Learning that a parent or relative has been abused can be extremely stressful. That’s especially true if you find out that the abuse was carried out by a person who was supposed to be caring for them. In this article about elder abuse compensation claims, we’ll show you how you could claim compensation on behalf of a loved one if they’ve been abused in a care home, nursing home or any other type of care setting.
To help clarify your options, we’re happy to offer a no-obligation consultation on the phone so you can discuss your claim with a specialist. You’ll be offered free legal advice and could be partnered with a personal injury lawyer from our panel. If they agree to take on the claim, it will be dealt with on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means that unless your loved one is compensated, there won’t be any legal fees to pay.
Call us today on 0800 652 1345 to learn more or read on for more information about elder abuse claims.
What is elderly abuse?
Elderly abuse or neglect is where somebody that holds a position of trust (or an organisation) causes an elderly person to be harmed or distressed. This can be caused by deliberate acts of abuse or a failure to provide the correct level of care.
Examples of elder abuse that could lead to a compensation claim include:
- Physical abuse – this can include the elderly person being slapped, hit, pushed, restrained or locked in a room.
- Emotional abuse – including when the carer shouts, threatens, ignores or uses hurtful words towards the elderly person.
- Abandonment – where the elderly person is left alone for long periods and their care requirements are not dealt with.
- Neglect – where the elderly person’s needs are not considered. This can include withholding medication, food or access to healthcare.
- Financial abuse – this can include items of personal property or money being stolen from the elderly person. It can also include the forging of cheques, taking bank cards or making changes to a will or life insurance policy.
- Sexual abuse – where the elderly person is forced to participate in or watch sexual acts.
Proving elder abuse or neglect can be very tricky, especially if the person suffers from memory problems caused by conditions like dementia. For that reason, we’d always suggest taking on specialist legal representation to try and improve the chances of winning an elder abuse compensation claim.
Can I claim compensation for elderly abuse?
Due to the complexity of elder abuse compensation claims, our solicitors need to check that there is a reasonable chance of success before agreeing to accept them. As part of their initial checks, therefore, your solicitor will try to confirm that:
- The defendant owed the claimant a legal duty of care (this will usually always be the case in care home claims); and
- The defendant abused or neglected the claimant; and
- The claimant was injured or made ill as a result of the abuse or neglect.
As mentioned, elder abuse claims can be complex and difficult to prove. If your claim is taken on by a personal injury solicitor on our panel, they’ll try to provide as much proof to support the claim as possible. We’ll review what types of proof could be helpful shortly.
Can I claim for elder abuse on behalf of a loved one?
Legally, adults can take legal action on their own. However, if your loved one does not have the ability to claim alone, they may be represented by a friend, relative or responsible adult.
A specialist will need to confirm that the claimant lacks the capacity to deal with matters themselves (in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005). You’ll also need to apply to become a litigation friend. Our solicitors can help with both stages.
Once approved as a litigation friend, you can instruct a solicitor in the normal way. Of course, all decisions will be based on the claimant’s best interests.
If the claim has a successful outcome, the amount awarded as compensation will need to be verified as fair by a court. The funds will then be placed in a trust account with the court who’ll need written requests from you before any funds are released.
If you’d like more information on how to represent a loved one in an elder abuse compensation claim, please call today.
Common signs of elderly abuse
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already got concerns about your loved one’s welfare. Some of the following could all indicate elder abuse is taking place:
- Injuries including bruises, pressure sores, cuts and broken bones.
- Signs of confusion, depression or anxiety.
- Withdrawal – where your loved one seems to distance themselves from family or friends.
- Poor hygiene standards.
- Unexplained financial transactions or missing money.
- Weight loss or malnourishment.
- Unexplained illnesses or signs that prescribed medication hasn’t been taken.
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home or care home, please speak to a member of our team for free advice on what to do next.
What to do if you suspect elderly abuse
If your loved one has told you that they are being abused or you suspect they are, there are some steps you could take. Firstly, you should stay calm and listen carefully to what is said, be sympathetic and tell your loved one that they’ve done the right thing in telling you and that the abuse was not their fault.
Then the next step might be to inform somebody about your concerns. This might be a manager in a care home, social services (the local authority) or even the police. You should not confront the alleged abuser at this stage as it could jeopardise any proceedings against them.
Importantly, the steps listed could lead to disciplinary action, additional training or criminal proceedings. They won’t lead to compensation for your loved one’s suffering though. The only way that will happen is if you take legal action against the organisation responsible for the provision of care. We would suggest that you call our team for free legal advice on doing so at your earliest opportunity.
