Comprehensive San Francisco Law Firm for Elder Law and More
Older adults—those aged 60 and above—are the fastest-growing age group in San Francisco. As of the year 2020, 23% of the city’s residents fall into this age group, up from 19% in 2010. By 2030, that number is projected to increase to nearly 30%. However, senior residents of San Francisco are also more likely to live in poverty or alone than those in other urban locations in California; 14% of San Francisco seniors live below the federal poverty line, while nearly 30% live alone. These conditions put many of the seniors in our community at risk of abuse, exploitation, and diminished quality of life.
The attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. have many years of experience representing seniors and other clients in San Francisco in a wide variety of legal matters, including elder law; securities fraud, insurance fraud, and other types of fraud; employment law; and serious personal injuries.
As a vulnerable population, seniors face a unique set of risks, including physical elder abuse, financial elder abuse, and caregiver or nursing home abuse and neglect.
Physical Elder Abuse
Physical elder abuse is a type of elder abuse that occurs when the perpetrator intentionally causes physical harm to the victim. It can include:
- Assault and battery, such as hitting, scratching, slapping, pinching, or pushing
- The unreasonable or medically unauthorized use of physical or chemical restraints
- Failure to provide for the victim’s daily needs, such as feeding, bathing, clothing, or dispensing medication
- Neglect or abandonment by caregivers
- Sexual assault and battery
These actions can be particularly harmful and debilitating for seniors because many are already in physically weakened and vulnerable states. Physical abuse can lead to a rapid decline in the victim’s health or, in extreme cases, their death. Seniors who are harmed by physical elder abuse may recover for their injuries in the form of a civil personal injury action. The elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm have years of experience representing elders in San Francisco courts and can aggressively pursue their rights in litigation.
Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse occurs when the perpetrator causes financial harm to the victim, often as a result of theft, coercion, or fraud. Some examples of financial elder abuse include:
- Theft of cash and personal effects
- Identity theft
- Sales of inappropriate insurance products or investments
- Fraud, such as probate fraud, insurance fraud, securities fraud, etc.
- Deception and trickery, such as by posing as a loved one or financial advisor
- Scams, including multi-level marketing schemes
Financial elder abuse is an especially serious issue for seniors in San Francisco due to the city’s high cost of living. Many seniors live on fixed incomes or rely on Social Security benefits, meaning that a serious financial blow could result in being unable to afford their rent or mortgage. The attorneys at Evans Law Firm have dedicated their careers fighting to protect elderly victims of exploitative behavior, and our legal team has a long track record of success in recovering money lost due to financial elder abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
When a family places their loved one into a nursing facility, they expect that they will receive the highest-grade professional care available. But, unfortunately, that is not always the case. Nursing home abuse is a type of elder abuse that is perpetrated by nursing home staff against their patients. It involves many forms of abuse, including:
- Physical abuse: Assault and battery, unreasonable or medically unauthorized use of restraints, abandonment by nursing home staff, sexual abuse, rape, and battery, etc.
- Financial abuse: Theft of personal belongings, unauthorized use of credit cards, accessing bank accounts, identity theft, fraud, deception or misrepresentation, scams, etc.
- Psychological abuse: Insulting or demeaning the victim, yelling or screaming at the victim, threatening the victim, isolating the victim from family and friends, causing the victim to question his or her sanity, etc.
Nursing home neglect, while not necessarily intentional, can also result in seriously diminished health outcomes for those who suffer it. Some common forms of nursing home neglect include:
- Failure to provide necessary food, hygiene, and medicine
- Failure to protect bedridden patients against bed sores/pressure wounds
- Failure to maintain a safe and sanitary living environment
- Failure to ensure proper medical care
- Failure to provide necessary physical or social activities
- Failure to respond to the patient’s calls for assistance
Just because nursing homes are heavily regulated does not mean that abuse and neglect do not occur. But uncovering abuse and neglect is often difficult since family members cannot monitor the kind of care their loved one is receiving at all times. It is often necessary, therefore, to seek the advice of an attorney to get to the bottom of the situation. The attorneys at Evans Law Firm are experts in the federal and state regulations governing nursing homes and the laws aimed at protecting their residents, including the California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. If you suspect that a loved one is suffering abuse or neglect in a nursing home, our attorneys can investigate the allegations and, if proven, pursue aggressive legal action against those responsible.
Fraud is a broad category of behaviors that generally involve deception, misrepresentation, or trickery against the victim for the purposes of financial gain. Anyone can become the victim of fraud, whether old or young. While very few believe that they are capable of becoming the victims of fraud, perpetrators of fraud are sophisticated actors and their methods are constantly evolving.
Some of the most common forms of fraud include:
- Securities fraud: Occurs where the perpetrator sells or induces the victim to buy a security (such as a stock, bond, or other investment), that is either fake or inappropriate for the victim’s financial situation. Common forms include high yield investment programs, pump and dump schemes, advance fee fraud, affinity fraud, insider trading, and Ponzi schemes.
