Arizona courts recognize our aging population is susceptible to abuse. Arizona law, with respect to incapacitated and vulnerable adults, is regulated by the Adult Protective Services Act (APSA). The state legislature enacted the APSA in 1988 because of the prevailing widespread issue of abuse of the elderly, incapacitated, and vulnerable. Unfortunately, as more nursing homes are required to tend to the elderly, more and more instances of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of these vulnerable adults are occurring. There are unqualified facilities and predatory "caretakers." Fortunately, there are laws in place to combat this issue. Members of Goodnow|McKay are experienced with these claims and are here to help. We are committed to helping our clients recover fair compensation. We are often able to negotiate reasonable settlements with the responsible insurance companies, but we are willing to fight for our clients through trial if necessary.
Prohibited Conduct Under APSA:
Under APSA, an action may be filed on behalf of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult whose life or health is being or has been endangered by neglect, abuse, or exploitation. All three terms are defined and distinguished as follows:
Neglect: is defined as a pattern of conduct without the person's informed consent resulting in the deprivation of food, water, medication, medical services, shelter, cooling, heating, or other services necessary to maintain minimum physical or mental health. Often, this neglect provision is violated when basic necessities might be withheld from patients in an end-of-life scenario.
Abuse: includes intentional infliction of physical harm injuries caused by negligent acts or omissions, unreasonable confinement, and/or sexual abuse or sexual assault.
Exploitation: under APSA exploitation is defined as the illegal or improper use of a vulnerable adult or their resources for another's profit or advantage. An exploitation violation occurs under APSA if shown that the person in a position of trust and confidence to the vulnerable adult either failed to act for the benefit of the vulnerable adult to the same extent as a trustee or by intimidation or deception knowingly took control, title, use, or management of the vulnerable adult's property with the intent to permanently deprive the individual of the property. This, unfortunately, often occurs when a caretaker takes money or possessions from a nursing home patient.
Damages for Nursing Home Abuse:
Civil remedies and damages under the APSA include: imposing reasonable restrictions, including permanent injunctions on the person engaging in the activity, ordering dissolution or reorganization of any enterprise, ordering the payment of actual and consequential damages, punitive damages, and payment of costs and expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of the conduct incurred by the state or county. It is important to note that an action under APSA allows a plaintiff to recover damages for the vulnerable or exploited adult's pain and suffering following death.
Members of Goodnow|McKay are vigilant in research and advocacy on behalf of injury victims. Please see the linked articles below related to nursing home abuse and exploitation of vulnerable adults:
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Chris Goodnow is licensed in Arizona. Justin McKay is licensed in Arizona. Matters in other areas are handled by licensed attorneys employed, associated, or co-counseled with Goodnow|McKay.