Making the decision to entrust the safety and well-being of an elderly loved one with an outside professional is never easy. That’s why when something goes wrong, it’s normal for family members to feel deeply upset. Sadly, elder abuse happens in California, and your next steps after discovering your loved one has been abused may not always be clear.
Once your family member has been removed from the potentially threatening situation, you might be able to take legal action against the parties responsible for the abuse. But understanding the ins and outs of abuse can be difficult. Read on to discover what constitutes elder abuse in California.
The Elements of Elder Abuse in California
One of the first elements of elder abuse is that it impacts a specific group of people. In the state of California, the elderly population is defined as those who are age sixty-five and up. Sadly, elderly people placed in professional homes around the state can be abused or taken advantage of by their caretakers.
Elder abuse can be divided into both criminal and civil categories. Whereas a criminal case seeks to punish the alleged abuser with criminal penalties, civil elder abuse cases comprise slightly different standards that aim to make victims whole again through the awarding of financial damages.
Some forms of elder abuse as defined by civil law include:
- Physical abuse
- Financial abuse
- Abandonment, isolation, or abduction
- Other treatment resulting in harm
When you file a civil suit against the party responsible for the abuse of your family member, you’ll need to prove that an element of abuse is occurring given a preponderance of evidence. This standard of guilt is different from the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard used in criminal cases.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Often, it can be difficult to prove elder abuse. As the family of a suspected victim, knowing the signs to look for can be helpful. Elderly victims affected by abuse often demonstrate such symptoms as:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Bruises or other visible injuries
- Emotional trauma
- Becoming withdrawn
Even when the signs of abuse are visible, it can still be difficult to successfully document. Some tactics include asking your loved one about how they’ve been feeling. Often, if they’ve suffered abuse, they may be reticent to acknowledge it. In some cases, seeking the assistance of a mental health professional could be advantageous.
Other evidence, such photographs of bodily injuries or of substandard living areas, as well the testimony of fellow residents or other caretakers, can help paint a picture of elder abuse for your civil suit.
Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney in California
We trust that caretakers will protect our family. When your loved one has suffered abuse, they deserve justice. At The Kindley Firm, APC, we fight on behalf of the victims of elder abuse in Southern California, and we can help your loved one get the compensation they deserve.
Call 619-550-1313 or fill out the form below to schedule a consultation with a San Diego elder abuse lawyer from The Kindley Firm, APC.