Elder Abuse Lawyer Los Angeles
What Is Elder Abuse – Los Angeles Elder Abuse Lawyer
Every year hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 65 are abused, neglected or financially exploited. This is called elder abuse. It can happen in the person’s own home, the home of a friend or relative or in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Elders who are frail and who rely on others for their needs are the most likely to be victimized.
Elder abuse exists under the law in both criminal and civil arenas. A person responsible for elder abuse may be held criminally responsible as well as civilly liable for any harm caused to their victim.
In California criminal elder abuse occurs when someone knows that an elder (someone over 65) is vulnerable and willfully causes or allows that elder to suffer or inflicts physical pain or mental suffering upon them. Included under the criminal definition is a person who willfully causes or permits an elder to be placed in a situation in which their health is endangered. So even if someone is not personally abusing an elder, knowingly placing them in a dangerous situation is enough to qualify for criminal penalty.
California civil laws define elder abuse as physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment resulting in harm, pain, or mental suffering to an elder. It also includes the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering as well as financial abuse.
A caregiver may not desert or fail to assist in an elder’s personal hygiene, fail to provide food, clothing or shelter or to protect them from health and safety hazards. Elder abuse may be financial in nature through the wrongful taking or using of an elder’s funds, property or assets. It could also be the intentional isolation of an elder by preventing them from receiving mail, phone calls or visitors. On a more sinister and perhaps more obvious level, it could consist of physical abuse through assault, infliction of pain or the use of restraints for punishment or even mental suffering by inflicting fear, agitation or confusion through threats or harassment.
Elder abuse is usually not committed in the presence of others but it is still possible to recognize abuse by keeping an eye out for certain signs and behaviors. You should look for:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Bed sores
- Unexplained weight loss
- A messy or unwashed appearance
- Unexplained bruises, cuts or scars
- Painful reactions when touched could indicate unseen injuries
- Hesitation to talk openly
- Non responsiveness
- Implausible explanations
- Refusal to participate in previously enjoyed activities
If a relative or other personal caregiver is abusing an elder the signs may present more subtly. The elder may not be given an opportunity to speak for himself. You may witness attitudes of anger or indifference towards the elder by the caregiver or relative. The elder may be socially isolated or having their activities restricted. You may hear conflicting accounts of incidents from the caregiver and the elder. If the caregiver has a substance abuse or gambling problem, the likelihood of financial abuse is also much greater.
If you or a loved one have suffered elder abuse either at the hands of a relative or professional caregiver, call us at Rahnama Law where we can help you take the necessary steps to remove yourself or the victimized elder from a dangerous situation and help you build a civil case against your abuser to recover financially for your suffering.
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