When choosing a nursing or care home for an elderly relative, in the end, you must put your faith and trust in the home’s staff. In most cases, your loved one will receive the care, treatment and attention they need. However, despite increased safeguarding measures these days, elder abuse can unfortunately still happen. If your loved one has suffered from elder abuse, this guide will explain when they could be compensated for any physical or mental harm they’ve endured and explain how you could manage an elder abuse claim on behalf of your loved one.
To help, we offer a free initial consultation where the claim will be reviewed by a specialist advisor. They’ll offer legal advice about how to proceed and could refer you to one of our personal injury solicitors if your claim is strong enough. So that you don’t need to worry about losing money on legal fees, all elder abuse compensation claims are handled on a No Win No Fee basis.
To find out if you’re eligible to claim compensation for the abuse of an elderly relative please read on. Alternatively, to speak to a specialist about your claim right away, please call 0800 6524 881.
Table of contents
- Types Of Elder Abuse
- Signs Of Elder Abuse
- Am I Eligible To Make An Elder Abuse Claim?
- How Much Compensation For Elder Abuse Could I Claim?
- Claiming Compensation On Behalf Of An Elderly Care Home Resident
- Evidence To Support An Elder Abuse Claim
- Elder Abuse Claim Time Limits
- Starting The Elder Abuse Claims Process
Elder abuse occurs when somebody in a position of trust causes the elderly person distress. The actions that constitute abuse or neglect may be deliberate or caused by a failure to provide the care that’s needed.
Suspecting that an elderly relative is being abused in a care home or nursing home can be truly horrible. That’s especially true if they aren’t able to communicate their concerns with you as well as they used to.
Importantly, elder abuse claims can be based on physical, mental, financial or sexual abuse. Essentially, any form of neglect or abuse could mean you’re eligible to claim compensation on behalf of your loved one.
Some examples of elderly abuse that could lead to an elderly abuse claim include:
- Not providing assistance for an elderly person who has mobility problems.
- Failure to provide food or drink at regular intervals.
- Shouting, screaming or swearing at an elderly person.
- Failure to help an elderly person to keep themselves clean.
- Pushing, hitting or pulling an elderly person.
- Failure to administer prescribed medications when needed.
- Failure to move immobile residents regularly (leading to pressure sores).
- Convincing an elderly person to hand over money or bank cards to steal from them.
- Violating an elderly person’s right to dignity and privacy.
- Lack of regular checks and supervision.
How an elderly person deals with abuse may differ from person to person. For many, the fear of the abuse getting worse if they tell someone often means they won’t say anything at all.
However, there are some signs that could indicate that your loved one is being abused including:
- They appear withdrawn, confused, anxious or depressed.
- Unexplained scars, cuts, bruises or burns.
- They appear dehydrated, underfed or dirty.
- Recent changes in spending or banking patterns.
- You’ve noticed pressure sores.
- Your loved one appears to have been isolated or prevented from contacting you.
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused by a care worker, social worker, doctor or nurse, you should speak with them to try and find out more. Obviously, getting to the truth can be difficult with elderly relatives who are suffering from dementia and similar conditions as they may not remember everything that happened. Try to convince your loved one that they can trust you to try and confirm what happened.
Our solicitors will always try to help where it’s clear an elderly person is eligible to claim compensation. To assess this they’ll check whether:
- A care provider has breached their legal duty of care towards an elderly person; and
- The elderly person has suffered in some way as a result of their treatment.
Importantly, care homes are businesses that might have legal teams in place to try and discourage claims from proceeding. Therefore, we strongly believe it’s best to have the support of a specialist personal injury solicitor if you do decide to take action.
If a solicitor on our team agrees to represent your loved one in an elder abuse claim, they’ll work with you to find out as much detail as possible. Essentially, they’ll work as hard as possible to try and secure as much compensation for your loved one as possible.
Usually, elder abuse claims are made against the care provider rather than the individual. That’s because they’ll have a liability insurance policy in place to cover such claims which an individual may not.
However, if the care home had no way of foreseeing the abuse or preventing it, compensation could be sought through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a government scheme that compensates innocent victims of crimes for mental or physical injuries.
Importantly, the crime must have been reported to the police. As such, even though you won’t be able to sue the carer directly, you’ll know that they’ll be punished if found guilty of a crime against your loved one.
Whether you wish to make a personal injury claim or criminal injury claim, our solicitors could help you on a No Win No Fee basis. Please speak to our team to review your options.
Compensation awarded for elder abuse is typically calculated using general and special damages. Each elder abuse claim is assessed on its merits so it’s not possible to say exactly how much your claim might be worth. However, it could include damages to cover:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Depression, anxiety and other forms of mental harm.
- Additional care costs incurred as a result of the abuse.
- Medical expenses.
- Travel expenses.
- Mobility aids if the claimant has been left disabled by the abuse or neglect.
- Other out-of-pocket expenses.
Our compensation calculator provides some guideline figures for a range of injuries for general damages:
Many elderly people are not in a position to represent themselves in legal matters. However, that won’t always prevent a claim from proceeding. If you want to represent a loved one who’s been the victim of abuse in care, you could become their litigation friend.
Our solicitors can help you and, once you’ve been approved as the claimant’s representative, the claim can proceed in the normal way. You’ll discuss everything with the solicitor and make decisions about the claim with your loved one’s interests at heart.
If you believe an elderly relative is being abused, it’s important to remove the risk of it happening again. This might involve changing the care provider or choosing another nursing home. Before claiming compensation for elder abuse, there are some steps you could take that could help your claim. They include:
- Speak to your loved one. As explained earlier, try to find out more about what’s happened by discussing everything. Try to write down as much as possible.
- Complain to the care provider. This should spark an investigation into what’s happened. It will also give you an audit trail of who says what.
- Report the abuse to the police. Any type of elder abuse is likely to be a criminal matter. Reporting the crime is an important step in stopping the perpetrator from hurting anybody else.
- Take photographs. If your loved one has visible injuries, take photos of them during their recovery period.
- Seek legal advice. We believe it’s easier to secure compensation for elder abuse if you speak with a specialist solicitor. Whether you decide to claim or not, we’ll provide free legal advice about your options if you contact our advice centre.
As you may know, there is a 3-year time limit for most personal injury claims in the UK. For claims linked to accidents, the time limit usually begins from the date the claimant was injured. However, for elder abuse claims, this wouldn’t normally be appropriate.
Therefore, the time limit for elder abuse claims would typically begin from the date you found out about the abuse. One exception to this is if your loved one lacks the mental capacity to deal with the claim. In this scenario, the time limit does not apply (unless they regain their mental capacity).
If you or a loved one has been abused in a care setting and would like free advice on claiming compensation for elder abuse, please call our team on 0800 6524 881. We won’t put any pressure on you to take action but we will offer completely free legal advice.
If your claim does proceed, one of our personal injury solicitors will manage everything for you and work on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you’ve got more immediate questions about starting an elder abuse claim, please connect to our free live chat service.