ELDER ABUSE
FAQ

WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE?

Elder abuse includes physical abuse, neglect, fiduciary abuse, abandonment, isolation, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering, the deprivation by a care custodian of necessary goods or services to avoid physical injury or mental suffering.

WHO IS CONSIDERED AN “ELDER” UNDER THE LAW?

Elder abuse protection applies to a resident who is 65 years of age or older.

WHO CAN BRING AN ELDER ABUSE LAWSUIT?

An elder or dependent individual who is living. The elder’s or dependent individual’s estate or successors in interest if the elder or dependent individual has died. The elder’s or dependent individual’s family members witness the abuse—the conservator or guardian of an incompetent elder or dependent individual.

WHERE DOES ELDER ABUSE MOST FREQUENTLY OCCUR?

Under the law, elder abuse can occur in any setting. Most cases arise out of understaffed nursing homes, and the existing staff is poorly trained.

WHAT DOES A PLAINTIFF HAVE TO PROVE TO WIN AN ELDER ABUSE CASE?

To be entitled to the special remedies in an elder abuse case, the plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is liable for physical abuse, neglect, or fiduciary abuse and that the defendant has been guilty of recklessness, oppression, fraud, and malice in commission of the abuse.

WHAT DAMAGES ARE RECOVERABLE IN ELDER ABUSE CASES?

If the elder is still alive, they can recover past and future medical expenses, including increased care expenses, past and future wages lost, if any, and damages for past and future pain and suffering. The elder can be awarded punitive damages if the misconduct is severe enough. In cases where the elder has died, the survivors are entitled to recover all of the above damages plus damages resulting from the loss of society care and comfort which would have been provided to them by the elder.