How much compensation for elderly abuse?
The level of compensation awarded for elderly abuse depends on the extent of suffering the claimant has endured. Firstly, an independent medical expert will try to ascertain the extent of any injuries by examining the claimant and talking to them about their injuries.
In addition to any compensation for physical injuries, your solicitor might also secure damages to cover:
- Psychological injuries – such as PTSD, anxiety and distress.
- The cost of any remedial medical treatment.
- Loss of earnings and care costs if you needed to take time off to support your loved one.
- Travel costs including the costs associated with moving the claimant to another care home.
- The cost of mobility aids and devices to help your loved one deal with any long-term injuries resulting from elder abuse.
Your solicitor will work hard to get a full understanding of the impact of your loved one’s injuries. They will use this information to help them calculate how much compensation for elderly abuse should be awarded.
Providing proof for elder abuse compensation claims
Nursing homes and care homes will usually forward any elderly abuse claims to their legal team or insurance provider. This will typically mean that your allegation of abuse will be flatly denied from the outset and you’ll need to supply proof to substantiate your case.
The types of proof that can help include:
- Personal statements. The claimant in the case may be asked to explain how they’ve suffered and when the elderly abuse happened.
- Correspondence. If you raised concerns about your loved one’s treatment, any emails or letters you received in response may help to establish a timeline of abuse.
- Witness statements. Your solicitor may also ask you and other visitors to provide a statement about any concerns or signs of elderly abuse that you spotted.
- Photographic proof. If you took pictures of any visible injuries at the time your loved one was abused, your solicitor may use them to help prove the level of suffering endured.
- Medical records. In addition to those photographs, the claimant’s medical records will be requested to check for any diagnosed injuries that cannot be explained.
- Video footage. Some people who have concerns about the abuse of an old person install spycams in their loved one’s room to try and prove who was carrying out the abuse. If you have any such footage, please discuss it with your solicitor.
You don’t need to have all of the proof listed here before you get in touch. Anything you have will be helpful but if there’s any further proof needed, your solicitor will try to secure it if the elder abuse compensation claim proceeds.
Elder abuse compensation claim time limits
In the UK, personal injury claims have a 3-year limitation period that usually begins from the date of an accident. However, things aren’t as clear-cut with elder abuse claims so the time limit may begin from the date you found out about the abuse (the date of knowledge).
If your loved one doesn’t have the mental capacity to take action for themselves, the time limit will not apply at all and you can claim at any time. Should they regain their mental capacity, a 3-year time limit will start from the date that a doctor confirms that’s the case.
If your loved one has died, you can still claim. The 3 years will begin from either the date of death or the date you found out about the abuse if this is later.
To try and ensure that the claim doesn’t become statute-barred, it’s usually best to seek legal advice as soon as possible. That should allow plenty of time for your solicitor to collect all of the proof needed before filing the claim.
No Win, No Fee claims
Our panel of solicitors will always try to reduce the stress involved with making an elderly abuse claim. One of the ways they can do this is to work on a No Win, No Fee basis if the claim is taken on. That means they’ll take on most of the financial risks involved because:
- You won’t pay legal fees upfront.
- There are no legal fees payable if the elder abuse claim is lost.
- You’ll only need to pay for your solicitor’s work if compensation is paid.
Before your claim proceeds, your solicitor will send you a contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This will explain that a success fee of up to 25 per cent of any compensation awarded will be deducted. This fee is legally capped and it pays for your solicitor’s time and expenses.
Once the CFA has been signed, work will begin on your case. Your solicitor’s main goals are to:
- Contact the defendant or their insurers to let them know you are claiming.
- Collate any proof needed to show abuse of an old person took place.
- Attempt to contest any objections raised by the defendant.
- Send you regular updates about how your claim is progressing.
- Try to secure the right level of compensation for your loved one.
To check if you could make an elder abuse claim with a No Win, No Fee solicitor, please call today.
Start an elder abuse compensation claim today
If an elderly parent or loved one has been abused in a care setting and you’d like to claim compensation on their behalf, please call us on 0800 652 1345 today. You can ask any questions you think of and one of our specially trained advisors will offer free legal advice.
Should your claim be accepted and you decide to proceed, you won’t need to pay any legal fees upfront. In fact, you’ll only pay your solicitor for their work if compensation is awarded.
You can call or connect to our live chat service if you need any additional information about elder abuse compensation claims, or claim your free consultation here.