When medical facilities such as nursing homes and assisted care facilities fail to provide adequate medical care and to keep patients safe, the results can be catastrophic. Residents may suffer physical abuse, including sexual abuse.
At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., we have extensive experience with nursing home abuse cases. Our attorneys can represent you and your loved one in sexual abuse cases against hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living and long-term/personal care facilities.
Seeking Justice For Your Loved One — Empowering Victims And Families
Please schedule a free consultation with one of our elder sexual abuse victim lawyers in Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, Cherry Hill, New Jersey and New York. Call us at 215-929-7216.
Attorney Jeffrey Fritz, our lead attorney for crime victims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is a charter member and past president of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, an affiliate of the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Elder Sexual Abuse Often Goes Unreported, Making Elders Easy Targets For Perpetrators
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) describes sexual abuse as nonconsensual sexual contact. This may include unwanted or inappropriate kissing or touching, rape, sodomy, exposure to pornography, taking sexually explicit pictures, threats and sexual harassment. The abuse may be perpetrated by nursing home staff, another nursing home resident or a visitor.
Nursing homes and other facilities may fail to report abuse, and victims are often unable to report it themselves, which means elder sexual abuse incidents are most likely underreported.
- People with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other cognitive difficulties are at increased risk for abuse because they are unable to recall recent events and communicate them clearly to others.
- Victims may not be able to ask for help, making them easy targets for sexual abuse.
- If elderly residents do attempt to report abuse, too often people do not take them seriously.
In care facilities, sexual abuse is often the result of the facility’s negligence in hiring and supervising qualified staff. From failure to perform background checks to understaffing, nursing home negligence can create an environment in which residents are easy victims.
Staffing issues may also result in failure to supervise residents, failure to monitor visitors and failure to recognize the signs of sexual abuse. We can hold the facility liable for these types of negligence.
Philadelphia Elder Sexual Abuse Cases: Warning Signs
Because the victims of elder sexual abuse often struggle with cognitive difficulties and other such limitations, they may be unwilling or even unable to speak up about their experiences. Thus, if you suspect a loved one may have been the victim of such abuse at the hands of a caretaker, you need to monitor them for such warning signs as the following:
- Changes in mood
- Unexplained bruises or scarring
- Apparent fear or apprehension when in the presence of certain staff members or caretakers at a care facility
- Withdrawing from conversation, social activities, etc.
- Discussing sexual topics, particularly if they were not the type to discuss such topics in the past
Those are just a few examples. You must consider that an elderly person who is being sexually abused might be too frightened to honestly discuss what has happened to them. Depending on their cognitive abilities, they might not even thoroughly understand that they’ve been victimized.
Ask an elderly loved one about these matters if you have reason to believe they’re being abused. However, even if they claim they haven’t been mistreated, if you remain suspicious, remove them from the situation and investigate the matter further.
Damages Available to Victims of Elder Sexual Abuse in Philadelphia and the Surrounding Areas
You can file a civil suit on behalf of an elderly loved one if you discover they’ve been the victim of sexual abuse at an elder care facility or in a similar setting. Damages/losses for which you may seek compensation include (but aren’t necessarily limited to) the following:
- Hospitalization bills
- Bills for therapy
- Pain and suffering
Review your case with the team at our Philadelphia elder sexual abuse law firm to learn more about the compensation that may be available to your loved one in these circumstances.
Keep in mind that holding a negligent elder care facility accountable when sexual abuse has occurred doesn’t merely ensure your loved one receives the compensation for which they’re eligible. When elder care facilities are forced to pay the price for their negligence, those who run them are less likely to be negligent in the future. This ensures current and future residents of a facility are in less danger of being victimized than they might otherwise be.
How a Philadelphia Elder Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help
A qualified Philadelphia personal injury attorney with experiencing handling cases involving elder sexual abuse can assist you and your loved one by:
- Investigating the matter to gather evidence that abuse and negligence have occurred
- Filing a claim or lawsuit on your behalf
- Determining approximately how much compensation your loved one may be eligible to receive based on the nature and severity of their losses
- Negotiating for a proper settlement with an insurance company if they initially refuse to offer the full amount of compensation your loved one deserves
Allowing you and your loved one to focus on moving beyond this painful experience while we handle the process of seeking justice
Contact a New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Lawyer
For a free confidential consultation in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, please call 215-929-7216 or contact us online.