What is Elder Abuse Under California Law?

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How to File an Elder Abuse Civil Lawsuit for Damages

How to File an Elder Abuse Civil Lawsuit for Damages

Jun 20, 2023

A recent CNBC report confirmed that there are currently around 14 million Americans receiving some form of long-term healthcare. And as the report noted, the aging baby boomer population – the oldest cohort of which will be turning 80 in 2025 – represents a potential “long-term-care crisis” in the U.S.

Advances in technology and public health have allowed people to live longer in a condition of frailty, and we haven’t developed a long-term care system to keep up with that,” Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow focused on health care at the Urban Institute, told CNBC.

As more and more patients are requiring long-term and extended care in nursing homes and other facilities, the potential for elder abuse increases.

Let’s take a look at how elder abuse is defined under California law in the sections below. We’ll also review how you and your family can file a civil claim with Dordulian Law Group if you believe someone you care about is a victim of elder or nursing home abuse.

What is Elder Abuse Under California Law?

California Penal Code § 368 PC defines elder abuse as:

The physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of
a victim 65 years of age or older.

The law stipulates that elders, adults whose physical or mental disabilities or other limitations restrict their ability to carry out normal activities or to protect their rights, and adults admitted as inpatients to a 24-hour health facility deserve “special consideration and protection.”

Depending on the severity and liability, elder abuse is a crime that can be prosecuted criminally as a misdemeanor or a felony and is punishable by up to four years of jail or prison (for a felony charge). Additionally, elder abuse may constitute a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator or an institution for damages.

What are Examples of Elder Abuse?

Abuse of elders is a common occurrence and can take place in nursing home or extended care facilities as well as in private residences. Some of the most common forms of elder abuse include:

  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse (force feeding, excessive restraint use)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Financial abuse

Whether the elder abuse involves physical harm, sexual harm, or failing to provide critical care such as medicine or food, this type of crime not only opens the perpetrator up to criminal charges, but a civil lawsuit may also be brought in an effort to punish the wrongdoer and recover financial compensation for the victim and his or her family.

How is Elder Abuse Committed?

When a perpetrator intentionally or willfully subjects an older person to unjustifiable physical or mental pain and suffering, elder abuse has been committed under California law.

Some additional elements commonly found in cases of elder abuse include:

  • The negligent party had a legal duty to care for the senior and failed to do so.
  • The negligent party exhibited conduct that was likely to cause great bodily harm or even death.
  • The negligent party personally subjected the senior to unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering or permitted another person to do so.
  • The negligent party exhibited conduct that may have endangered the life or health of the senior or elder.

Under the law, criminal negligence entails a caregiver failing to exercise due care or conduct that a reasonably cautious person would have exercised under similar conditions. Criminal negligence is behavior that is considered to be uncaring or so unreasonable as to reflect a wanton disregard for human life.

Furthermore, while elder abuse criminal negligence may be prosecuted by your local district attorney’s office, civil lawsuits can be an additional means designed to assist victims and their families in securing due justice.

What is an Elder Abuse Civil Lawsuit or Claim?

Unlike criminal charges which may land an elder abuse perpetrator in prison, a civil lawsuit is meant to obtain justice for a senior victim and his/her family through financial compensation related to the harm endured.

Elder abuse civil claims may be filed against one or more liable parties:

  • A nursing home or extended care facility
  • A healthcare provider
  • A doctor or caregiver
  • A negligent family member or friend tasked with an elder’s care

When you file your elder abuse civil claim with the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys from Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we will fight aggressively to secure all applicable damages which ensure a maximum cash settlement.

Examples of common elder abuse claim damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma or psychological harm
  • Future medical care or rehabilitation as a result of the elder abuse
  • Past medical care which was inadequate or falls under malpractice
  • Punitive damages
  • Counseling or therapy expenses
  • Lost wages or diminished future earning capacity (if applicable to the elder victim)
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Wrongful death (if the abuse led to a fatality)

An elder abuse civil claim can be the best means of ensuring that the victim and his/her family recover the financial compensation they need and deserve in order to move forward after such an unfortunate incident.

Contact DLG’s Elder Abuse Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Elder abuse can be devastating to families. If your loved one was harmed as a result of elder abuse or negligence, you have the sincerest condolences of the entire DLG team. Our committed group of nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers is led by Sam Dordulian, a former prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who has obtained life sentences against countless dangerous criminals from our community. Upon transitioning from the D.A.’s Office to private practice, Dordulian began fighting for justice in civil court on behalf of clients like you who have been injured, vulnerable, and victimized.

With more than 100 jury trial victories and over $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts obtained for his clients, Dordulian has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to obtaining justice for those in need.

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

To speak with an elder abuse or neglect lawyer from DLG, contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM. We never charge any upfront or out-of-pocket fees for our expert California elder abuse legal services. You or your loved one will not pay a penny until after we’ve secured a maximum financial damages award for your elder abuse, neglect, or wrongful death case.

Don’t let the wrongdoers get away with committing elder abuse against you or someone you care about. Contact DLG’s experienced Glendale, California, elder abuse lawyers today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM to take the first step toward obtaining justice through maximum financial compensation/a cash settlement.

Go See Sam