Los Angeles Elder Abuse Attorney
Elder abuse refers to harmful or violent acts committed against an older individual – someone who is 60 or older. It is an intentional tort or wrongdoing. Elder abuse is inexcusable and can have far-reaching implications for a victim. The more you learn about elder abuse, the easier it is to prevent and detect. If you wish to discuss a specific incident, contact the Los Angeles elder abuse lawyers at Rose, Klein & Marias, LLP for a free case evaluation.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is any action or omission that harms a senior citizen. It is used most often to describe frequent abuse or an ongoing pattern of elder mistreatment. Elder abuse can refer to neglect and exploitation as well as multiple types of abuse. It may be committed unintentionally, such as by a careless or negligent caregiver, or intentionally, in a knowing attempt to harm the victim.
How Often Does Elder Abuse Happen?
The statistics surrounding elder abuse are uncertain, as this problem has only recently begun to be investigated, understood and researched. Most studies place the prevalence of elder abuse at around 1 and 10 older adults. However, some estimates are closer to 1 in 6. Elder abuse underreporting is widely agreed upon, which means that the numbers are likely much higher than what is reported. The National Council on Aging states that only about 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse are reported.
We Help Victims of Elder Abuse in Los Angeles
People in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California who know or believe that an elder loved one has been the victim of abuse are encouraged to turn to our law firm for experienced representation.
Since our establishment over 80 years ago, we have helped many people get the compensation they deserve. We can address all types of elder abuse, including:
- Physical abuse: This abuse may be the result of direct physical contact, such as hitting or kicking. More often, it is the result of negligence. Someone who has been charged with caring for an elderly person fails to fulfill his or her duty. The result of physical elder abuse in Los Angeles may be bedsores from improper care, broken bones caused by falls due to improper supervision, malnutrition, dehydration, and more.
- Emotional abuse: This type of elder abuse can come in the form of verbal mistreatment, such as constantly yelling at someone, isolating him or her in a room for long periods of time and other similar acts. Emotional elder abuse in Los Angeles can have a detrimental impact on a senior citizen’s well-being and health.
- Financial abuse: Con artists can come in all shapes and sizes. Often, they may appear fairly legitimate. They may drag an elderly victim into bad investments or other financial schemes. Other cases may involve outright theft of money or property, or stealing and forging checks.
Who Are the Top Perpetrators?
Elder abuse is typically committed by someone who is in a position of authority or power over the elderly victim. This can include caregivers, nursing homes, hospice care, nurses and home health aides. Elder abuse may also be committed by people who are close to the victim and have unsupervised access to him or her, such as friends and family members. There have also been reported cases of elder abuse committed by strangers. Caregivers who are not well-trained, who depend financially upon the elder, and who have substance abuse or mental health problems are more likely to commit elder abuse.
What Are the Risk Factors for Los Angeles Elder Abuse?
The senior citizens who are most often targeted for elder abuse have disabilities that make them more vulnerable to attacks and exploitation, such as a physical disability, poor physical health or illness, cognitive disability, confusion, or dementia. These individuals are targeted not only for their vulnerability and defenselessness, but also because they are less likely to be able to report the abuse. Other risk factors 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 various signs of the wrongdoing 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
Elder abuse can impact a victim on many levels. In the most serious cases, this crime can result in the wrongful death of a nursing home resident or elderly individual.
How Can You Prevent Los Angeles Elder Abuse?
Before giving over the care of your elderly loved one, do your research. Read reviews and visit a nursing home in person 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 nursing home’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, for example, and involve the appropriate authorities. This may mean the police, nursing home management and your local ombudsman program. Make sure your loved one receives the medical care and psychological therapy that he or she needs. Then, contact a Los Angeles elder abuse attorney to request a free case review. 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. In addition to criminal consequences, however, someone who abuses, exploits or mistreats the elderly can also face civil penalties. The victim or his or her family can file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and/or facility in pursuit of financial compensation. Holding one or more parties accountable for elder abuse can give the survivor justice, closure and monetary damages. The compensation 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
Holding someone financially responsible for elder abuse requires clear and convincing evidence. This evidence may include photographs, surveillance footage, eyewitness statements, medical records and expert testimony. The plaintiff must 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 in Los Angeles can help you with this legal process.
We Are Ready to Help You Seek Justice
All cases are handled on a contingency basis. You are not obligated to make any payments unless we get results. For more information about what our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can do for you, contact us today for a free consultation.