SAN DIEGO ELDER ABUSE ATTORNEYS
Elder abuse is one of the most heartbreaking occurrences that can occur under the care of someone else. The “Baby Boomer Generation” makes up more than 13 percent of the total population in the United States, which equals more than 40.3 million people. By 2050, it is predicted that Americans 65 years or older will make up about 20 percent of the total population.
Unfortunately, this will bring about an increase in the number of abuse cases toward the older generation. Elder abuse and neglect can result in serious harm, injury, and even death. If you or a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, the experienced San Diego elder abuse attorney at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates will protect your legal rights and help you obtain the full compensation that you or your loved one deserves.
With multiple offices located in San Diego, Irvine, Anaheim, Riverside, Los Angeles and El Segundo, our elder abuse attorneys represent mistreated elderly across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 949-873-0755.
Is Elder Abuse a Crime?
Elderly abuse is a serious matter. According to California Penal Code 368, inflicting physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation upon a victim who is 65 years of age or older is a crime. Depending on the offense, elderly abuse can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. A person convicted of misdemeanor elderly abuse can receive a punishment of up to one year in county jail. A felony conviction is punishable by up to 4 years in state prison.
Different Types of Elder Abuse
Defining elderly abuse can be difficult because there are several different types, and every case is unique. In general, elderly abuse can be defined as when a trusted caregiver subjects an elderly person to a single or repeated act that causes them harm or stress or a serious risk of harm. Failing to take appropriate action that causes harm or distress is also abuse. Whether the abuse is intentional or unintentional is immaterial.
Elder abuse can be categorized into five different types:
- Physical abuse: the intentional infliction of bodily harm, such as hitting, shoving, slapping, pinching, or burning. Physical abuse can cause illness, pain, distress, or death.
- Emotional abuse: verbal assault, threats, intimidation, isolation, or other acts that cause distress, psychological trauma, or emotional pain.
- Financial abuse: stealing assets, money, credit cards, etc., or inducing elderly individuals to turn over assets through fraudulent means.
- Sexual abuse: any form of unwanted sexual interaction, touch, or penetration, as well as sexual harassment.
- Neglect: failure to exercise reasonable care, whether passively or willfully, in providing custodial care services, such as:
- assistance in personal hygiene
- basic necessities, such as food, water, clothing, and shelter
- necessary medical care
- proper nutrition and hydration
- protection from health and safety hazards
If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse in any of these five categories of elder abuse in San Diego, our trusted elder abuse attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas can help. We are committed to protecting the rights of the elderly and helping them and their loved ones get through these challenging situations.
What are the signs of Elder Abuse?
In order to help prevent any further instances of elderly abuse, it is important to first know how to recognize it. Unfortunately, victims of this type of abuse are often not able or willing to report it themselves. This is why caregivers, family, friends, and other professionals need to be able to recognize the signs of abuse so they can report it and stop it. Below is a list of several signs that may indicate elder abuse. If you notice any of these signs, you or your loved one might be suffering from elder abuse.
- Bedsores or unexplained bruises, scars, broken bones, or welts.
- Evidence of taking too much or too little of required medication.
- Signs of physical trauma.
- Unusual behaviors such as rocking, mumbling, or biting fingernails.
- Feelings of worthlessness.
- Distress, agitation, or withdrawal from daily activities.
- Unusual activity in the bank account of the elderly individual, such as frequent withdrawals or large withdrawals.
- The caretaker asks the elderly individual for a loan while telling him or her to keep the request a secret from everyone.
- Unexplained changes to a will or other financial documents.
- The elderly person, or you as the provider, paying full price for amenities and facilities, but the elderly person is living in poor conditions.
- Bruising of breasts or genital area.
- Unexplained sexually transmitted disease or genital infection.
- Genital or anal bleeding or pain.
- Inadequate amount of food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
- Poor hygiene.
- Unsanitary living conditions.
- Unusual weight loss.
These are only a few possible signs of abuse. If you suspect that an elderly loved one is being subjected to abuse, it is imperative to immediately take action by informing the proper authorities and also contacting an experienced San Diego elder abuse attorney.
How do I report Elder Abuse in San Diego?
If you have reason to believe that you or an elderly loved one have been, or are currently, suffering from elderly abuse, take action immediately. Below are the steps to follow to report abuse:
- Call 911 if you are witnessing abuse or being abused right now.
- Call the SDPD Elder Abuse Unit at (619) 446-1070 on weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM if you suspect ongoing abuse. This specialized unit is trained to identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who prey on the elderly.
- Call the SDPD at (858) 484-3154 or (619) 531-2000 after hours or any time if you suspect ongoing abuse.
- Call the San Diego County Aging & Independence Services at (800) 339-4661 if you suspect abuse has occurred previously. If they determine the abuse has occurred, they will contact the SDPD.
- Contact a top-rated elder abuse attorney to protect the legal rights of the mistreated elderly.
What to do if someone tells you they are being abused?
If an elderly person tells you they are being abused, listen to them and take what they say seriously. Write down or record exactly what they tell you, so you can report it in their words. Remain calm so as not to upset them any further. Offer them support and assure them that you are going to look into the issue and stop it right away. Contact the SDPD Elder Abuse Unit or the SDPD. If this is an emergency, call 911.
Just as important as what you should do is what you shouldn’t do. Don’t press the victim for more details. They’ve likely been traumatized enough. Any further pressure will generally have a negative effect. Do not contact or confront the alleged abuser where you might put yourself or the victim in danger. The Elder Abuse Unit and the SDPD are trained to handle these situations. Most importantly, don’t assume someone else already has or will report it. Always report suspected abuse as soon as you learn about it.
Contact an Experienced San Diego Elder Abuse Attorney
If you or a loved one have been the victim of elder abuse, it’s time for you to receive help. Put your trust in the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, as we have the knowledge and extensive experience in handling elder abuse cases.
With multiple offices located in San Diego, Irvine, Anaheim, Riverside, Los Angeles and El Segundo, our elder abuse lawyers represent mistreated elderly across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a San Diego elder abuse attorney, please call 949-873-0755.