Orange County Elder Abuse Attorneys
One of the fastest growing – and most abused – demographics in today’s society is the aging population. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that about one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced elder abuse. However, only one in 14 occurrences is reported to authorities.
Elder and Dependent Adult abuse can range from physical to financial and happens in the home, over the phone, and even in hospitals and care facilities. This heartbreaking act also leaves victims helpless as they suffer pain, shame, and fear without knowing who they can trust or what will happen next.
The elder abuse attorneys at Hodes Milman Ikuta have the experience needed to obtain justice for those who have been victimized. We can provide legal guidance with empathy and care to help affected citizens obtain justice for their losses.
Do You Suspect Elder Abuse?
Elder or dependent adult abuse is often hard to detect and challenging to prove, especially when there are no outward physical signs.
Many victims choose not to speak up because they believe their cries for help will go unanswered. They may also fear retaliation from the abuser or may be too embarrassed to speak up. When the abuser is a family member, the victim may continue to suffer to protect him or her from legal consequences.
Your loved one may be a victim of elder abuse or neglect if they:
- Develop bedsores
- Becomes malnourished or dehydrated
- Live in unsanitary conditions
- Have suffered a fall
- Have unexplained bruising, or
- Otherwise have a decline in his or her condition or functioning
If you see any of these signs, the experienced and compassionate elder abuse attorneys at Hodes Milman Ikuta are here to help. Please call us today at (949) 640-8222 to talk about your concerns. All calls are 100 percent confidential and without cost or obligation.
Favorable Settlements for Our Clients
The elder abuse attorneys at Hodes Milman Ikuta have secured numerous victories on behalf of clients who have suffered injuries due to negligence, elder abuse, medical malpractice, and other issues. Verdict and settlement awards we have won include:
$2.4 Million Settlement for Elderly Man in Brain Injury Case
A 71-year old patient was scheduled to be transferred from intensive care to the hospital for. In the process, nurses failed to notice severe desaturation, and made critical errors during a blood transfusion. We secured a $2.4 million settlement over the defendant’s offering of $1.5 million.
$150,000 Settlement for Eldery Man in a Fracture Femur Case
An 89-year old man underwent a total hip repair and was transferred to a skilled nursing facility. While there, he sustained a fracture in his femur during a bed transfer. Attorney Dan Hode represented the plaintiff, and settled the case for $150,000.
$485,000 Settlement for Elderly Woman who Suffered a Spinal Fracture
A 79-year-old woman fell while in a hospital and suffered a severe spinal fracture. She alleged nursing negligence, as hospital employees failed to complete a fall risk assessment. Our team won her a $485,000 settlement.
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What is Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse?
Elder or Dependent Adult abuse is a civil or criminal act where theft, physical harm, pain or mental suffering is inflicted upon older individuals most often age 65 and older. A dependent adult is someone between the ages of 18 to 64 with mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from completing normal activities. Abusing a dependent adult or the elderly is considered cruelty towards defenseless, vulnerable, and frail victims who are unable to protect themselves or even ask for help.
Where does elder or dependent abuse occur?
- Skilled nursing facilities and homes
- Residential care
- Assisted living facilities
- Home health agencies
- During transport, treatment, or exams
What are the Most Common Types of Abuse?
Elder or dependent adult abuse can occur within minutes after the victim is left alone with a supervising person. The effects are staggering, with statistics showing that elderly abuse victims have a 300 percent higher chance of dying than someone who hasn’t been abused.
By far the greatest form of abuse, neglect involves the failure to provide personal hygiene, clothing, shelter, food, or medical care. It also includes the failure to protect from health and safety hazards or prevent malnutrition or dehydration. The failure of a facility such as a nursing home or assisted living facility to have sufficient nursing staff or to meet mandated regulations also constitutes neglect. It is an unfortunate reality that many assisted living facilities are severely understaffed and/or underfunded, and hire inexperienced members who fail to administer basic care to residents.
Elderly neglect has serious consequences for seniors, who are typically already suffering from varied health complications. Whether it is intentional or not, neglect is a criminal offense.
There are four main types of elderly neglect:
- Medical Neglect – the staff does not properly attend to the elderly person’s medical concerns or conditions, such as immediate care for diabetes, infections, open wounds or bedsores.
- Neglecting Basic Needs – the staff fails to provide adequate food or water for the elderly person or does not maintain clean, safe, and respectable living conditions.
- Neglecting Personal Hygiene – the elderly person is not given enough assistance with bathing, brushing their teeth, keeping a clean living space, laundry, or other hygienic needs.
