Attorneys for Financial Abuse In Nursing Homes
Did your loved one become the victim of financial abuse? Did it happen while they were living in a nursing home? If so, you should contact the Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers of Peck Ritchey, LLC immediately so we can help you seek justice and compensation.
Elder financial abuse, also called financial exploitation, occurs when a person improperly or illegally uses an older adult’s or a disabled adult’s property, money, or resources for personal gain, profit, or benefit. It happens in nursing homes and assisted living facilities because the patients are typically vulnerable. Many don’t have the mental or physical capacity to stop what’s happening or even to understand or remember these instances. Some might not have family or friends looking out for their well-being or advocating for their rights.
Unfortunately, the people you think you can trust, such as nurses, administrative staff, and even other residents, are typically the ones to commit financial abuse. Peck Ritchey, LLC understands the devastation you and your loved one must feel. You don’t want to see them suffer any further but might not know what steps you should take next to hold the at-fault parties liable.
There are legal options you can pursue. The nursing home financial abuse lawyers of Peck Ritchey, LLC have over 100 years of experience handling cases like yours. You can depend on us to fight by your side until the very end to secure a favorable outcome. Call us at (855) 328-5787 to learn more about our legal services during a free consultation.
What Is Financial Abuse?
Illinois statute § 720 5/17-56 defines financial exploitation as:
- The intentional illegal use of an elderly or disabled person’s assets or resources by a person in a position of trust; or
- Obtaining control over an elderly or disabled person’s property with acts of intimidation or deception.
Anyone could commit this offense against a nursing home resident, but the most common abusers include:
- A doctor, nurse, or another healthcare professional
- An administrative staff member
- A maintenance worker
- A caregiver
- A medical assistant
- Another patient
Financial abuse can happen in many ways. The most common methods include:
- Stealing money or personal property
- Using a credit card without the cardholder’s authorization
- Accessing finances with fraudulent or deceptive tactics
- Using assets without obtaining the owner’s permission first
- Forging signatures on a check or legal document
- Gaining access to money by threatening or instilling fear
- Getting the resident to sign over a deed, power of attorney, or will through coercion, manipulation, or threats
- Promising quality medical attention and services in exchange for property or money
Older adults living in nursing facilities are the perfect targets for various types of abuse. Employees interact with them every day and learn about their personal lives, including details about their finances. That leaves residents open to being taken advantage of by a caregiver they believe has their best interests in mind.
The most common reasons nursing home patients become victims of financial abuse are:
- They’re embarrassed or ashamed to report what happened
- They have a cognitive illness, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Their advanced age means they’re likely to pass away before they can take legal action against their abuser
- They have a lack of knowledge about how to handle money, personal property, and assets
- They’re isolated from friends and family members
- They’re unfamiliar with technological advances, such as online banking and other online services
- Their mental or physical disability prevents them from stopping or avoiding incidents of exploitation
It is upsetting and overwhelming to think anyone would take advantage of an older or disabled adult living in a nursing home. You want to help your loved one get through this traumatic experience but might not know how. The first step you should take is to contact an experienced nursing home financial abuse lawyer from Peck Ritchey, LLC. We can investigate the incident and help your loved one seek compensation for their losses.
Financial Abuse Warning Signs
Financial abuse is much different than physical abuse. There typically aren’t any physical injuries or noticeable warning signs. It doesn’t even cause emotional problems most of the time because the victim doesn’t realize what occurred.
Knowing what to watch out for is critical in situations like this. The most common warning signs that could indicate financial abuse are:
- A lack of adequate care despite paying all nursing home expenses on time and in full
- ATM withdrawals your loved one didn’t make
- Missing personal property, cash, and other belongings
- Unpaid bills
- Canceled checks, bank statements, and other financial documents mailed to unknown addresses
- Nursing home staff showing unusual interest in your relative’s finances
- Transfers or withdrawals going through without the account holder’s approval
- The lack of documentation showing new financial decisions or arrangements
Peck Ritchey, LLC has the experience and knowledge to take on the complexities of a case like this and advocate for your loved one’s rights. Nursing home residents often lack the ability to speak for themselves or stand up against their abusers. It’s vital that you’re able to do that for them.
