Elder abuse is so common in the United States that it has been called an “epidemic” by some organizations. And much of that abuse occurs in a place whose mission it is to care for the elderly – nursing homes.
At least 10 percent of people 65 and older will be victimized by some type of elder abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which notes that in 2020 more than 15,000 complaints about abuse or neglect were filed with nursing home ombudsman. Many more incidents were not reported.
With older adults comprising about 15 percent of the nation’s population and that percentage on the rise over the years, the number of abuse cases is rising proportionately to numbers that are shocking.
The forms of abuse include physical or sexual abuse, psychological abuse, neglect and financial fraud and exploitation. The DOJ notes this may result in deterioration of health, physical injury and death, depression and suicide.
In a recent legal case, in January 2023, Kline & Specter attorneys won a $19 million jury verdict in a nursing home case involving neglect that led to the death of a resident. The award against a nursing home and its management companies went to the family of a woman who died at the age of 70 after falling and suffering a broken hip, severe malnutrition and a stage IV bedsore. The verdict was the largest in Pennsylvania involving a nursing home since recording of such litigation began in 1994.
But many cases do not result in legal justice for victims. In fact, studies show that most cases of abuse are never reported to authorities for a number of reasons, among them an older person’s fear of retaliation by an offender, shame or embarrassment, dependency on an offender or a victim’s own physical or cognitive limitations.
But cases of abuse or neglect should be reported and exposed. Kline & Specter, with more than 50 attorneys, including five who are also medical doctors – the most of any firm in the nation, has the expertise and resources to help the victims of nursing home abuse and their families. Our firm provides free and confidential case reviews.
We handle cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. For cases outside those states, Kline & Specter works with local attorneys in each state as applicable.