What Constitutes Elder Abuse in Texas?
As the population of older adults continues to grow, so do concerns about elder abuse. It's a serious problem that can take many forms, including neglect and exploitation for someone else's monetary or personal benefit.
Therefore, it's important for individuals and their family members to know what they can do to recognize if their loved ones are experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation and protect their rights.
What Is Elder Abuse in Texas?
Elder abuse is any action that causes harm or creates a serious risk of injury to an older adult. It could be intentional or intentional.
More often than not, the elder abuse perpetrator is someone the older adult trusts, such as a family member or a caregiver.
Overall, abuse includes involuntary seclusion, physical or emotional harm, humiliation, intimidation, harassment, hitting, deprivation, threats of punishment, pinching, sexual assault or coercion, and more. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions such as, "What is psychological abuse in a nursing home?"
These are the common types of elder abuse:
This type of abuse involves any intentional act that results in physical injury or harm to an older adult.
Physical abuse may include hitting, slapping, pushing, or restraining. In some cases, this form of mistreatment can even lead to death.
This form of abuse involves any behavior that causes emotional pain, mental anguish, or distress to an older adult.
Also known as psychological abuse, it may include verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, and isolation.
Financial Abuse or Exploitation
Financial exploitation it's an illegal or improper act that involves the unethical use of an older adult's assets, such as the person's social security number or credit card.
It happens when a caregiver, family member, or any other person controls the elder's property and resources for monetary or personal benefit.
Neglect occurs when providers of medical services or family members fail to secure food, shelter, and medical care for older adults.
Self-neglect falls into this category. It happens when older adults are unable to care for themselves and don't receive the proper assistance they need.
Sexual abuse happens when a person forces an older adult to have any unwanted sexual contact or activity.
Physical contact and non-physical acts, such as verbal harassment or exposure to pornography, are other forms of sexual abuse.
How to Report Elder Abuse in Texas
Older adults suffering from criminal abuse, neglect, or exploitation and their family members have the right to report it. Here's what they can do.
Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse
The first step in reporting elder abuse is recognizing the signs. Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical or emotional abuse, sexual harassment, financial exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.
Common signs of elder abuse may include unexplained injuries, changes in behavior, sudden withdrawal from activities they used to enjoy, or financial difficulties.
Reporting Elder Abuse to Law Enforcement
Those who suspect elder abuse should call 911 or a local law enforcement agency right away. Under Texas law, people are required to report mistreatment to older adults.
Reporting Elder Abuse to Adult Protective Services (APS)
This state agency is responsible for investigating reports of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
To report elder abuse to APS, people should call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or make a report through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website.
What Happens After Reporting Elder Abuse?
After reporting elder abuse, the APS will conduct an investigation to determine if an older adult is at risk and protect them.
The APS often provides medical care, counseling, or legal assistance to victims. The agency may also refer the case to law enforcement for further investigation and prosecution.
Penalties for Elder Abuse in Texas
Elder abuse is a serious crime in Texas. Therefore, people found guilty of committing this action can face severe penalties.
Failure to report elder abuse can also result in criminal charges and penalties, including the following:
Penalties for Elder Abuse in Texas
As it's considered a criminal offense, elder abuse can result in both civil and criminal penalties in Texas. Perpetrators could face fines, imprisonment, or both.
Penalties for elder abuse may vary depending on the case's specific circumstances, including the type of abuse and the extent of harm caused to the victim.
Causing bodily injury to an elderly person is a third-degree felony in Texas. As such, it can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of 2-10 years.
However, the abuse may be considered a second-degree felony if it causes bodily injury or death. In these cases, perpetrators could be punished with two to 20 years in prison.
Penalties for Failure to Report Elder Abuse in Texas
In Texas, failure to report elder abuse is also a criminal offense that can result in harsh penalties.
Under Texas law, certain professionals, such as healthcare providers and social workers, are required to report suspected elder abuse.
Failure to report elder abuse can be considered a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties range from fines of up to $4,000 to jail time.
Additionally, any person who knowingly fails to report suspected elder abuse may also be held liable for civil damages.
In other words, people can face legal action for the damages and injuries victims sustain if they don't report the abuse and the older adult is harmed.
Call Schuerger Shunnarah and Get a Free Consultation Today!
Elder abuse victims have the right to seek compensation and hold at-fault parties accountable for their wrongful actions if they resulted in physical or emotional harm.
After they report abuse, neglect, or exploitation, older adults or their family members should seek help from an experienced attorney to file a claim against the liable party. They can advise on what the statute of limitations for nursing home negligence in Texas is.
In addition, elder abuse victims are entitled to compensation for the medical, home healthcare, shelter, and mental health services they need.
Fortunately, Schuerger Shunnarah can help them. Our nursing home abuse lawyers will work tirelessly to fight for their rights and recover the compensation they deserve.
We know fear can affect a person's ability to remember details about their experiences and report the abuse, but we're here to help. Contact us today and get a free consultation! We go to war for our clients.