Once you hire us, we can exhaust all resources to locate the necessary evidence to prove what happened. We won’t give up until we reach a positive outcome in the case.
Pursuing Compensation in a Financial Abuse Case
More than one party could be held liable for financial abuse. Even if you discover that one particular staff member committed the acts, the nursing home could also be at fault for hiring someone who has a criminal record or lacks experience caring for older adults. You must determine who’s responsible for exploiting your loved one so you can pursue the compensation necessary to get their finances back in order.
You should take immediate legal action if you notice any warning signs that financial abuse took place. Don’t confront anyone at the facility or notify them of your suspicions. Nursing homes typically hire experienced defense attorneys that can begin building a case if they know you’re planning to seek compensation.
The first thing you should do is ensure your loved one’s safety. Transfer them to another facility or hospital for treatment. If they require ongoing care, they will need a qualified doctor to treat their illness or a caregiver to assist them with routine tasks, such as grooming and dressing.
Sometimes, the effects of financial exploitation are emotional or psychological. The victim might require counseling or therapy to cope with what they’ve been through. Getting them the help they need while you’re preparing a legal case is essential.
You should also hire a nursing home financial abuse lawyer from Peck Ritchey, LLC as soon as possible. While you’re attending to your relative, we can focus on the legal aspects of the case. We’ll open a complete investigation into the incident and begin gathering evidence to prove someone exploited their patient.
Make sure you freeze all bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial activity so your loved one’s abuser can’t continue stealing from them. While you’re reviewing all the suspicious activity, print out statements or write detailed notes to give to us. This evidence could help your case.
Common Risk Factors of Financial Abuse
Some people are at greater risk of becoming the victim of financial exploitation. Nursing home residents are particularly susceptible because many don’t see their family regularly or have an illness that affects their mental abilities. It’s hard to protect them from abuse when you’re not around enough to look for the warning signs.
However, there are risk factors that could increase the likelihood of financial exploitation. As long as you’re aware of these, you might be able to monitor your loved one’s finances and avoid potential problems down the road.
Apparent wealth – Some nursing home residents are wealthy, and staff members become aware of this pretty quickly. Designer clothing, expensive jewelry, and other valuables are easy to notice. Residents can become targets when their family moves them into the facility. A nurse might see evidence of wealth and think they’re in for a large payout if they can gain the patient’s trust and acquire access to their accounts.
Mental illness – Mental illness can make it challenging for someone to defend themselves. They might feel ashamed that they’ve become the victim of financial abuse and don’t want to come forward with any complaints. Someone with symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions might fear that no one will believe them if they speak up about the incident.
Lack of familiarity with technology – Many older adults don’t know how to use the computer. They might trust a nurse or administrative employee to access their accounts for them online. Unfortunately, that makes financial exploitation more likely since they probably won’t notice money transfers or cash withdrawals.
Cognitive impairment – Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive illnesses can impair a person’s memory. If the resident doesn’t remember what happened, they can’t inform you or someone else at the nursing home about any financial misbehavior. It’s easier for the perpetrator to withdraw cash or steal personal items and get away with it.
Physical disability – Immobile patients may be unable to notify management about their suspicions. Their caregiver might confine them to their room or refuse to walk them around the property.
Isolation – Residents who never have visitors don’t have people to advocate for them in their time of need. They can’t turn to anyone for help, making them more susceptible to various types of abuse.
The nursing home financial abuse lawyers of Peck Ritchey, LLC believe anyone who takes advantage of elderly residents should be held accountable. They betrayed you and your loved one’s trust and should face the consequences of their actions. You will have a dedicated team in your corner to fight for justice.
If you suspect your loved one has become the victim of financial abuse, do not hesitate to contact us at (855) 328-5787 for a free consultation.