The mistreatment of older adults occurs at a staggering rate across the United States and primarily affects those who need assistance to care for themselves. The World Health Organization (WHO) addresses this alarming trend, noting that 1 in 6 adults aged 60 and older experienced abuse within the past year. Researchers have found that nursing homes have high rates of elder abuse, with 2 out of 3 staff reporting that they had committed abuse within the past year, and they expect that the number of mistreated older adults will increase in coming years.
As some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society, residents of nursing homes not only deserve to receive care with dignity and respect, the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 ensures their right to it. Victims suffer many forms of abuse, including emotional; while this type may not have a physical impact, it can lead to serious trauma and mental health concerns.
Psychological abuse matters just as much as any other kind, and a Fort Worth emotional abuse lawyer can help you hold the facility that mistreated you or your loved one accountable for the harm they caused you. Contact the legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 with more information, and we will help you determine your options for moving forward with your case.
Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) performed extensive research on the prevalence of elder abuse in the U.S. and found that it often goes unreported. In fact, authorities only become aware of an estimated 1 in 14 cases, making it difficult to hold perpetrators responsible. In 2014, Ombudsman became aware of more than 14,000 complaints of abuse, neglect, or gross exploitation, and considering the underreported nature of elder abuse, many more instances likely occurred.
Risk Factors for Nursing Home Abuse
Some older adults may have a higher chance of suffering emotional abuse in nursing homes than others. The NCEA found that certain individuals have an increased risk of mistreatment, including those who have:
- Limited social or family support
- Lower incomes
- Dementia or other conditions that impair functionality
- Poor health
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Types of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse occurs when perpetrators use verbal or non-verbal means to inflict emotional and mental pain on their victims. Common types of elder emotional abuse include:
Victims of emotional abuse often suffer long-term psychological distress and significant emotional declines, and they have higher rates of depression than those who have not experienced mistreatment.
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Signs that Your Loved One May Have Experienced Emotional Abuse
Abuse in nursing homes often occurs surreptitiously, and while physical abuse might leave noticeable signs like bruises and burns, families may find it difficult to recognize the signs of emotional abuse in their loved ones. Changes in behavior may indicate this type of abuse, such as:
- Feeling more upset than usual
- Expressing feelings of shame or guilt
- Suddenly withdrawing from family and friends
- Appearing uncomfortable around certain people
- Dodging questions
If you or a loved one have suffered emotional abuse in a Fort Worth nursing home, report it to authorities as soon as you can by calling the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Then, the lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you hold the facility accountable for your damages. Contact our legal team to get started on your case.
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A Fort Worth Emotional Abuse Lawyer Can Assist You Through the Legal Process
Whether you have been victimized in a nursing home setting or have discovered the abuse of a loved one, you may feel intimidated by the process of pursuing a lawsuit against the liable party. An attorney can walk you through each step, explain the procedures, and assist you in making decisions in which you feel confident.
First, a lawyer will talk to you about your case and ensure that they have a full understanding so they can continue with an investigation. They may collect evidence to help prove the negligence of the facility staff, which establishes liability in your case. After placing a value on your damages to determine the appropriate amount of compensation to pursue for you, they can help you seek the justice and financial awards you deserve.
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Fighting for Fair Financial Awards in Your Case
Typically, our lawyers will attempt to settle your case outside of a courtroom, as trials often involve lengthy processes. They will meet with insurance companies, the opposing legal team, and other involved parties on your behalf to negotiate a fair settlement amount based on your damages. However, if they cannot achieve adequate results, they will go to court to fight for your case in front of a jury.
You Have a Limited Amount of Time to File Your Emotional Abuse Claim
Each state allows victims of injury as the result of someone else’s negligence to file personal injury claims against the responsible party within a certain time frame, known as a statute of limitations. According to the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §16.003, “a person must bring suit not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues.” This means that you must file within two years from the date the abuse began.
However, exceptions do apply in certain cases, such as if you plan to file on behalf of a loved one who cannot file for themselves. A Fort Worth emotional abuse lawyer can determine if you can file a personal injury claim and how long you have before the statute of limitations ends in your case.
Get Started Today with Help from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm
If you or a loved one suffered emotional abuse in a Fort Worth nursing home, the lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can assist you through each step of the legal process and advocate for fair financial recovery for you. We do not charge any fees upfront, and you do not owe us anything unless we achieve compensation. Call us today at (800) 842-6336 to get started.