As our loved ones age, many families sought caregiver’s help or long-term care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, our elderly family members and friends do not always receive the attention they merit. Relatives, friends, doctors, caregivers, or elder facilities can abandon our elderly. When this happens, our Green Bay elder abandonment attorney can assist you.
If your loved one has been harmed and abandoned, there are legal options available to you and your family. And you may be entitled to compensation. Gage-Michaels Law Firm from Green Bay, Wisconsin, has the resources and experience to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.
Caring for an elderly relative frequently requires full attention. If your family, caregivers, or elder institutions fail to provide basic care and assistance, you may file a lawsuit against them. Dial our number today and allow us to provide tailored-fit legal advice.
Why do I need an Elder Abandonment Lawyer in Wisconsin?
You must seek legal services with an elder abandonment attorney in Green Bay, WI, right away if you discover that a trusted caregiver or a nursing home has neglected an elderly family member or friend. In Wisconsin, elder abandonment can constitute a crime.
Our Green Bay elder abandonment attorney at Gage-Michaels Law Firm can thoroughly investigate the incident to ascertain what occurred. In contrast to criminal court, civil courts hear lawsuits involving elder abandonment. Our top priority is to prove elder abuse and ensure that those responsible are given legal penalties.
Your loved one may be entitled to compensation from the caregiver, hospital, assisted care facility, or anyone liable. Any responsible party did not uphold their legal duty to your loved one in the presence of evidence of abandonment. This carelessness or malicious wrongdoing results in civil liability.
If you are interested to learn more about how our elder abandonment attorney in Green Bay, WI, can take over your case and give you better chances for positive results, give us a call now!
What is Elder Abandonment?
Elder abandonment is defined as the deliberate and permanent desertion of a person over the age of 65. The victim might be abandoned in their own home, the home of a relative or a friend, a medical facility, a nursing home, or a public area. Neglect, abuse of any kind—physical, emotional/psychological, or financial exploitation—and abandonment frequently go hand in hand.
In Wisconsin, abandonment of the elderly is a form of elder neglect. There are few statistics regarding elder abandonment because many cases go unreported. In addition, abandonment and elder neglect are sometimes used interchangeably. Elder neglect is the failure or refusal to fulfill one’s responsibilities or obligations to an older person.
Abandonment of the elderly can take many different forms, including
1. Refusing to pay for treatment
Abandonment occurs when a family member responsible for paying for an elderly person’s housing refuses to continue paying or find an alternative. A red flag may also be raised if the older person has the financial means to pay, but a family member refuses to pay for the elder’s consistent and safe care.
2. Refusing to locate suitable and secure housing
A senior who resides in an unsafe environment requires alternative housing. A family member who refuses to locate suitable and secure housing for an elderly relative abandons the senior. Also, if an older adult in assisted living must leave because the facility can no longer meet their needs, the family is responsible for locating alternative housing.
3. Refusing to provide an elderly person with adequate healthcare or basic needs
Although each state defines abandonment differently, it typically includes failing to provide for a vulnerable adult’s healthcare or basic needs. Examples include failing to provide transportation to important medical appointments, ignoring healthcare, and disregarding medical needs. Additionally, the primary caregiver is responsible for providing food, hygiene, hydration, and shelter.
4. Refusing to make healthcare decisions for another
If a senior clearly lacks decisional capacity, someone must be responsible for assisting them with important healthcare decisions. Even if the elder does not have a medical power of attorney or guardian, a family member must assist with decision-making so the elder can consent to surgery or other urgent medical treatment.
If you discover that an elderly loved one or a friend has been abandoned by a caregiver or an assisted living facility, you need to get in touch with a Green Bay elder abandonment attorney as soon as possible.
Causes of Elder Abandonment in Green Bay
Elderly adults are abandoned due to various reasons and circumstances. The following are some of the reasons why family members abandon an elderly person:
- Financial issues: The primary caregiver can no longer financially support the aging adult and abandons them.
- Family conflict: The primary caregiver has a contentious relationship with an elderly individual, does not want to care for them and does not feel obligated to do so.
- Caregiver burnout: The primary caregiver is exhausted and believes they can no longer provide the necessary care. Some seniors may require 24-hour care, but there may be no resources to assist family caregivers.
Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abandonment
Abandonment of elders is not always obvious at first glance. Some of the following may be signs and symptoms of abandonment in an elderly person:
- Alone, looking lost, fearful, or confused.
- Behaving erratically when alone, calling out someone else’s name, or searching for someone
- Manifesting signs of self-neglect
- Has not collected their mail or appeared at their usual locations and times
- Appearing malnourished or dehydrated
- Has poor hygiene
If you see an elderly person exhibiting the aforementioned signs, he or she may have a medical condition or have been left behind by a caregiver. Call the police in your area and contact an elder abandonment attorney in Green Bay, WI, to determine your best action.
