Personal Injury Attorney in Stockton Provides a General Overview of Elder Abuse & Neglect
Recent estimates conclude that over 400,000 elder individuals live in nursing homes or elder care facilities in California. Some 7,000 of these care facilities may not be licensed and may not be providing adequate care to their residents. With our rising population, the number of elder individuals and the number of individuals in assisted care will dramatically rise in the near future. That means the cases involving elder abuse will increase as well. If you or someone you know has suffered from elder abuse, speak with a personal injury attorney in Stockton.
In California, elder abuse is considered neglect, exploitation, or “painful or harmful” mistreatment of anyone who is 65 or older. It also protects “dependent” adults aged 18 to 64 from this mistreatment. This covers mental and physical abuse, isolation and abandonment, abduction, and theft. These individuals are at a higher risk for abuse for several reasons, including dementia, physical weakness, isolation from family, accumulated wealth, and a general lack of knowledge or understanding about modern life, such as the internet. There are many different factors that go into these cases and it’s best to speak with a personal injury attorney in Stockton regarding your specific circumstance.
Elder abuse can be criminal or civil, as described below:
Civil Elder Abuse
- Physical abuse – Intentional actions including the following:
- Inflicting physical pain or injury
- Sexual assault or molestation
- Physical or chemical restraints for punishment
- Neglect – Failure to fulfill care taking obligation including the following:
- Assisting in physical hygiene maintenance
- Providing food, clothing, and shelter
- Protection from health and safety hazards
- Preventing and addressing malnutrition
- Financial abuse – Illegal or unethical exploitation or use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets
- Abandonment – Desertion by a caregiver
- Isolation – Intentional prevention of an elder’s interaction with others including mail, telephone communications, and in-person meetings
- Abduction – Removal of an elder to another state without his or her permission
- Mental Abuse – Mental suffering may include fear, agitation, confusion as inflicted by threats, harassment, or intimidation
- Restriction to goods or services – Harm or discomfort caused buy restriction to basic necessities
Criminal Elder Abuse
- Causing or permitting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering – This includes willful placement of an elder in a situation in which his or her health is endangered
Recognizing Elder Abuse
It is important to pay close attention for any clues hinting at elder abuse. Elder individuals may have a hard time communicating abuse due to fear, embarrassment, or a loss of memory or understanding. Keep a look out for the following symptoms and contact authorities and speak with a personal injury attorney in Stockton if you suspect abuse. It is much better to falsely suspect than to falsely ignore. Some of the symptoms of elder abuse are:
- Physical Symptoms
- Bruises, cuts, broken bones, or any other obvious physical injury
- Unexplained weight loss
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Painful reaction when touched, though no visible injuries
- Behavioral Symptoms
- Confusion or disorientation
- Anger and agitation, especially when discussing care
- Non responsiveness
- Caregiver Behavior
- Attitudes of indifference or anger
- Absence of assistance
- Preventing the elder individual from speaking for him or herself
- Preventing the elder from being alone with friends or family
- Preventing the elder from communicating with friends or family through other means (email, phone)
- Conflicting accounts of incidents from what the elder reported
- Symptoms of substance abuse
It is extremely important to report any suspected or witnessed abuse to an elder individual. Individuals who are obligated to report abuse (includes anyone involved in elder care, whether paid or not, as well as police, clergy, and individuals at financial institutions who may suspect financial abuse of elders) is guilty of a misdemeanor, which is punishable by six months of jail time and a fee of $1,000. An individual with a legal responsibility to report elder abuse who fails to do so and this neglect results in death or great bodily injury to the elder individual in question may face a year in jail and a fee of $5,000.
If you are an individual legally required to report abuse, make a call to the local police or sheriff’s department to make an initial statement. Fill out a written or anonymous online form in the following two business days.
Report suspected elder abuse immediately! If there is a possibility that the individual is in immediate danger, call 911! If you are worried about the care of an elderly family member and are not able to check in at their assisted living residence, you can call the local police department and ask for a welfare or well-being check. Make sure to speak with a personal injury attorney in Stockton if you suspect someone is committing elder abuse and neglect.
Every year, telemarketing and mail scams cost the American public billions of dollars. Often, older individuals fall victim to these cons as they have may have an accumulated wealth, generous disposition, and lack of knowledge or understanding of the internet as well as common scam methods. It is important to always check with a supposed company and to never send personal or financial information over the internet.
Speak With a personal injury attorney in Stockton Regarding Your Legal Case
If you, your family member or someone else you know has been mistreated or abused from a care facility, speak with our personal injury attorney in Stockton immediately for a free consultation. Depending on the case, you may be entitled to compensation. Call (209) 943-0000 for consultation today.