The elderly, legally defined as individuals that are 65 or older, are a high-risk population. With aging can come physical, mental and emotional frailty. By 2025, the US Census Bureau projects a total elderly population of more than 6.4 million in California. That is more than the total population in many states. We know that sexual abuse of elderly patients is a problem, but it is one that is often unreported and overlooked. Most elder abuse cases start with family members, but many of these fall under the heading of neglect or financial abuse. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are a likely location for sexual abuse, but these cases can be difficult to prove in a criminal court.
Our elder sexual abuse attorney in California at Johnson Attorneys Group can help if you have a relative that may be facing sexual abuse. If you need a doctor to verify the abuse, we can help. Elders with diminished mental capacity (dementia, Alzheimer’s and other patients) might not be able to remember what happened or identify their attacker. That doesn’t mean you can’t get help and pursue legal action.
California Elder Sexual Abuse Laws
The California Penal Code recognizes seven categories of elder abuse, and sexual abuse is one of the least reported and most difficult to prove in a criminal court. Sexual abuse includes touching, fondling and/or intercourse in any situation where the elderly person is unable or unwilling to give consent. It can also include situations where the elderly person feels threatened or is physically forced into an unwilling sexual act. When sexual abuse occurs, the facility can be held liable if there is negligence on the part of the administration. For example, failure to properly follow up on abuse reports or deliberate attempts to avoid reporting can all leave the facility civilly responsible for any elder sexual abuse that took place on their grounds.
What Type of Compensation is Available?
In a situation of sexual abuse of elderly patients, malice is definitely present. That means that punitive damages are a possibility, though it can be difficult to collect from an individual. Since elder abuse is a criminal offense, the perpetrator may not be earning an income for years after the event. When asking for damages from the healthcare organization, the burden of proof is much higher. After all, you still need to prove malice in a situation where the organization can claim simple ignorance.
An Experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Get the Maximum Recovery for Your Elderly Sexual Abuse Case
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, in-home care providers and other care providers have an entire institution in place to discourage and defend against negligence claims. Without an advocate in your corner, it is easy to give up on getting the compensation you need to move your loved one to a facility where they are less at risk. If you need an elder abuse attorney in California, we can help. At Johnson Attorneys Group, we offer:
- 12 convenient locations serving the entire state of California
- 24/7 contact line to handle calls outside of office hours
- Free case evaluations
- No fees unless we win or settle your case
- A team of legal professionals that have recovered more than $98.4 million in settlements