Isolation & Emotional Neglect – the staff ignores the elderly resident and does not allow them to interact with other residents or disparages them, including yelling at the resident or being short-tempered with him or her. The most common indicators of neglect include bedsores, dehydration, and malnutrition, though many signs of abuse are not so easily observable. For this reason, neglect can be hard to detect.
Abandonment & Isolation
Abandonment and isolation are forms of neglect when an elderly person is prevented from having contact with others, or is locked in a room alone without food or other essentials.
Physical Abuse is any type of force that causes pain, harm, or impairment to an elder individual. Since elderly individuals can be particularly fragile, even the slightest bit of physical abuse can cause visible and significant damage.
Abuse often involves striking the elderly person (whether with or without an object), but it can also be done by force-feeding or intentionally using a tight or firm grip on the individual. Seemingly minor physical contact can cause bruising, and when it is done with aggression or intent to harm it is considered abuse.
Examples of physical elder abuse can include but are not limited to:
- Inappropriate use of drugs
- Inappropriate restraint
- Inappropriate use of drugs
- Inappropriate restraint
Sexual Abuse is a form of physical abuse that includes rape and molestation. It takes place when an elder is forced or coerced into having nonconsensual sexual contact. The majority of victims are females suffering from various types of memory disorders.
Sexual abuse can be hard to prove because victims are often not able to communicate effectively due to mental complications such as dementia. Elderly victims of sexual abuse are also less likely to report it and sometimes cannot adequately identify their perpetrator or what happened to them.
An overwhelming amount of abuse takes place in assisted living facilities like nursing homes. Most of the time, the perpetrator is the caregiver, but it can also be a roommate or another resident.
Types of sexual abuse can include, but are not limited to:
- Unwanted touching
- Coerced nudity
- Sexually explicit photographing
Physical restraint occurs when an elderly person is tied to a bed, chair, or table, or forcibly held down. In California, using restraints on residents of long-term care facilities is illegal because it often entails more risks than benefits. Residents can’t be restrained without their consent, except in emergencies or by doctor’s orders.
Chemical restraint is the overuse of antipsychotics to control an elderly person’s behavior in place of individualized care.
Mental or Emotional Abuse
Mental or emotional abuse inflicts pain, distress, or anguish on the elder in a nonverbal way. When this happens, the elderly person is often treated like a child and kept from friends and family, or from activities they enjoy. Ignoring the elder or depriving him or her of relationships is also a form of emotional abuse. This type of abuse is also referred to as psychological abuse.
Mental or emotional abuse involves:
- Ignoring the victim
- Deprivation of human interaction
- Verbal assaults
Elder Financial Abuse
Elder Financial Abuse can occur anywhere, with anyone – a neighbor, family member, hired caregiver, or a nursing home attendant. It is often done by swindling money out of the elder and can involve personal bank accounts, credit cards, checks, or even the deed on a home or family trust. Financial abuse can destroy a victim’s life savings and future.
There are a number of ways elder financial abuse is done, including:
- Stealing money
- Promising care only in exchange for money, property, or possessions
- Unauthorized credit card charges
- Forging their signature on checks or other documents
- Forcing them to sign a deed, will, or power of attorney granting the perpetrator inheritance
- Forcing them to sign documents they have not read or do not understand
- Telemarketing scams that use exaggerated claims, deception, and scare tactics to win a sale
- Overcharging for products or services the elderly person needs
Abduction in California involves removing an elderly victim from the state when the victim doesn’t have the capacity to consent.
Healthcare Fraud can involve another individual using an elderly person’s insurance or a medical professional who overbills for services.
Wrongful Death can occur anytime the neglect or abuse of an elderly person results in death. If it occurs in a nursing home, both the home and caregiver can be liable under California wrongful death laws.
Are You Aware of an Elder Abuse Situation?
Speaking up now could change a person’s life – and we are here to help. Our trusted elder and dependent abuse attorneys are only a phone call away. We will help stop the abuse, hold the abuser accountable and obtain compensation for the deserving victim.
For over 30 years, we have helped families just like you protect their loved ones. When you are ready for a private, no obligation consultation, call Hodes Milman Ikuta at (949) 640-8222.
Remember: Silence is never evidence for a lack of abuse.
What are the Warning Signs of Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse?
The warning signs of abuse can sometimes be confused with those of normal aging or the individuals condition. Because of this, it’s important to always watch for any change in your loved one’s behavior, especially when it is sudden.
