Under California law, an elder abuse case can be civil or criminal. Our office can assist you with civil matters and point you in the right direction with respect to reporting your criminal matters.
Elders are defined as persons 65 years and older in California.
Pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610, civil elder abuse includes physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other abuse that results in physical harm or mental suffering. Elder abuse can also occur when a care custodian deprives an elderly person of goods or services that are necessary to prevent the physical or mental harm of the elderly person.
How can you recognize abuse?
- If you notice bruises, broken bones, bedsores, malnutrition, or other physical injuries, it may be an indication that an elderly person is subject to physical abuse.
- If you notice that an elderly person becomes fearful, withdrawn, socially isolated, anxious, confused, easily agitated, or seems to have a sudden personality change, this could also be evidence of abuse.
There are numerous other factors that could evidence someone is subject to abuse, and it is important to be mindful and watchful of your elderly family member or friend.
- If you believe an elderly person is at risk of immediate harm, call 911.
- If you suspect elder abuse, you should know how to report it, especially if you are one of certain specified mandated reporters.
- If you have questions, it is important to meet with an attorney who can advise you. There are additional steps you can take to protect your loved ones. It may be necessary to get the court involved. While this can be time consuming, and sometimes costly, the value you will receive is knowing that you are protecting your loved one from further abuse.
In the event you are successful in court, you may be able to recover reasonable attorneys fees and costs to defend your loved one. The wrongdoer may even be subject to enhanced damages provisions.
While some of the laws behind elder abuse are complicated, an attorney can assist you throughout the entire process and hopefully put you at ease with respect to what to expect during the process.