What Happens Legally When Elders are Abandoned?
The person responsible for the care of an elderly person has likely violated the law. Each state has its definition of abandonment, which may also be referred to as neglect. Abandonment can further be defined as either willful or passive, depending on the state.
Below are the possible scenarios that may happen after discovering elderly neglect. It is highly recommended that you reach out to a Green Bay, WI, elder abandonment attorney to help you navigate the process.
Another member of the family pursues legal action.
Other concerned family members may take legal action against the abandoner. If found guilty, the caregiver may face fines or imprisonment. It is common for a family member to accuse another family member of neglect and petition the court for guardianship if there are concerns about the individual’s capacity. Care-related family disputes can drag on for months in the court system.
The court appoints a professional guardian.
The court may appoint a professional guardian when an abandoned elderly person lacks the mental capacity to care for themselves, and no other family member steps forward. Professional guardians charge for their services, so the elderly individual must have sufficient funds to cover the cost.
The state takes over.
When a case involving an elderly person is referred to the state guardianship office, the victim typically has few assets, and the situation is dire. Many state guardianship divisions are overwhelmed and have waiting lists. The office of the state’s attorney general may pursue legal action against the person who abandons an elderly person.
Liability in an Elder Abandonment Lawsuit
It can be difficult to undergo the elderly abandonment claims process. The abandoner may be able to mount a strong defense because elder victims are frequently unable or unwilling to demonstrate how they have been abandoned and harmed.
If the caregiver for your loved one was an independent contractor, your parent or grandparent would seek sole liability. However, if the caregiver was an employee of a company that employs and provides in-home caregivers, your loved one may also be able to file a lawsuit against this company. As a business that provides a personal service, it is responsible for employing well-trained and moral care professionals.
Your loved one might be entitled to compensation if the company hired or retained an employee who exhibited signs of being unprincipled, negligent, or abusive. Reach out to an elder abandonment attorney in Green Bay WI to help establish a strong personal injury case.
Elder Abandonment and Statute of Limitation
According to Wisconsin elder law, you must file a claim for damages within a certain amount of time after the elder neglect occurred or from the time it should have been reasonably discovered. Since these dates are frequently contested, it is crucial to speak with a Green Bay WI elder abandonment attorney as soon as you have reason to believe that an elderly relative may have been abandoned.
Elder Abandonment Compensation Claims
Depending on the specifics of the case and the type of action taken, you and your family may be able to recover a wide range of damages, such as
- Hospital and medical expenses, especially if the elder is in poor health condition.
- Distress and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional pain
- Long-term care or home care
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Loss of friendship
- Wrongful death
What to Do If You Suspect an Elder Abandonment in Green Bay
Anyone can abandon an elderly person – family, friends, caregivers, or complete strangers. As a result, it’s crucial to monitor your loved one’s health and to act if you suspect elder neglect, such as abandonment or of any kind.
If you suspect elder abandonment:
- Call 911 in an emergency: Call the police or 911 if you suspect that an elderly person has been abandoned and is in immediate danger
- Seek medical assistance: Abandoned seniors likely suffer from poor health conditions, injuries, and other medical issues.
- Check-in with your loved one: When gently prodded, some elderly people who may be reluctant or afraid to talk about their elder neglect experiences may open up to you.
- Keep in regular contact with your loved one: Elderly socially isolated people are more likely to be neglected and abandoned.
- Take accusations seriously: When elderly people tell loved ones about being abused or neglected, too many people fail to believe them. Do not take allegations of elder abuse lightly. Instead, make sure your elderly loved one receives the assistance they require.
- Use available resources: Inform the police, the nursing home ombudsman, or the local Adult Protective Services (APS) office about any suspicions of abandonment.
- Call a Green Bay WI elder abandonment attorney immediately: If your suspicions are correct, you need strong legal representation to fight for justice and fair compensation.
Call our Competent Green Bay Elder Abandonment Now!
Reporting elder abandonment is only the first step in seeking justice for a neglected elder loved one. The civil justice system in Wisconsin provides victims and their families with an additional avenue to pursue justice and monetary compensation for damages. If you suspect a loved one has been abandoned, neglected, abused, or exploited financially, you should consult with an elder abandonment attorney in Green Bay WI immediately.
The personal injury attorneys at Gage-Michaels Law Firm are committed to assisting victims of elder abandonment and their families in recovering the financial security necessary to cover medical expenses and other damages and to restore their lives. Our Wisconsin law firm is guided by compassion. Your elder abuse case will receive our firm’s sympathetic ear and focused attention.
Find out how we can assist you by contacting our Green Bay law firm today!