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Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

Over the next three decades, the population of elderly Americans is expected to double in size, as the Baby Boomer generation begins to reach age 65 and over. These predictions mean that more attention is being placed on the state of nursing home care than ever before, a topic which has previously been largely ignored in favor of other, trendier concerns. This focus has provided new magnification on nursing home abuse and the ensuing lawsuits.

Montrose Nursing Home Answers to State

In 2012, the California Attorney General Harris said she would be paying closer attention to the cases of elder neglect and abuse, and cracking down on the nursing homes that allowed these crimes to happen.

This year, she’s made good on that claim. The State of California recently took the Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre in the Montrose subdivision of L.A. to court for involuntary manslaughter charges, following the 2014 death of a burn victim being cared for in one of their many facilities.

The evidence of delayed emergency care, falsified records, and other forms of neglect made a clear case, according to Harris, and the trial is ongoing despite the massive costs involved with an elder abuse case.

California Laws Pertaining to Elder Abuse

For those who face the very real possibility of being a resident in one of Los Angeles’ many nursing homes soon, the good news is that Harris and attorneys like her are backed by a solid group of laws that can, if leaned on more often, result in dramatic change across the industry.

The state currently has laws that address areas of elder abuse that include:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Exploitation and Financial Abuse

Previously, there was a two-year statute of limitations on filing an elder abuse lawsuit. This timeline was flexible in the cases of mental incapacitation, or, in the event of crimes such as emotional abuse, if the ramifications of the abuse did not become apparent until after the two-year limit.

However, in recent years, California passed the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, which increased the statute of limitations to a full three years, thus helping elders and their caregivers to overcome issues such as personal unwillingness to complain or ask for help.

In the event of financial abuse, which could include charges against family members, the statute of limitations extends to four years. Wrongful death cases must be filed within a single year, though that limitation is also flexible in the event of the death of the initial filing party.

Reporting Elder Abuse

Filing claims often starts with the initial report, and for families that aren’t able to reach the proper authorities, or who suspect that their complaints to the nursing facility aren’t being taken seriously, there is a law that requires the APS (Adult Protective Services) to maintain a 24-hour hotline. These hotlines are in place for each county.

Additionally, any caretakers of elders are required by law to report signs of abuse. This includes doctors and nurses, but also members of the clergy, in-home caretakers, and any staff at nursing home facilities. According to the California Welfare and Institutions Code, any individual in any of these roles who fails to report signs of elder abuse is committing a crime, and could be convicted of elder abuse

For family members who’ve seen first hand the abuse that can be suffered by their elderly relatives in nursing home facilities, the new focus on these cases by the California Attorney General is a hopeful march towards better care in the future.

 

Sources:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/nursing-homes/article35833491.html

 

http://downtownlalaw.com/Legal-Guide/Elder-Abuse-Attorney-Lawsuit.pdf

 

 

 

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