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Jan 4, 2022 by |

San Mateo County Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Caregiver Financial Elder Abuse And Neglect

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Isolated Seniors Vulnerable To Neglect And Abuse

Financial Exploitation May Accompany Neglect Of Patient

Recourse For Families And Injured Seniors

Seniors and dependent persons under the care of in-home caregivers may be at risk of neglect and isolation and at the same time financial abuse by those caregivers entrusted – and paid – to care for them.  Neglect, isolation and abusive conduct inflicted on a senior or dependent person may be criminal and also be grounds for civil liability against the actor, anyone assisting the actor, and persons charged with supervising the actor.  See, e.g., Penal Code § 368 (crime of elder abuse); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15610.30(a)(definition of financial elder abuse), and 15610.57 (definition of neglect).    Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents elder and dependent adult victims of any kind of neglect or abuse, including financial elder abuse from caregivers, anyone assisting the caregiver, and those businesses or individuals who may responsible for supervising the caregiver.  Call us today at (415)441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267) if a senior loved one of yours has suffered any kind of neglect, or financial elder or dependent adult abuse in San Mateo County or elsewhere in California.

Legal Definitions of Neglect, Isolation and Financial Elder Abuse

Unscrupulous caregivers may be more interested in taking a senior’s money than in caring for them.  We have seen cases where the caregiver neglects or cancels medical services for a senior while at the same time taking their money.  The statutory definitions of what kind of conduct constitutes neglect and financial elder abuse are broad:

“Neglect” (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.57) includes:

(1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter.

(2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. No person shall be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that he or she voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in lieu of medical treatment.

(3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.

(4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.

(5) Failure of an elder or elder adult to satisfy the needs specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, for himself or herself as a result of poor cognitive functioning, mental limitation, substance abuse, or chronic poor health

“Isolation” (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.43) means:

(1) Acts intentionally committed for the purpose of preventing, and that do serve to prevent, an elder or elder adult from receiving his or her mail or telephone calls.

(2) Telling a caller or prospective visitor that an elder or elder adult is not present, or does not wish to talk with the caller, or does not wish to meet with the visitor where the statement is false, is contrary to the express wishes of the elder or the elder adult, whether he or she is competent or not, and is made for the purpose of preventing the elder or elder adult from having contact with family, friends, or concerned persons.

“Financial Elder Abuse” (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §15610.30) means:

(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 15610.70.

Recourse For Injured Seniors And Their Families

Remedies for victims of any kind of elder abuse include:

  1. Protective Orders—Stopping the Abuse under Cal. Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15657.03. First and foremost, the elder must be protected from further abuse. An elder who has suffered abuse should seek a protective order to ensure the abusive conduct stops
  2. Damages.  Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 15657, 15657.5, and 15657.6. A civil lawsuit may be brought by, or on behalf of, an elder for abuse. Upon a finding of abuse, the court may order the return of property wrongly obtained, and if not returned, money damages sufficient to compensate the victim for his or her losses.
  3. Costs, Attorneys’ Fees and Exemplary Damages.  Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 15657 and 15657.5

            Neglect or Physical Elder Abuse (§ 15657). Where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant is liable for physical abuse or neglect, and that defendant has been guilty of recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice in the commission of the elder abduction, elder physical abuse, or neglect, the court shall award attorney’s fees and costs, including the reasonable cost of a conservator.

            Financial Elder Abuse (§ 15675.5) Where it is proven by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant is liable for financial elder abuse, the court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs including the reasonable cost of a conservator.

            In an action on behalf of an elder decedent, the cause of action may include damages that the decedent incurred before death, including any penalties or punitive damages that the decedent would have been entitled to recover had he or she lived; also damages for pain and suffering.

            The Probate Code also entitles seniors to double damages for amounts taken from them under Probate Code § 859.  Probate Code § 4231.5 provides that any agent who wrongfully takes a person’s property by means of a power of attorney is liable for twice the value of the property taken and attorneys’ fees.

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans represents elder and dependent adults in San Mateo County and throughout California who are victims of any kind of financial exploitation or other abuse.  Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267), or email us at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. 

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"I contacted Attorney Ingrid Evans for advice about a financial elder abuse case. She was extremely knowledgeable, bright and informative. I highly recommend her. I am an attorney myself, and know when I am talking to a another excellent attorney."
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