Institutional Abuse: How to Identify It and Take Action
Institutional abuse happens when an institution, such as an elder care home, abuses their discretion and power by mistreating individuals. The victims can be elderly, minors, or disabled individuals under the care of people that have power over them. This is unfortunately a growing concern in the United States and source of litigation. Abuse could take the form of physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and/or negligence. Caretakers, doctors, nurses, and staff can be held accountable if they are found to have mistreated people who have put their trust in them. Additionally, a facility, its owners, and employees that have let this abuse continue without stepping up can also be liable. If you or a loved one has been the victim of institutional abuse, contacting an experienced attorney to help you seek compensation for your damages can be advantageous and is well-advised.
How Do You Know if a Loved One is Being Abused?
- Physical Abuse: If you see bruises, cuts, or other injuries that cannot be explained, this might be a sign that your loved one is being mistreated. Although you would never want to think that this could happen, there have been cases of this abuse being done to people.
- Sexual Abuse: People may not always be forthcoming or even realize that they are being sexually abused. However, this is unfortunately something that can occur. If you see anyone in power crossing the line or a loved one hinting at this, it could be a sign that sexual abuse is happening. New York’s legislature is currently updating its law regarding adult sexual abuse, such as allowing victims of child sexual abuse to file suit, even if the statute of limitations has expired.
- Emotional Abuse: Oftentimes, elderly people choose family members to take care of their well-being and finances when they reach a certain age. Family members can be put into a position of trust that can pull on someone’s heartstrings for their own benefit and not within the best interests of your loved one. In an elderly care facility, this can be easier to do, as victims can be distanced from other family members and normal social interaction.
- Financial Abuse: Caretakers, guardians, and people with power of attorney are all people that could abuse this power. When you see odd charges, money transfers, or other expenses that don’t make sense when someone else is in charge, this could be an indicator that someone is taking advantage of your loved one and their finances.
- Negligence: When people choose someone to take care of their well-being, whether it’s for their health, way of living, or finances, they should rightfully expect competent care. When you see that someone in your loved one’s care is not acting up to expected standards, even if they aren’t doing it purposefully, there could be negligence.
Why Contacting an Attorney Will Help
If you are being abused or suspect that a loved one needs help, contacting an attorney is recommended as he or she will know the steps to take for legal action. Whether it’s an elderly person, someone with diminished mental capacity, or a child, you can stand up for their rights and help them seek compensation for any abuse that they may have had to endure. An attorney will also help you make sure that your case is filed within the statute of limitations.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of institutional abuse, the compassionate attorneys at Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. can help. Please contact us as soon as possible at 212-227-4000 or message us on our website here.