- Annuity fraud: Occurs where the perpetrator sells the victim a deferred annuity (an insurance product that imposes penalties on withdrawals for up to 10years or more) that is inappropriate for their financial situation. The elderly are common targets of annuity fraud due to the amount of time they must wait before making a withdrawal.
- Insurance fraud: Occurs where the perpetrator sells the victim an insurance product that does not accurately disclose its full terms or that misrepresents certain material provisions. Can also occur where an insurance company refuses to pay a valid claim in bad faith.
- Banking fraud: Occurs where the perpetrator uses illegal means to gain money or assets in a financial institution. Can also occur where the perpetrator knowingly violates their legal duty to file taxes, especially if an offshore bank is involved.
- Consumer fraud: Occurs where the perpetrator (usually a business entity) uses unfair, fraudulent, or illegal business practices to enrich itself at the expense of consumers. Can occur in almost any economic sector, including banking, insurance, consumer products and services, manufacturing and distribution, and telemarketing.
Fraud can result in significant financial losses for its victims, but proving fraud can often be challenging. Our attorneys have many years of experience representing fraud victims in San Francisco and can assist them in identifying signs of fraud, gathering evidence, and pursuing legal remedies under federal and California law.
Employment law is a vast area of law that governs the rights and responsibilities between employers and their employees, but one of the most common employment law issues is wage and hour violations. Under California law, employees must receive compensation for the hours they work and any overtime. Employers must also allow their employees meal breaks and rest periods at set intervals. If the employer violates any of these provisions, they may be liable under the California Labor Code.
Serious Personal Injuries
Serious personal injuries can have devastating effects on their victims, not only physically, but also emotionally and financially. If that serious injury was due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, the victim may be able to recover for his or her damages in the form of a personal injury action. Some of the most common bases for personal injury actions include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Premises liability accidents, including slips and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Medical negligence
- Products liability
- Intentional torts, including assault and battery
One of the most important things the victim of a serious personal injury in San Francisco can do is to contact an attorney who can vigorously advocate for their interests. Our attorneys are highly skilled in all aspects of personal injury law and can work with insurance agencies, doctors, bill collectors, and whoever else may be involved in the matter. We also have a solid track record of pursuing compensation from those responsible on behalf of our clients.
Attorneys Representing Victims of Elder Abuse, Fraud, and Personal Injury in San Francisco
Contact the experienced attorneys at Evans Law Firm by using our online form or calling us at our San Francisco office at 415-441-8669. Discover how our legal team can help victims of elder abuse seek justice and recover for their losses. We not only represent the elderly, but also anyone throughout San Francisco who was affected by financial, securities, and/or insurance fraud.
FAQs Answered by a San Francisco Elder Abuse Attorney
What Is the Penalty for Financial Elder Abuse in California?
California was an early adopter of laws specifically targeted at combatting the abuse of the elderly. State law has since developed to impose a wide range of penalties on those who engage in elder abuse, including financial elder abuse. These penalties come from several sources in both civil and criminal law.
Civil penalties for financial elder abuse in California focus mainly on returning the stolen assets to their rightful owner. For example, if the perpetrator of the abuse stole or misappropriated $100,000 from the victim, the perpetrator would have to repay the $100,000 plus any interest or profits the perpetrator realized from the assets. California law also allows for the imposition of punitive damages where it can be proven with clear and convincing evidence that the defendant engaged in “oppression, fraud, or malice” toward the victim. In cases where the victim is a senior or disabled person and the defendant has engaged in unfair or deceptive acts, California law allows a jury to impose a fine, civil penalty, or other penalty three times greater than the amount of such fine or penalty allowed by statute in certain circumstances. Juries may further award attorneys’ fees and other litigation-related costs to the plaintiff.
Criminal penalties for financial elder abuse depend upon the value of the property taken. Abuse involving property worth $950 or less is generally charged as a misdemeanor, with one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Abuse involving property worth more than $950 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, with jail terms of one to four years and fines of $2,500-$10,000.
What Constitutes Financial Elder Abuse in San Francisco?
The California Welfare and Institutions Code defines financial elder abuse as occurring where the perpetrator:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
If you are unsure whether particular behavior rises to the statutory definition of financial elder abuse, an elder abuse attorney at the Evans Law Firm, Inc., can assist you.
Who Can Sue for Financial Elder Abuse in San Francisco?
As with most causes of action, the plaintiff in a financial elder abuse case must be the injured party — i.e., the senior. However, in financial elder abuse cases, the law also permits a representative to sue on behalf of the injured elder, including a conservator, trustee, or attorney-in-fact. If the victim is deceased, the victim’s personal representative as appointed by the probate court may pursue the legal action, or if there is no personal representative, relatives and other interested persons may have standing to sue.
How Do I Report Financial Elder Abuse in San Francisco?
Concerned citizens who suspect act financial elder abuse may be occurring can report their concerns to one or more of the following agencies:
- Adult Protective Services for San Francisco City and County
- California Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Attorney General’s Division of Medical Fraud & Elder Abuse
The elder abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm, Inc., can also help you report suspected elder abuse to the appropriate parties.