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Family Members And Compensation For Elder Abuse

Elder abuse at the hand of caregivers is an unfortunate occurrence in many nursing homes in Florida and Georgia. Fortunately, the laws in these states provide a way for an abused or neglected elderly person to seek compensation, including punitive damages, against the perpetrator of the abuse. Sometimes, the elderly person may have a family member who learns of the abuse or neglect after it happens and is understandably very upset about it. Can a family member who feels this way receive compensation for pain and suffering because of how learning of the abuse affects them?

Before a person can file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for an injury, he must have what is referred to as “standing”. Standing is the legal requirement that the person who suffered or will suffer the harm be the plaintiff in the case. If the person who suffered the harm dies, then another plaintiff from a group of people allowed under each state’s law may file a lawsuit to get compensated for the person’s death. Family members may assist the elderly person in filing the lawsuit, but the lawsuit would be in the elderly person’s name, and any compensation awarded would legally belong to him.

Generally speaking, the compensation received in an elder abuse claim is to compensate for the injuries suffered by the person injured in the nursing home’s care. Therefore, any compensation for pain and suffering would be for the pain and suffering the victim endured as a result of the abuse in the nursing home. However, if an elderly person dies after being abused or neglected, their family members may file a wrongful death claim seeking damages, and they can seek compensation for the pain and suffering endured by losing a loved one, especially under such conditions.

If a family member witnesses the actual abuse of the elderly person at the hands of a caregiver, the family member may have a claim for the negligent infliction of emotional distress. However, both Florida and Georgia generally require a physical impact of injury in order for a plaintiff to receive compensation for emotional distress. There are only a few exceptions to this requirement for a physical impact.

Unfortunately, not all abusers of elderly people are strangers. Family members or others who are supposed to take care of elderly people are often their abusers as well. In many cases the abuse can be financial, with family members transferring assets and otherwise misappropriating the elderly person’s money. If an elderly person’s guardian, trustee or person with power of attorney misappropriated any money awarded to the elderly person following a civil lawsuit, the guardian or trustee can also be criminally prosecuted and held civilly liable for the misappropriation.

Let Us Assist You with Your Case

If you have a family member residing in a nursing home and you suspect present or past elder abuse, you should contact the relevant authorities and consult a personal injury attorney for a consultation on how to proceed.  The skilled Florida and Georgia personal counsel at Gillette Law, P.A. is eager to meet with you for a free consultation  and provide you with professional assistance.

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