Remedies for Elder Abuse
Abuse of Elderly Persons, and Where to Get Help
Whether by spouse, a friend, the manager or roommate in a nursing home, or elsewhere, senior citizens are often the victims of fraud, undue influence or physical abuse. Fortunately, there are immediate remedies available. Specifically, the Adult Protective Services of the county is authorized to investigate any claims of physical abuse. The Court Investigator of the county is authorized to investigate abuses of a conservatorship or to suggest a conservatorship when appropriate to protect the person from abuse or his or her assets from fraud or theft. The Public Defender of the county is authorized to provide legal services to anyone who is incapacitated and who requests the services of an attorney. Police departments will investigate claims of fraud or theft or physical violence and will direct family members to other public agencies when necessary. Finally, most counties have public interest groups outside the government sector whose charter mandates that they serve the senior adult community.
Nursing home residents are protected by state law and licensing agencies within each county are empowered to investigate violations including health and safety code violations or complaints of physical or mental abuse of the residents of nursing homes or other facilities including board and care facilities and hospitals.
Civil Remedies for Elder Abuse (EADACPA)
Abuse of the elderly can occur in long-term care facilities, in the elder's home, and in the market place. This abuse can take the form of physical abuse, neglect and fiduciary abuse by scam artists, caretakers, and family members. Recognizing the vulnerability of the elderly, the California legislature enacted the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA) effective January 1, 1992. EADACPA provides enhanced remedies in civil actions against individuals or institutions that have abused the elderly. These remedies include attorney's fees, punitive damages, and post-mortem recovery for pain and suffering which would otherwise not be available. The intended effect of EADACPA is to make it worthwhile for an attorney to represent an elderly victim, even when the injury or loss may be relatively small. If you or someone you know has been the victim of elder abuse, you should consult with us and determine if provisions of the EADACPA apply to your matter.