elder abuse

The Fort Lauderdale elder abuse lawyers at Anidjar & Levine are at the forefront of defending elder abuse victims injured by the negligence of others. We have successfully handled all types of injury cases involving abuse in assisted living facilities, recovering millions of dollars for victims in Fort Lauderdale and other areas of Florida.

Elder abuse refers to any act or omission resulting in harm to an elderly person. This includes negligent and intentional behavior that inflicts physical or mental injury on an elderly victim. Each year, approximately 3 million senior citizens are victims of abuse. In most cases, the abuser is a caretaker, health care provider, or person close to the victim. Elder abuse can occur in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and even in the victim’s home. Because Florida has a prevalence of senior citizens, any acts of elder abuse are of special concern to the state. The abuse may involve exercising undue influence on a senior citizen, or perpetrating a fraud on elders to drain them of funds. Whether the abuse is physical, mental, or financial, elder abuse is a punishable criminal offense.

Common examples of elder abuse include:

  • Neglect or abandonment
  • Willful infliction of injury
  • Physical confinement or restraint
  • Failure to provide basic necessities
  • Forced isolation from family or friends
  • Identity theft
  • Predatory lending
  • Telemarketing fraud
  • Estate planning schemes
  • Home improvement scams

Age, disability, and medical conditions can make it hard for elders to report signs of abuse. Many elders require full-time care, so they are entirely dependent on the staff at nursing homes or assisted living facilities to provide for their needs. Unfortunately, abusers are often the only people in regular contact with the victim and can deflect complaints by referring to the elder’s senility. That is why it is critical to recognize signs of elder abuse and report them immediately. Indications of physical abuse may include unexplained weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration. Unexplained bruises, fractures, or fingerprint marks could also indicate abuse. Increased welts and bedsores often demonstrate neglect, for example, when the patient may not be turned over sufficiently while in bed.

While not as obvious, abrupt changes in the elder victim’s behavior may also be caused by abuse. Be wary of excessive fatigue, undue agitation, or defensiveness. Patients may also appear anxious, non-responsive, or hesitant when asked if they are being abused. In most cases, abusers try to isolate victims so they lose contact with friends and family. Elders often appear fearful, withdrawn, and depressed when this happens. In cases of financial abuse, the victim’s bank account may show unusual withdrawals, spending patterns, and transfers of assets. Abusers often forge signatures on checks and legal documents to perpetrate a financial fraud on the victim.

Florida law protects victims of elder abuse. Under the Florida Statutes, financial elder abuse is the exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult by using the person’s funds, assets, or property without the person’s consent. The abuser can procure the victim’s property through intentional acts, threats, or deceit. The perpetrator must have taken the property with the intent to permanently deprive the victim of its use, benefit, or possession, or to benefit someone other than the victim. The law covers anyone who stands in a position of trust or confidence with the victim and misappropriates the victim’s assets through coercion, misrepresentation, or theft. The Florida Statutes require “mandatory reporting” of any abuse, neglect, or exploitation of “vulnerable adults” to the Department of Children and Family Services.

If you or someone you know is the victim of elder abuse, call the experienced Fort Lauderdale elder abuse attorneys at Anidjar & Levine today. We have extensive experienced obtaining compensation for victims injured by negligent parties in assisted living facilities throughout Florida. We have also helped patients recover damages from caretakers and health care providers who breached their standard of care. At Anidjar & Levine, we are dedicated to providing you and your extended family with the highest quality legal representation and helping you achieve the best outcome possible in your case. Call 800-747-3733 for a free consultation or contact us online.