How to Prevent Elder Abuse & Neglect

A guide by the San Diego elder abuse attorneys of Berman & Riedel, LLP

Our San Diego elder abuse attorneys are well aware that elder abuse occurs regularly within facilities that are entrusted to provide care for our elderly and dependent loved ones. While many good care facilities exist, other care facilities are plagued with problems because they are run as “profit centers,” where patient care is often overlooked in favor of maximizing the bottom-line.

The first step our California elder abuse lawyers recommend in preventing elder abuse and neglect within care facilities such as Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) and/or Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE), is to be able to recognize the Signs of Elder Abusbedsorese and Neglect. Keep in mind that a nursing home resident or patient may not have obvious signs of abuse such as open bedsores, broken bones, and/or cuts and bruises. Rather, if an elderly resident of a SNF or RCFE is being neglected or abused by their caretakers, the person may demonstrate more subtle changes such as becoming withdrawn and no longer wanting to participate in their favorite activities, or he or she may have a noticeable change in appetite, sleeping habits or demeanor.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home or other elderly facility and you live close by, our San Diego elder abuse attorneys encourage visiting as often as possible. Take notice of the general hygienic conditions (common areas are clean, residents or patients are dressed in clean clothes, etc.), the dispositions of the residents or patients as well as the caretakers, and the overall "vibe" of the facility (residents or patients seem content and cared-for).

You may not live close enough to visit often, but regular phone calls to the facility to inquire about the condition of your loved one is important. This helps you stay informed about the resident or patient, and it also lets the staff at the facility know that you care enough to make sure your loved one is being treated with dignity and is receiving the care he or she needs.

If you suspect that a patient or resident's needs are not being met, or if you have concerns about the conditions of the facility and/or the treatment of its residents or patients, you need to be proactive. Before finding a California elder neglect lawyer, try talking to the staff about your concerns, and ask to speak to the facility administrator about what you believe could be signs of elder abuse or neglect, or speak with the person's physician. Sometimes a facility cannot or will not work with you to resolve problems of abuse or neglect committed against its residents. Under such circumstances, your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman's Office can help provide you with information and could also work with you and the nursing home, Skilled Nursing Care Facility or Residential Care Facility for the Elderly to make everything right, and to protect other residents or patients from becoming victims of elder abuse and neglect.

Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to prevent elder abuse and neglect from continuing in a facility is to file a formal complaint against the facility. This can be done by reporting the situation to the Departement of Health Services (for SNF patients) or the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing (for RCFE residents).

In instances of abuse or neglect that have resulted in serious injury or even the death of a loved one, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. Contact a San Diego elder neglect attorney at our firm to discuss the circumstances of your case.


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Elder Neglect by Healthcare Corporation
Jean’s mother was a victim of neglect while at a skilled nursing facility, resulting in surgery that she did not survive. Berman was there to listen and provide support that the client needed.
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Michele’s mother suffered a wrongful death at a California nursing home. William M. Berman and the attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP helped litigate the case with successful results.
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Ginny suffered a family loss, and Berman lawyers handled her legal needs with compassion and reassurance, allowing her to feel safe and at-ease through the entire process.
Serious Injury at Skilled Nursing Facility
Ira’s wife suffered a traumatic brain injury due to negligence at a skilled nursing facility, and our team of attorneys worked hard to ensure that Ira’s wife and his family received the compensation that they rightfully deserved.
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Below are answers to common questions people have about personal injury cases and working with a lawyer. During your initial consultation, we will be happy to answer questions that are particular to your case.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

The attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP, accept cases on a contingency-fee basis. This type of agreement means you do not pay any attorneys’ fees out-of-pocket for legal representation. Attorneys’ fees are also contingent on the outcome of your case.

You benefit from legal representation in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of a settlement or jury award. We will only recover a fee if you recover compensation.

Can You Tell Me How Much My Case Is Worth?

There is no way to determine the exact value of a personal injury case, especially early in your case. However, an experienced attorney can give you an estimated range based on their experience with similar cases.

There are many factors that may influence the value of your case, such as:

  • Your total financial or economic damages
  • The severity of your injuries
  • The impact of your injuries on your daily life
  • The strength of your case
  • Whether you share fault for your accident
  • Insurance policy limits 

Some damages are easy to calculate, such as lost wages and medical bills. Calculating the value of diminished earnings for the rest of your life or future medical needs; however, may require the help of experts. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering have no intrinsic financial value. These damages are challenging to calculate. 

If your case goes before a jury, you may potentially be able to recover more than you could through a settlement. However, this introduces a new element of risk: the jury. The circumstances of your accident and even how sympathetic you or the defendant are can influence the outcome.

During your consultation, and throughout your case, we will help you understand how these factors influence your case. We will also work tirelessly to document the value of all your damages and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

Will My Case Go to Trial?

The vast majority of cases are resolved by reaching a settlement agreement outside of court. Very few personal injury cases actually go to trial, but it is more likely if the facts in your case are in dispute, a legal issue is being contested, or you have a high-value case.

An experienced lawyer will build your case as if it will go to trial from the beginning. The stronger your case and evidence, the more likely a fair settlement will be reached.

How Do I Know If I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If your case involves mostly property damage or minor injuries, you likely do not need a lawyer to handle a claim with the insurance company. The more serious your injuries, or the more complex your case, the more important it becomes to seek experienced legal counsel.

Remember that the insurance company is not on your side, even if the insurance adjuster seems sympathetic and you receive a settlement offer. If you are being blamed for your accident or sustained serious injury, a lawyer will help you protect your rights and build the strongest case possible. This includes calculating the full value of your current and future losses.

Legal representation is also vital if your case involves a complex area of law such as elder abuse or neglect, premises liability, commercial vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or serious work-related accidents. Determining liability, navigating decades of legal precedence, and interpreting specific statutes in these cases is best done with years of relevant legal experience.

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While our law office is located in San Diego, Berman & Riedel, LLP, accepts cases throughout the state of California.

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