Tag: Elder Abuse

Homecare nurse helping elderly lady to take her daily medicine.

How Can I Prove Nursing Home Neglect in a CA Lawsuit?

California law protects elders from physical abuse and mental abuse by nursing home employers, such as the improper use of restraints and persistent harassment, but elders are also protected against the failure of nursing home caregivers to act in providing the care they need. This failure to provide care is referred to as “neglect” under the law, and it can serve as the grounds for a successful lawsuit against a nursing home where the elderly person has been injured or died as a result of nursing home neglect. In order to win a settlement or a verdict at trial, there should be sufficient facts that will prove that the nursing home neglect did indeed occur.

Defining Nursing Home Neglect Under California Law

Under the California laws defining neglect and providing elders and their surviving family members with a right to sue nursing homes for neglect, the following types of acts are considered neglect when they result in injury or death:

  • Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter
  • Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs (that said, nursing homes may legally respect an elder’s decision to refuse medical care based on religious grounds)
  • Failure to protect from health and safety hazards (e.g. infestations, mold, fire risks, etc.)
  • Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration
  • Any other failures of nursing home staff to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise which results in injury or death

Working With an Elder Abuse Attorney to Build a Nursing Home Neglect Case

Because elders in nursing homes are, by definition, dependent on nursing home employees to provide them with care, and the lack of care can affect an elder’s ability to function, it is often up to family members and friends to keep an eye open for neglect. Those supporters of an elderly person can then contact an experienced elder abuse attorney who can fully investigate the situation to determine whether sufficient grounds exist to serve as the basis for a successful elder abuse neglect case against the nursing home.

By working with an experienced attorney to bring a neglect case, you can not only win the financial recovery for injuries and pain and suffering that an elderly person deserves but also act to hold nursing homes accountable for their failures and deter future injurious neglect inflicted on the elderly in California.

Contact the Elder Abuse Attorneys at Berglund & Johnson Today

Having worked with injured victims and their families across Southern California for over three decades, we understand the fear, intimidation, and confusion that can result from elder abuse. Our attorneys are here to help you through this process and provide all the guidance you need to get the recovery you rightly deserve. We are committed to serving the legal needs of you and your family in an honorable, ethical, and compassionate manner. Contact Berglund & Johnson today at 1-800-4IF-HURT to schedule a brief, no-hassle consultation to discuss your situation and see how we might be of service to you and your family.

Happy Senior Couple Reviewing Finances At Home

When is Changing a Will Financial Elder Abuse in CA?

Under California law, individuals have the right to leave their assets to whomever they choose, outside of community property rules which dictate the minimum assets a surviving spouse should receive from an estate. Other than that, an individual may decide in his dying days to disinherit all of his children and leave his estate to his favorite sandwich artist at the local deli if he so chooses, and the law will allow that. But such changes to a will must be taken voluntarily by a testator (the person creating a will), in accord with formality requirements for a will such as having the proper number of witnesses, and not be the result of undue influence by another party. If a person uses undue influence to get an elder to change his or her will, then the will can be invalidated, but the elder and/or his family can act now to bring a financial elder abuse claim against a wrongdoer who seeks to financially exploit elders.

Defining Undue Influence in California

Of course, anytime a testator changes a will to benefit a different beneficiary, it could be said that the new beneficiary influenced the testator. If a neighbor comes over to an elderly person’s house for 10 years straight to befriend that person and help him or her out, that is certainly an influence, and it is perfectly acceptable for the elderly person to take that influence under consideration in changing her will in favor of the neighbor.

Undue influence, on the other hand, is where a would-be beneficiary exercises an improper type of influence to get an elderly person to change a will. California law defines undue influence as including:

  • Using real or apparent authority over another person to get an unfair advantage over him
  • Taking an unfair advantage of another’s weakness of mind
  • Taking a grossly oppressive and unfair advantage of another’s necessities or distress

Examples of Undue Influence  

With those definitions of undue influence in mind, consider the following hypothetical examples of what a California court might determine to be use of undue influence and thus grounds for a financial elder abuse lawsuit:

  • A nursing home employee telling a resident he should change his will in order to continue receiving care
  • A “friend” of an elderly person suffering from dementia telling her that her family members have all turned against her in an attempt to get her to change her will
  • An in-home caregiver who has changed the password on a homeowner’s bank accounts persuading a homeowner to change his will in exchange for the password

These are just a few examples that might apply, and you should speak with an experienced elder abuse attorney to determine whether you have grounds for an elder abuse lawsuit.

Contact the Elder Abuse Attorneys at Berglund & Johnson Today

If you suspect that you or an elderly family member has been subject to financial elder abuse, include the use of undue influence to change a will, the elder abuse attorneys at Berglund & Johnson are here to help. We are committed to serving the legal needs of you and your family in an honorable, ethical, and compassionate manner. Contact Berglund & Johnson today at 1-800-4IF-HURT to schedule a brief, no-hassle consultation to discuss your situation and see how we might be of service to you and your family.

old man sitting down eating

Warning Signs of Elder Mental Abuse in Nursing Homes

Senior citizens and dependent adults living in nursing homes face not only the risks of physical and sexual abuse, but mental abuse as well. The signs of mental abuse may be more difficult to notice than physical abuse, but mental abuse can result in horrific living circumstances for a senior citizen and can lead to illnesses and even early death. Thus, learning to be on the lookout for the warning signs of elder mental abuse is important, especially for family members and friends, as the elderly person in the nursing home may be too afraid or otherwise unable to speak up about it. Mental abuse is illegal under California law, and a person who has suffered the effects of mental abuse can take legal action to hold the perpetrators of mental abuse and their employers accountable. Below are a few of the more common signs of mental abuse in nursing homes. Continue reading “Warning Signs of Elder Mental Abuse in Nursing Homes”

Increasing Risk of Elder Abuse / Neglect

Elder/Adult abuse is becoming a large problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of vulnerable citizens in the United States. For the most part, elder abuse is seldom reported and some experts believe that only 1 of every 14 victims actually report abuse to the authorities.

Elder/adult abuse victims generally consist of:

  • Substance abusers
  • Chronically mentally disabled
  • Developmentally disabled
  • Weak elderly
  • Physically impaired

The different types of elder abuse conform to the following:

Continue reading “Increasing Risk of Elder Abuse / Neglect”