Frequently Asked Questions About Elder Abuse in California
Contact Our Santa Clara Elder Law Attorneys for More Information
Based in San Jose, California, the experienced elder law attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP help elders throughout the Bay Area who have suffered neglect or abuse. Outlined below are a few frequently asked questions about elder abuse. Contact us today to speak to a Santa Clara elder law attorney for more information.
What Are California’s Elder Abuse Laws?
California has the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. This law prohibits the following behavior directed towards anyone 65 years of age or older:
- Physical abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Neglect and endangerment
- Financial exploitation
The act also allows victims to file civil lawsuits for damages against their abusers. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from elder abuse in California, contact our Santa Clara elder law attorneys today.
What Kinds of Physical Abuse Qualify as Elder Abuse in California?
Under California’s elder abuse statute, physical elder abuse encompasses many types of force. Physical abuse can mean:
- Assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to cause bodily injury
- Unreasonable physical constraint
- Deprivation of basic needs, such as food and water
- Sexual assault
- Physical or chemical restraints for punishment or any other purpose not authorized by the physician
What Are the Warning Signs That Elder Abuse or Neglect Is Occurring?
There can be many warning signs that your loved one is suffering from elder abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, these signs can be easy to miss.
Look for physical changes. A common sign of nursing home abuse or neglect may include sudden weight loss or dehydration. These signs may indicate that food, water or medication is being withheld. You should also keep an eye out for any bruising or bedsores.
Additionally, take note of any mood changes or depressive episodes that your loved one exhibits, especially if it is out of character. Any of these signs may indicate that elder abuse or neglect is occurring.
When Should I Call Adult Protective Services in California?
When elders are victims of neglect, exploitation or abuse, the Adult Protective Services (APS) Agency can help. Each California county, including Santa Clara County, San Mateo County and Alameda County, has a local agency and can be reached through a 24-hour elder abuse hotline.
When you suspect abuse has occurred in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you can contact the APS directly to report your complaint or request assistance. Upon receiving the report, the APS will then work closely with local officials such as law enforcement, doctors and nurses.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, speak to an experienced elder abuse lawyer. Contact our firm today by calling (408) 956-6949. Our lawyers can help you understand your rights under California elder neglect and abuse laws.
Is Malnutrition and Dehydration Evidence of Nursing Home Neglect?
When you leave a loved one in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, you expect the staff to take care of their basic necessities. You trust the staff to track and provide basic care including fluid and nutrient intake. Without it, they could face serious and possibly fatal health issues.
Senior citizens are more susceptible to suffer from malnutrition and dehydration than younger adults. If you believe you or a loved one is exhibiting symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration, seek medical attention right away. If these symptoms are due to a nursing home or an assisted living facility’s neglect, please contact our nursing home neglect lawyers for a free consultation.
I Suspect Elder Abuse. Who Can Be Held Responsible?
Elder abuse liability varies from case to case. Your best legal options to protect yourself or your loved one depend on the unique circumstances of your case. A Santa Clara elder law attorney at our personal injury law firm can help you understand your best options.
Even so, liable parties could include a facility, such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, hospital or rehabilitation center. Individuals who work for these facilities may also be held liable. These individuals might include doctors, nurses or caregivers. Other individuals, such as family members, coworkers or neighbors could also be held responsible for elder abuse.
Who Can File a Lawsuit for Elder Abuse in California?
California recognizes residents who are 65 years or older as elders. Dependent adults are also covered under the law, which includes any person between the ages of 18 and 64 years who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility. The elder or dependent adult who has suffered the abuse must be named as the principal plaintiff in the case. This person can be assisted in the case by a personal representative. Additional plaintiffs may be recognized in the lawsuit, such as spouses, family members or guardians. These additional plaintiffs may also have a viable claim to file for damages.
What Is the Elder Abuse Statute of Limitations in California?
When a senior or dependent adult is a victim of harmful neglect, financial exploitation or abuse, he or she has legal rights to pursue a legal case against those responsible. The California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act was enacted to protect seniors and dependent adults from fraud and abuse. The statute allows victims to file civil lawsuits for damages against their abusers and also provides for criminal prosecution of abusers by the state.
Elder abuse laws in California can be complicated and the statute of limitations can vary by case. The elder abuse attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP can help you understand elder abuse laws. Our attorneys can work to build a solid case against whoever is abusing you or your loved one. We have years of experience fighting for and winning compensation for elder abuse victims. Contact our firm for a free consultation.
What Can I Expect If I Contact Needham Kepner & Fish LLP About an Elder Abuse Case?
Our Santa Clara elder law attorneys can help you determine the signs of neglect or physical abuse suffered by an elderly client. We can also help to collect and evaluate the evidence of your case. Our experienced elder law attorneys may then be able to hold the nursing home or residential care facility responsible. If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
It is important to know that we offer free consultations, and take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not charge any up-front or hourly payments unless your case recovers compensation. To learn more about how we can help, contact us online or call us today at (408) 956-6949.