Neglect is one of the categories of elder abuse under the Revised Code of Washington, along with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and exploitation. The state’s law indicates that negligence can be the result of willful action or inaction that results in negative consequences for a vulnerable senior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder neglect as “the failure to meet an older adult’s basic needs. These needs include food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care.”
If you notice any signs that may indicate elder care negligence, you should speak with a reputable personal injury attorney who can educate you on legal solutions. This involves building a comprehensive case and identifying the responsible parties that led to your relative’s physical, mental, or emotional deterioration.
What Are Common Signs of Elder Care Negligence?
- Unchanged linens
- Lack of basic hygiene
- Dirty clothing
- Disheveled appearance
- Bed sores
- Foul smells
- Missing medications, glasses, hearing aids, or other assistive equipment
- Unexplained weight loss
- Inadequate room temperature
- Unexplained excessive time spent in bed
What Evidence Do I Need to Provide?
In Washington state, the Vulnerable Adult Protection Act can protect individuals who:
- Are 60 years old or more
- Are unable to care for themselves
- Have a court-appointed guardian
- Have a developmental disability
- Receive services from home health or care agencies, a hospice provider, or a personal aid
While the law can hold responsible parties accountable for elder care neglect, you must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that a breach of fiduciary duty happened.
You need to prove the four elements of breach of fiduciary duty:
- The individual, agency, or institution you are suing had a duty of care towards your elderly loved one
- They breached their duty of care towards your elderly relative
- Their actions caused pain to your loved one
- Your elderly family member suffered from injury or trauma as a direct result of the defendant’s actions
Gathering appropriate proof that those four elements happened is crucial to securing a positive outcome for your elderly neglect lawsuit. Keeping detailed notes on any signs of neglect you noticed with your elderly relative can make a significant difference in building your case. Taking photographs is also important. You should also request a copy of their medical records and get the contact information of any relevant witness that may have noticed the changes in your loved ones.
Once you have hired a personal injury lawyer, they can help you access the agency or institution’s record of state inspection to check for any past violations and determine whether they have the proper license.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer in Elder Care Negligence Cases
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is experiencing neglect from their care providers, whether they receive at-home services or live in an assisted living residence or a medical facility, we recommend that you contact us for an initial evaluation. We can review your situation and discuss what your legal options are. Although a care provider may not have meant to neglect your elderly family member, they should still be held accountable for the consequences of their conduct.
Our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies and going to trial when necessary. Involving an attorney generally helps get the compensation your loved one deserves. Our team is familiar with insurance companies’ common tactics to avoid paying damages, and we tirelessly advocate for your and your loved ones’ rights.
Do you suspect your elderly loved one is the victim of negligence in Tacoma or its surrounding areas? Call Hester Law Group today at (253) 300-3034 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.