Elder abuse can occur at home, or in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Elder abuse is defined as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action which occurs within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.
There are both federal and state laws that outlaw and define elder abuse. State laws are the primary source for civil litigation regarding elder abuse. All states have elder protective services statutes, and more than a dozen states have separate statutes that provide civil remedies for elder abuse that occurs in nursing homes or assisted care facilities. All states allow civil lawsuits to recoup damages for elder abuse. In this blog, we will look at Nevada’s laws regarding elder neglect and abuse.
Elder Abuse Statutes and Damages in Nevada
In addition to federal laws regarding elder abuse and neglect, state laws regarding elder abuse can vary. For example, in the state of Nevada, Nevada Revised Statute 41.1395 states that if a person over the age of 60 years old or a vulnerable person suffers a personal injury or death caused by abuse or neglect; or suffers a loss of money or property caused by exploitation; the person who caused the injury, death, or loss is liable for two times the actual damages.
Nevada Revised Statute 41.1395(2) provides that if it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that a person who is liable for damages pursuant to this section acted with recklessness, oppression, fraud or malice, the court shall order the person to pay the attorney’s fees and costs of the person who initiated the lawsuit.
As defined by the statute:
- “Abuse” means willful and unjustified: Infliction of pain, injury or mental anguish; or Deprivation of food, shelter, clothing or services which are necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of an older person or a vulnerable person.
- “Neglect” means the failure of a person who has assumed legal responsibility or a contractual obligation for caring for an older person or a vulnerable person, or who has voluntarily assumed responsibility for such a person’s care, to provide food, shelter, clothing or services within the scope of the person’s responsibility or obligation, which are necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of the older person or vulnerable person.
- “Older person” means a person who is 60 years of age or older.
- “Vulnerable person” means a person who: Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the person; and Has a medical or psychological record of the impairment or is otherwise regarded as having the impairment.
The term includes, without limitation, a person who has an intellectual disability, a person who has a severe learning disability, a person who suffers from a severe mental or emotional illness or a person who suffers from a terminal or catastrophic illness or injury.
What to Do if Your Loved One Has Suffered from Elder Abuse
If your family member has experienced elder abuse it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away who can begin legal action and ensure that those at fault are held accountable. Those who have suffered due to elder abuse may be able to collect compensatory damages to compensate for medical bills, pain and suffering and emotional distress. In cases of extreme or intentional neglect and abuse, punitive damages may also be awarded.
Thanks to Eglet Adams for their insight on elder abuse and neglect.