The idea that anyone has the capacity to take advantage of our loved ones when in a vulnerable state is beyond comprehension. Unfortunately, elder abuse, particularly for those that reside at nursing homes, is a growing problem in California and throughout the country.
Elder abuse broadly encompasses any form of neglect, exploitation, mistreatment, or unauthorized restraint inflicted upon anyone over 65. Elder abuse may be characterized by theft or misappropriation of the elderly’s personal funds, false imprisonment, withholding of medical treatment or required medication, or anything else that allows a caretaker to control a dependent individual. If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated by those that are entrusted with his or her care, contact Adult Protective Services and a qualified San Diego elder abuse attorney right away.
Who Commits Elder Abuse?
Anyone in a “caregiver” type role can commit elder abuse against an elderly individual. This may include:
- In-home nurses/aides
- Those engaged in commercial fraud (Medicare, telemarketing, financial advisors, credit card, other financial fraud)
Though these are the most common relationships between victims and their caretakers, anyone in a position of power can be found liable of elder abuse. Even when a level of trust has been established between the caretaker and the victim, the caretaker can still take advantage of this position by “asking” the victim to sign important documents in favor of the caretaker, disclose financial information, or provide other personal information. The fact that there is a trusting relationship established between the parties does not excuse the misconduct of a caretaker once he or she takes advantage of the person in their care.
What Constitutes Elder Abuse?
While virtually any wrongdoing against an elderly or dependent individual may constitute elder abuse, the following are common examples:
- Identity theft
- Theft/misuse of funds
- Estate planning fraud or misconduct (such as forcing a victim to sign over his or her will to another)
- Withholding of medication, food, or medical treatment
- False imprisonment
- Intentional failure to bathe or maintain hygienic conditions for the victim
- Tricking a victim with dementia
- Threatening withdrawal of care for any reason
Dependent individuals are placed in a situation where they must wholly rely on their caretakers for their livelihood and quality of life. When this is threatened or taken away without cognizant consent, an individual has committed elder abuse and should be held responsible for their actions.
San Diego Elder Abuse Attorney
At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, we pride ourselves upon advocating for those that are unable to advocate for themselves. The elderly are a unique population that is particularly vulnerable to those that care for them. We believe elder abuse is one of the most serious offenses a person or organization can commit and we are committed to bringing justice to those that take advantage of any dependent individual, whether they are elderly, disabled, or otherwise unable to care for themselves. To learn more about asserting your legal rights against those that have harmed your loved ones, contact personal injury attorney Richard Morse III and let us help you and your family today.