advocate for their own needs. They might not recognize that they are being taken advantage of by someone close to them, or they may not be able to communicate these concerns.

Stroke

Strokes can leave people with certain types of physical disabilities that make it harder for them to care for themselves or speak up if they are being abused. They could also have a much harder time managing their money and finances after a stroke, which makes them more likely to be the targets of financial abuse. This can lead to self-neglect if the person is not aware of the symptoms associated with a stroke or they may be dismissed because others don’t believe that their symptoms are real.

Strokes can also leave people with cognitive disabilities, such as memory loss and trouble finding words to express themselves, which can make it easier for them to be taken advantage of by someone close to them. When you’re caring for someone with a stroke or know someone who has had a stroke, you will need to be hypervigilant to signs of physical, sexual, and financial abuse that they cannot communicate for themselves.

Low Income

People with low incomes may be more vulnerable to abuse if they do not have someone to advocate for them or help them. They might also not be able to afford their medication, which could lead to depression and other mental health issues that leave them unable to defend themselves.

These low-income individuals are at a higher risk for nursing home abuse due to being put in lower-quality facilities that their families cannot afford to visit or regulate. Plus, they are still susceptible to financial abuse, as their caregivers can take advantage of their credit or even steal their social security income.

It’s important to keep an eye on their money and credit, as well as monitor any sudden changes in personality or the way they act around their loved ones.

Physical or Mental Disability

People with physical or mental disabilities are at risk of abuse because they cannot advocate for themselves. Their loved ones might also take advantage of their dependency on others due to these disabilities, whether it comes in the form of physical violence or emotional manipulation.

If the individual has a disability that requires assistance, make sure you know what is included in their care and make sure they receive everything that is necessary to maintain their health.

How soon will I need to file an elder abuse lawsuit?

Every case is different, but you will need to file a lawsuit to get your loved one the compensation they deserve for what they have gone through. This is an important step if you’re seeking financial compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, or lost money.

There is a statute of limitations that requires you to file within two years after the injury or wrongdoing has occurred. Speak to an attorney that specializes in elder abuse if you need advice on whether your loved one is eligible for compensation, what damages you can seek, and information about the statute of limitations in your state.

Contact Us to Meet a Leading Port St. Lucie Elder Abuse Lawyer

If you or your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, neglect by a caregiver, financial elder abuse, or any other type of elder abuse, we can help.

Call Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free consultation.