Senior nursing home residents should be protected from danger, but unfortunately, they sometimes suffer incredible harm where they live. Sexual abuse of elderly residents in long-term care facilities is a serious problem nationwide, and it is likely greatly underreported.
Sexual abuse can have far-reaching physical and psychological effects. If you believe a member of your family has been victimized, a Jacksonville sexual abuse lawyer might be able to help.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has worked to hold long-term care facilities accountable for abuse and neglect. We might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of your loved one to seek financial compensation. Call our office today at (800) 842-6336 to discuss your concerns with a staff member.
Signs that Your Loved One May Have Been Sexually Abused
Sexual abuse can take many forms. Those may include sexual assault, rape, groping, photographing an unclothed person, forcing or coercing an individual into touching someone sexually, and making someone watch others engage in sexual acts.
If your family member has been abused, you may or may not see physical signs. Since sexual abuse can include such a wide range of acts, it may not leave visible traces, but you may notice dramatic changes in your loved one’s personality and behavior.
If your relative has been sexually abused, you may see unexplained bruising or bleeding. Your relative may be depressed, anxious, withdrawn, or aggressive, either in general or around a particular individual. They might have trouble sleeping and eat much less than usual.
Elderly people who live in nursing homes often have serious medical issues that can lead to falls and other types of accidents. They may also suffer from cognitive decline and may take medications that can affect their moods, sleeping patterns, and appetites.
If you have noticed changes in your loved one’s physical appearance, personality, or behavior, it does not necessarily mean your relative has been sexually abused.
If you have made other observations, overheard comments, or heard comments directly from residents or staff members that lead you to suspect your family member has been abused, you can contact a Jacksonville sexual abuse lawyer and review your concerns with them.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is ready to work on your case. Give us a call today to set up a free case evaluation so that we can go over the details of your situation. We can offer counsel and help you consider your next steps.
Who Commits Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
In some cases, when long-term care patients are abused, staff members are responsible. Due to understaffing, nursing homes frequently have trouble hiring and retaining enough qualified employees. They may, therefore, skip background checks to hire new people quickly.
The background checks system has its limitations, so when employers check prospective employees’ backgrounds, they might not receive information about the criminal charges an individual has in other states. That can allow people who abuse nursing home residents to get fired only to find employment in a different state and access a new pool of potential victims.
People who visit a nursing home can also commit sexual abuse. Those individuals may include delivery people, contractors hired to perform maintenance and make repairs, and other residents’ family members and friends.
Sometimes patients in nursing homes are sexually abused by fellow residents. Seniors in long-term care facilities may prey on other particularly vulnerable people. In other cases, individuals with dementia may abuse others and may not understand or remember their actions.
For a free legal consultation with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer serving Jacksonville, call (800) 794-0444
Liability in Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Cases
Long-term care facilities have a duty to keep their residents safe. They should conduct background checks to ensure the employees they hire are qualified and do not have a record of conduct that could put patients at risk. Nursing homes should also provide training so that workers can detect signs of possible abuse and what to do if they think a patient has been abused.
Nursing home staff should supervise residents and visitors to prevent abuse and intervene if they discover signs of inappropriate conduct. If a victim, an employee, or a staff member reports alleged or suspected abuse, the facility should investigate and notify the authorities, if appropriate.
In some cases, nursing home employees and administrators not only fail to investigate or report suspected abuse, but they actively cover it up. Workers may accuse a victim of lying, threaten to retaliate, or punish the victim in order to silence them and intimidate other victims so that they will not come forward. If a nursing home fails to take adequate steps to protect residents, it could be found liable for sexual abuse.
Jacksonville Sexual Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
How An Attorney Can Help
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can investigate to figure out what happened to your family member. We can begin by speaking with you and others who share your concerns. If you noticed any physical signs of harm or changes in behavior, those might indicate that your loved one has been abused, but we might have to gather more information to find out exactly what occurred.
If your relative can communicate and is willing to discuss their experiences, we can gather valuable information on what they experienced and learn who is responsible. We may also interview other residents and staff members to learn more and review nursing home documents to find out if the facility followed appropriate hiring and training procedures.
A Jacksonville sexual abuse lawyer could also file a personal injury lawsuit against the facility to seek compensation for medical care and mental health treatment that your loved one required because of the abuse. Your relative could also receive a financial award for pain and suffering.
If you are interested in pursuing your case, the statute of limitations gives you only so much time to act. According to Florida Statutes §429.296, a personal injury lawsuit must be brought within two years of an incident, or within two years of the date when the incident was discovered or should have been discovered. A victim may not sue more than four years from the date of the incident.
Investigating sexual abuse cases can be difficult since victims and witnesses are often reluctant to speak out. Our team may need several months to interview people and gather evidence. Once we have done that, we may be able to file a lawsuit. The sooner you initiate your lawsuit, the more time we will have to build your case. We also will file your lawsuit on time.
Legal matters sometimes take years to resolve. If your loved one is elderly and in failing health, time may not be on your family’s side. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 so that we can begin working on your case as soon as possible.