Words are not harmless. Verbal or emotional abuse can have devastating consequences for victims. For older adults living in nursing homes, these types of abuse can drastically reduce their quality of life and lead to serious mental and physical health issues.
The decision to place your family in nursing home care can be very difficult. Their physical comfort and access to healthcare are primary concerns. It may never occur to you to worry about the possibility of threats, humiliation, and other damaging and disrespectful treatment.
If your family member suffered emotional and/or verbal abuse, their nursing home should pay. An Austin verbal or emotional abuse lawyer may be able to help you seek compensation for your loved one’s injuries and other damages. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you with a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home and staff. Reach out to our team at (800) 842-6336 to find out more.
Understanding Verbal and Emotional Abuse
When a resident is verbally abused, their caregivers use words to frighten, humiliate, threaten, or harm them. Verbal abuse can include yelling, but it can also happen in a quiet and insidious way.
Verbal abuse may look like:
● Staff making jokes at a resident’s expense or to humiliate them in front of their peers
● Threats of punishment, retribution, or violence
● Threats of deprivation
● Name-calling, belittling, and other forms of denigration
Verbal abuse is just one element of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is also called psychological abuse and includes other non-verbal behaviors. Examples include:
● Deliberately delaying a resident’s access to necessities, like food, water, and medications
● Ignoring a resident
● Putting a resident in isolation or denying them the right to socialize with others
● Invading a resident’s privacy or monitoring their private communications
● Denying a resident access to outside visitors
● Denying a resident access to activities and services
How You Can Recognize Verbal and Emotional Abuse
The signs of verbal and/or emotional abuse can be difficult to spot because they do not leave physical injuries on the body like other forms of abuse. However, a lack of outward signs does not mean this form of abuse is not damaging.
For example, verbal and emotional abuse can cause depression. Depression can lead to a host of physical problems, including increased physical fragility, a greater risk of cardiovascular issues, and reduced cognitive abilities.
You may be able to read the signs of abuse in your loved one’s mood and actions. As mentioned, depression can be a consequence of emotional abuse. Sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, disinterest in activities, anxiety, and agitation all are signs of depression.
It is also important to note that verbal and emotional abuse can cause behavioral regression. You may notice actions like thumb sucking, biting, or rocking. It may also be an indicator of abuse if your loved one seems fearful of any of their caregivers.
All of these signs could also indicate the occurrence of other types of abuse. If unexplained accidents and injuries accompany any of these changes in behavior, your loved one could be experiencing physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect, as well. An Austin verbal or emotional abuse lawyer can try to help you find out what is happening at your family member’s nursing home. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm as soon as you can to learn about taking legal action.
Holding the Nursing Home Liable
As licensed state facilities, nursing homes are bound by the laws of Texas to provide a high standard of care. When the facility and its staff breach the duty of care owed to residents, they can be liable for damages in civil court.
Texas Health and Safety Code §242.001 states that quality care includes humane treatment and professional caregiving. It also dictates a resident’s right to live in a safe environment without the presence of physical or emotional abuse.
You can seek compensation if your loved one was harmed. If your loved one needed medical treatment because of verbal or emotional abuse, you can seek the costs of their care. Your family member can also be awarded for the pain and suffering they experienced.
An Austin verbal or emotional abuse lawyer can help you prove liability and show that your loved one suffered damages. They can help prepare your case by obtaining official records, witness testimony, and medical professional opinions. It can take time to gather evidence and build a legal argument. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003, you have two years to file a case for wrongful death or personal injury. Failure to take legal action within the two-year deadline may keep you from pursuing compensation altogether.
For a free legal consultation with a Verbal or Emotional Abuse Lawyer serving Austin, call (800) 794-0444
Verbal and Emotional Abuse Is Wrong, But You Can Fight Back
No one should ever be abused in any manner. The elderly do not deserve to suffer from ridicule and living in fear. The people who hurt your family member can and should face both civil and criminal penalties.
Financial awards cannot take away what your family member has gone through. It can provide the financial support needed to make sure they are comfortably relocated. It also may afford some small measure of justice.
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can have an Austin verbal or emotional abuse lawyer defend your loved one’s rights. Our law firm only charges a fee when your case is resolved. If we do not win a settlement, you do not pay. To get started, call our offices at (800) 842-6336 for a risk-free, no-cost consultation.