- Unexplained weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration
- Bed sores
- Unsanitary conditions, such as being left in soiled sheets or unchanged diapers
- Poor hygiene, such as insufficient bathing or bad body odor
- Bruising, skin damage or broken bones
- Painful reaction when touched
- Genital or inner thigh pain or irritation
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Anger or aggressiveness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Hesitation to talk openly
- Implausible stories
- Broken eyeglasses
- Torn or bloody clothing
- Absence of assistance, attitudes of indifference, or anger toward the elder by the family member or caregiver
- Social isolation or restriction of activity
- Reduced contact by telephone or other means
- Conflicting accounts of incidents by the family or caregivers
- Substance abuse by the individual responsible for the elder care
- Refusal by caregiver to allow visitors to see the senior alone
Intervention is Essential and Failing to Act is Punishable
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), elder and dependent adult abuse is considered an “invisible” problem since many people fail to speak up or report abuse to the proper authorities.
In California, failing to report abuse when a care provider discovers it is a misdemeanor punishable by law. More importantly, it jeopardizes a person’s health and welfare. Nursing homes must follow strict government guidelines, so if the abuse happens there, the home may be held accountable.
If You Witness Or Suspect Any Abuse, Act Immediately
1. Report it immediately, whether you are related to the victim or not – please do not wait.
2. Err on the side of caution even if you aren’t sure or lack hard evidence; a life may depend on it.
3. Call 911 immediately if an individual is in imminent harm.
4. Do all you can to stop abuse before it escalates, causing even more pain and suffering to a defenseless victim.
Hodes Milman Ikuta Can Help
The lawyers at Hodes Milman Ikuta have helped secure justice for elderly individuals and their families for over 30 years. We are on your side and will fight to ensure the abusers are held accountable for their actions in civil or criminal court, as well as secure potential compensation for the deserving victim’s pain, suffering and loss.
- Have you already notified the authorities but are dissatisfied with the investigation of the abuse? We can help with that.
- Is the abused elder protected and safe? We can help ensure proper action is taken to protect the victim from continuing abuse.
Every human being has a right to a safe environment, and your elderly loved one is no exception. At Hodes Milman Ikuta, we offer supportive, strategic representation in a trusted, compassionate environment. Reach out to our experienced elder abuse attorneys at any time by calling (949) 640-8222 for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
When you’re ready, we want to help you get started in the right direction.
Elder Abuse FAQs
How Common is Elder Abuse?
The amount of abuse and neglect suffered by the elderly and dependent adults has reached crisis proportions and will likely escalate as baby boomers move past the senior citizen mark.
Sadly, it’s a sensitive issue that is more often overlooked than addressed and can be difficult to expose without a strong support system. As such, it’s all the more important to report elder and dependent abuse immediately if you recognize any warning signs.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Elder Abuse?
The statute of limitations (SOL) is basically the filing deadline that a person has in which to file their claim. After the SOL expires, it is no longer possible to file a lawsuit. In the state of California, the SOL for elder abuse is 2 years. This means that a lawsuit must be filed within 2 years that the abuse happened.
Due to these filing limitations, it’s in your best interests to contact an elder abuse lawyer as soon as possible when you discover an incident of abuse.
What Do Damages Cover in an Elder Abuse Lawsuit?
An elder abuse lawsuit can result in a damages award for the injured party. The damages can cover hospital and treatment costs, medication bills, surgery expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Legal action can also uncover more abusive practices and policies that might be affecting other elders or dependents.
Where to Report Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can be reported through many different channels. You may contact local police authorities, elder abuse hotlines, and other similar resources. If the abuse has occurred in a nursing home or care facility, you should inform the administration there. Contact a lawyer as well if you anticipate initiating legal action.
“Ben kept me abreast of my case every step of the way, ensuring that I always had his support and answered all of my questions with candor and transparency.”
– Julie S.
“The system worked for me and I believe a huge part of it was because it was with Jeff and his team. He was prepared, respectful of me and listened to me. I would recommend Jeff and his team.”
ABOUT HODES MILMAN IKUTA
Hodes Milman Ikuta has won $200 million and has over 30 years of experience securing justice for victims of negligence. We are proud to call our clients family and offer them the resourceful, committed and accessible legal advocacy they deserve.
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When you work with us, you’ll see the difference. A lot of firms are quick to show you numbers, and it is absolutely true that your lawyer should have experience and a strong track record in the area that you require. However, we’ll take it one step further. We also believe that your attorney should put your needs, cares and desires first. Because you deserve more than just compensation for your losses - you deserve a true advocate.