Elder abuse and negligence are unfortunate realities that can occur in various settings, including homes, hospitals, and care facilities. At our practice, we specialize in assisting individuals who have experienced elder abuse and negligence in Nursing Homes, Crisis Management situations, Ombudsman Referrals, Injuries, Physical Injuries, Emotional or Behavioral Changes, End-of-Life Decisions, Life Care Planning, and cases involving Mental Health Incompetencies. Our dedicated focus is on advocating for the rights of victims in cases of abuse, neglect, injury, and medical malpractice.

Abuse and negligence can manifest in diverse environments, such as home health agencies, assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and hospitals, and during transportation, treatment, or examinations at medical offices.

Understanding Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse:

The law defines elder or dependent adult abuse as:

The criteria for elder or dependent adult status are:

Explore the legal aspects in Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.07.

If you are an elderly person or a dependent adult facing abuse or control by family members, spouses/partners, former spouses/partners, or caregivers, seeking guidance from a counselor can be beneficial, even if you're uncertain about pursuing legal protection. Discover counseling services and resources in your county.

Important Legislative Update:

The amended Code of Civil Procedure § 377.34 now allows damages recovery for a decedent's pain, suffering, or disfigurement. This applies to actions initiated by the decedent's personal representative or successor in interest, granted preference under Code of Civil Procedure section 36 before January 1, 2022, or filed between January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2026. Plaintiffs recovering under this statute are required to report their awards to the Judicial Council, facilitating transparency through information dissemination to the Legislature.

Indicators of Nursing Home Abuse or Caregiver Neglect may manifest through:

These signs serve as potential red flags for nursing home abuse or caregiver neglect, and it is crucial to promptly address any concerns to ensure the well-being and safety of the residents. If you suspect any form of mistreatment, reporting and seeking appropriate assistance are essential steps in addressing the situation.

Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders – Your Right to Protection

You have the right to request an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order if:

It's important to note that you might qualify for both an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order and a domestic violence restraining order, particularly if the person causing harm is a spouse, partner, child, or grandchild. If this situation applies to you, seek guidance from a lawyer or legal aid agency to determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances.

What a Restraining Order Can Accomplish

A restraining order, issued by the court, holds the power to direct the restrained person to:

Upon issuance, the restraining order is recorded in a statewide computer system, ensuring that law enforcement officers throughout California are aware of its existence.

Impact on the Restrained Individual:

For the person subjected to the restraining order, the consequences can be significant:

It is crucial for both parties involved to understand the implications and adhere to the terms outlined in the restraining order.

An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is a specific type of restraining order that only law enforcement can request by contacting a judge. Judges are available around the clock to issue EPOs, allowing police officers responding to serious incidents of violence or threats to seek immediate protection at any time of day or night. In cases of elder and dependent adult abuse, it is possible to request an EPO, except in instances solely involving financial abuse.

The Emergency Protective Order takes effect immediately and can last for up to 7 days. During this time, a judge may instruct the alleged abuser to vacate the residence and stay away from the victim for the specified duration. This provides the victim with the necessary time to initiate the legal process and file for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) Overview

When pursuing a domestic violence restraining order, you must complete paperwork detailing the events and reasons for seeking protection. If the judge deems it necessary, they will issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). Typically, TROs have a duration of about 20 to 25 days, extending until the scheduled court hearing date.

"Permanent" Restraining Order (Restraining Order After Hearing)

Upon attending the court hearing scheduled for the TRO, the judge may grant a "permanent" restraining order. Although termed "permanent," these orders usually last up to 5 years. Following this period or when the order expires, individuals can request a new restraining order to maintain ongoing protection.

Criminal Protective Order or "Stay Away" Order

In cases involving violence or elder and dependent adult abuse, the district attorney may file criminal charges against the alleged abuser, initiating a criminal court case. It is common for the criminal court to issue a Criminal Protective Order, also known as a "Stay Away" Order, against the defendant throughout the criminal proceedings and, if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, for an additional 3 years after the case concludes.

When individuals seek an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order in court, they need to complete court forms outlining the desired orders and providing reasons. Although the specific steps may vary slightly between courts, the general process includes:

For more information, visit California Courts.

Mandated Reporter Responsibilities

Any individual assuming responsibility for an elder or dependent adult's care is a mandated reporter. This includes administrators, supervisors, licensed facility staff, caregivers, health practitioners, clergy members, and certain agency employees. Mandated reporters must report observed or suspected incidents of abuse to Adult Protective Services (APS) or local law enforcement.

Services Offered by Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services provides a range of services, including investigations, needs assessments, social work activities, tangible resources like food and shelter, and the use of multidisciplinary teams. They operate a 24-hour reporting system.

Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic violence encompasses abuse or threats between individuals in an intimate relationship, whether married, domestic partners, dating, cohabiting, or sharing a child. Abuse can be physical, sexual, or non-physical, involving threats, harassment, stalking, or emotional harm. Physical abuse extends beyond hitting to include various forms of aggression, such as kicking, shoving, or harming family pets. It's essential to recognize that abuse in domestic violence can be verbal, emotional, or psychological, not limited to physical harm.

For additional details, refer to California Courts.

The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA), outlined in Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 15600–15675, mandates the reporting of elder abuse to an Adult Protective Services (APS) agency or local law enforcement agency. In cases where the abuse occurs in a long-term care facility, reporting can also be directed to the local ombudsman or law enforcement. EADACPA facilitates the subsequent investigation of these reports.

EADACPA defines an "elder" as an individual residing in California who is 65 years of age or older, as per Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.27. The term "Abuse of an elder or dependent adult" encompasses various forms of mistreatment, including:

This legislation is integral in safeguarding the well-being of elders and dependent adults, establishing clear guidelines for reporting and investigating instances of abuse to ensure the protection and welfare of vulnerable individuals.