The elderly population in California is vulnerable to all kinds of abuse. Many of our loved ones live in nursing homes, which are trusted to care for their residents appropriately and compassionately. Unfortunately, abuse of all forms is very common. Sexual abuse in nursing homes includes any kind of non-consensual sexual contact by one person to another. It also includes any situation in which a person is incapacitated or otherwise unable to give true consent. If you or a loved one is subjected to this reprehensible conduct, you can seek the assistance of the Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyers at Sharifi Firm in bringing a lawsuit for damages.Protect Your Rights against Sexual Abuse
The elderly in nursing homes are more susceptible to sexual abuse than some other groups because they may rely on their abusers and may not be able to fight back. Some signs of sexual abuse include STDs, an inability to walk or sit normally, and genital pain. Victims of sexual abuse may be able to bring a lawsuit under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA), which was created to protect both elders (those 65 and older) and dependent adults between 18 and 65 years old. The EADACPA protects individuals from all types of abuse, neglect, and other treatment that causes harm.
Damages available under the EADACPA may include past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, and past and future pain and suffering. In an elder abuse case against a health care provider, plaintiffs often can be entitled to an award that is higher than the $250,000 general damages cap for misconduct that is not medical negligence but is considered willful neglect. Attorneys' fees, post-mortem recovery for pain and suffering, and punitive damages may also be available.
To recover punitive damages, a plaintiff's attorney will need to show by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant is liable for abuse or neglect, and its acts or omissions were committed with oppression, fraud, recklessness, or malice. The focus of punitive damages is on the defendant's wrongdoing rather than the plaintiff's injuries, and the amount of a punitive damages award depends on both the defendant's economic status and the egregiousness of the defendant's conduct. Generally, large companies are required to pay greater punitive damages than an individual or smaller company would pay, since only a higher sum will adequately punish the larger company.
When a nursing home employee commits sexual abuse against a resident, the nursing home can be held liable for the employee's abuse by proving:
The nursing home knew that the employee was not fit to serve but employed him or her with a conscious disregard for the residents' health and safety; The employer was personally guilty of oppression, malice, or fraud; or The nursing home ratified or allowed the sexual abuse.
For example, a nursing home could be held liable for hiring as a caregiver someone who had a prior criminal record of committing sexual assault or rape and then went on to sexually abuse a resident.Discuss Your Claim with an Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles
If you put a loved one in a nursing home, you trust that he or she will be well cared for. People who suffer sexual abuse while in the care of a Los Angeles nursing home should consult an experienced injury attorney who can advocate for their rights. Sharifi Firm also represents nursing home abuse victims in Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, and San Bernardino, among other Southern California cities. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us through our online form or call us at (866) 422-7222.