Nursing Home Abuse in Massachusetts
In 2011, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs received 18,000 reports of elder abuse—and countless more cases go unreported annually. If you or someone you love may be a victim of elder abuse or nursing home abuse, then you have legal options. A Massachusetts nursing home abuse attorney can help you stop the abuse and get justice against your abuser.
Recognizing Massachusetts Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can take many shapes and forms. According to the National Committee for Prevention of Elder Abuse, "Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person." It can include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Psychological abuse
- Financial abuse
Nursing home abuse, in particular, occurs when a senior or vulnerable adult is abused by caretakers in a long-term care facility, nursing home or assisted living facility.
Each type of abuse includes its own specific signs, but family members should be alert for seniors who have unexplained injuries and bruises, weight loss, a change in finances, malnourishment, anxiety and fear, and unexplained changes to a senior's living arrangements.
Addressing Massachusetts Nursing Home Abuse
If you know or suspect that someone is the victim of nursing home abuse, several immediate steps must be taken.
Above all else, ensure the physical and mental safety of the abuse victim. This may include temporarily relocating the victim or having someone stay with them to ensure the abuser is not left alone with the victim.
Next, you'll want to contact police in the town where the abuse has occurred, Massachusetts protective services or the Massachusetts Elder Abuse Hot Line at 800-922-2275. You should also contact a Massachusetts elder abuse attorney.
Law enforcement and your Massachusetts elder abuse lawyer will pursue two separate types of legal action against the abuser.
Police will investigate the allegations and, if there's sufficient evidence, press criminal charges against the abuser. The abuser can respond to those charges with a guilty or not guilty plea. If the abuser pleads not guilty, a criminal trial will occur. If the abuser pleads guilty or is found guilty at trial, the abuser can be fined, put on probation or sentenced to prison.
A Massachusetts nursing home abuse attorney can pursue a civil lawsuit against the abuser on behalf of the victim and the victim's family. A civil lawsuit can be filed regardless of the outcome of the criminal investigation and trial.
Reasons to Hire a Massachusetts Elder Abuse Attorney
There are several reasons to hire a Massachusetts elder abuse lawyer even if police are already investigating the abuse:
- Communicate with law enforcement: Sometimes law enforcement authorities don't take abuse reports seriously. When you hire nursing home abuse attorneys, then your attorneys can talk to law enforcement, encourage them to pursue the case and help ensure they have access to witnesses and evidence.
- File a civil lawsuit: Even if prosecutors charge the abuser with a crime, any penalty—such as a fine—is paid to the government, not the abuse victim. Only a civil lawsuit will allow the victim to collect compensation for his or her abuse.
- Peace of mind: Finally, hiring nursing home abuse attorneys in Massachusetts allows the lawyers to focus on getting justice while the victim focuses on recovering from the abuse. You'll have the comfort of knowing that your attorney is looking after your legal interests, making sure police are following up with the abuse reports and that a civil lawsuit is being prepared.
Find & Hire Massachusetts Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
You must act quickly if you or a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or elder abuse. Make sure the abuse victim is safe, notify law enforcement authorities and then hire a Massachusetts nursing home abuse lawyer.
If you need help finding an attorney, you've come to the right website. Attorneys.com offers a fast and free service that can connect you with Massachusetts nursing home abuse attorneys in your area. Whether you live in Boston, Worchester, Springfield or elsewhere in the state, we can match you with a local elder abuse lawyer. To use our free service, call us at 877-913-7222 or fill out the form on this page. After answering a few simple questions, we'll quickly connect you with an attorney in your area.