PHYSICAL ELDER ABUSE
The California Judicial Council has created a jury instruction that describes what must be proven at trial in order to prevail on a Physical Elder Abuse case. That instruction is basically as follows: "Plaintiff claims physical abuse by defendant in violation of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act." To establish this claim, plaintiff must prove all of the following:
- That defendant, in their conduct towards plaintiff, physically abused plaintiff
- That plaintiff was sixty-five years of age or older at the time of the conduct
- That plaintiff was harmed
- That defendant's conduct was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff's harm
FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE
The California Health and Welfare Code describes financial elder abuse as follows: "(a) 'Financial abuse' of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following: (1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both. (2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both. (3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined in Section 1575 of the Civil Code."
In either case, the defendant is liable for attorney's fees and possibly punitive damages. Furthermore all elder abuse claims survive the victim which means that the rightful heirs can sue even if the abused elder has passed away.
Over the last several years our California Legislature has fashioned strong laws protecting the elderly. These laws are designed to protect elders against both physical and financial abuse. Whether the abuse has taken place in a nursing home or as a result of a person gaining the elder's confidence and then ripping them off, I have fought such abuse for many years and can help you, or a member of your family, who has been victimized.