According to the Administration on Aging as of 2009 which is the latest year for which data is available there are 39.6 million elderly Americans age 65 years or older.  That’s about one in every eight Americans.  This number will only continue to grow.  Because of the aging baby boomer population, there has been an increase in elder abuse cases.

But what is the difference between elder abuse and medical malpractice? 

The main difference that must be proven in court is being able to characterize a care provider’s conduct as abuse instead of simply professional negligence.  The term elder abuse includes physical and sexual abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation and abduction.  Medical malpractice is more of a failure to diagnose or treat an injury or symptom.

Why would it matter if it went to court as medical malpractice instead of elder or nursing home abuse? 

Well, as Virginia (VA) medical malpractice lawyers we know that the state and many others have laws that put caps on claims from medical malpractice which would limit the amount of compensation the victim would receive.


There are additional remedies available to a victim of elder abuse that are not available to a victim of medical malpractice. One of those is punitive damages, which are damages that exceed simple compensation and are awarded to punish the defendant.  Another reason is that in many states the prevailing party in an elder abuse case can recover attorney fees, which aren’t available in medical malpractice cases.

Contacting an experienced Virginia (VA) personal injury lawyers it the first step in finding out if a claim can be pursued in order to obtain damages and to ensure that the negligent and illegal practices at the facility are ceased.