In California, elders are defined as persons 65 years and older. Under California law, elder abuse can be both civil and criminal. Elder abuse is inexcusable and can have far-reaching implications for a victim and their loved ones. The more the public learns about elder abuse, the easier it is to detect and prevent it from happening. If you would like to discuss a specific incident. If you need an attorney contact ACTS Law today at (833) ACTS-LAW or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Elder Abuse?
The Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610 defines elder abuse as physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment resulting in harm, pain or mental suffering to an elder. It also means the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering to the elder. These acts may be committed unintentionally, for example by a careless or negligent caregiver, or intentionally, in a knowing attempt to cause harm to the victim.
We Help Victims of Elder Abuse in Southern California
People throughout Southern California who believe and/or know that an elder loved one has been the victim of abuse are encouraged to turn to ACTS Law for experienced representation.
We can help address the different types of elder abuse, including:
- Emotional Abuse: This form of abuse towards elders can come in the form of verbal mistreatment, such as constantly yelling at someone, the isolation of him or her in a room for long periods of time, bullying, making threats of physical harm or comments that are belittling, racist, or degrading. Emotional elder abuse can have a lasting detrimental impact on the well-being and health of elders.
- Physical Abuse: This form of abuse can be the result of direct physical contact, such as kicking or hitting, but is also often the result of negligence. The result of physical abuse may be bedsores from improper care, malnutrition, dehydration, broken bones, bruising and can be caused by assault, falls from improper supervision, and more.
- Financial Abuse: This form of abuse can be directed towards the acts of con artists. Oftentimes, they appear to come across as fairly legitimate, but they may drag victims into bad investments or other financial schemes. Cases may also involve theft of money or property, forging checks, or stealing.
How to Identify the Top Perpetrators
Elder abuse is typically committed by someone who is in a position of authority over an elderly person. These people include caregivers, hospice care, nursing homes, nurses and home health aides. Elder abuse may also be committed by people who are close to the elderly victim or have access to unsupervised care of him or her such as family members or friends. There are also reported cases of elder abuse committed by strangers. Caregivers are more likely to commit elder abuse if they are not well trained, depend financially upon the elder, and/or have substance abuse or mental health issues.
What Are the Risk Factors of Elder Abuse?
Elders who have disabilities such as poor physical health or illness, cognitive disability, confusion, or dementia are often the most targeted for elder abuse. These individuals are particularly vulnerable because of their defenselessness and also because they are less likely to report the abuse. Some other risk factors to consider include shared living situations and elders who are isolated from others.
What Are Common Signs of Elder Abuse?
An elderly victim who is suffering from abuse or neglect may show a multitude of signs of the wrongdoings being committed. The nature of these signs will depend on the type of elder abuse, but may include:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Repeated injuries, illnesses or infections (including sepsis)
- Signs of neglect or poor hygiene
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Signs of agitation or emotional distress
- Anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Depression, withdrawal or suicidal thoughts
- Reduced self-confidence or self-esteem
- Overall decline in physical or mental health
- Unaccounted for bank withdrawals
- Unusual financial transactions
In the most serious cases, this crime can result in the wrongful death.
How Can You Prevent Elder Abuse?
Do your research before giving over the care of your elderly loved one. Visit a nursing home in person and read reviews before making your decision. Pay attention to how staff members treat each other, as this can be a good indicator of how they treat residents when no one is around. You can also look up any citations or violations in the facility’s history. Once your loved one has moved in, stay in frequent communication and visit in person as often as you can. Checking in regularly can make it easier to spot changes in your loved one that may be a sign of elder abuse.
What to Do if You Discover Elder Abuse
If you find out that someone in your family is experiencing elder abuse, take immediate action to protect the victim. Relocate the individual to a safe place and involve the authorities. This may mean the police or nursing home management. Make sure your loved one receives the medical care and psychological therapy that he or she needs.
Then, contact an elder abuse attorney to request a free consultation. The victim and family may be entitled to financial compensation.
When Can You File a Lawsuit for Elder Abuse in California?
Elder abuse is a crime in all 50 states and someone who abuses, exploits or mistreats the elderly can face criminal consequences and civil penalties. The victim or his or her family can file a civil lawsuit against the facility and/or perpetrator in pursuit of financial compensation. Holding one or more parties accountable for elder abuse gives the survivor closure, justice and monetary damages and prevents harm from happening to others. The following compensations available can include:
- Medical bill payment
- Related financial losses
- Legal fees and court costs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Psychological therapies
- Diminished quality or enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages
Evidence of Elder Abuse may include photographs, surveillance footage, eyewitness statements, medical records and expert testimony. The plaintiff will need to establish the elements of a personal injury or wrongful death claim, as well as follow all of California’s related laws. An elder abuse lawyer can help you with this legal process.
ACTS Law is Ready to Help You Seek Justice
For more information about what our elder abuse attorneys can do for you, contact us today at (833) ACTS-LAW or at email@example.com.