Miami Elder Abuse Lawyer
Elder abuse or the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable adults is a serious problem in the United States. An unfortunate fact of life is that these vulnerable persons can be subject to a wide range of indignities and abuses from caregivers, medical providers, or people intending to scam or steal from them.
Florida Statutes protect Vulnerable Adults
A “Vulnerable adult” means a person 18 years of age or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical, or developmental disability or dysfunction, or brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.
A vulnerable adult who has been abused, neglected, or exploited has a cause of action against any perpetrator and may recover actual and punitive damages for such abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The action may be brought by the vulnerable adult, or that person’s guardian, by a person or organization acting on behalf of the vulnerable adult with the consent of that person or that person’s guardian, or by the personal representative of the estate of a deceased victim without regard to whether the cause of death resulted from the abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The action may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce such action and to recover actual and punitive damages for any deprivation of or infringement on the rights of a vulnerable adult. A party who prevails in any such action may be entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees, costs of the action, and damages. The remedies provided in this section are in addition to and cumulative with other legal and administrative remedies available to a vulnerable adult.
Types of Elder Exploitation or Abuse
There are several types of exploitation or abuse to which elderly or vulnerable adults might be subjected:
Physical Exploitation or Abuse
Physical exploitation or abuse is when someone intentionally uses physical force to inflict harm on another person. Physical exploitation or abuse often takes the form of hitting, kicking, slapping, or pushing. It may result in pain, injury, illness, emotional distress, or even death.
Emotional or Psychological Exploitation or abuse
Emotional and psychological exploitation or abuse is a non-physical type of exploitation or abuse that usually involve verbal behaviors. The intent of emotional exploitation or abuse is to cause fear, distress, or mental anguish. Emotional exploitation or abuse may take the form of threats, harassment, verbal exploitation or abuse, humiliation, disrespect, or forced isolation.
Financial Exploitation or abuse
Financial exploitation or abuse happens when someone takes advantage of an elderly or vulnerable person to illegally, and without authorization, use or take their money, property, assets, belongings, or benefits. Elderly adults or vulnerable adults with brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are particularly susceptible to financial exploitation or abuse.
Sexual Exploitation or abuse
Sexual exploitation or abuse is sexual interaction that is unwanted or forced. Sexual exploitation or abuse may include sexual harassment.
Neglect is the failure of a caregiver to meet a person’s basic needs. A caregiver may be neglectful with water, food, housing, clothing, medical care and treatment, or hygiene.
How common is elder exploitation or abuse?
It is known that the exploitation or abuse of elderly or vulnerable adults is a significant problem in the United States, although exact numbers are hard to guess, due to the fact that many injuries go unreported and untreated. Victims are often silent about exploitation or abuse from a caregiver or family member due to fear, unwillingness to get the exploitation or abuser in trouble, or physical or mental incapacity.
What are the consequences of elder exploitation or abuse?
Victims of the exploitation or abuse of elderly or vulnerable adults are often afraid or anxious. They may be very wary of strangers and find it difficult to trust people. Physical injuries can include any number of things like bruises, welts, scratches, cuts, broken bones, and head injuries. Exploitation or abuse can make existing health problems worse and, in the most severe cases, may cause death.
What does an elder exploitation or abuse lawyer do?
Protecting the victims and seeking restitution for the victims of the exploitation or abuse of elderly or vulnerable adults is one of the areas handled by the Attorneys at the law offices of David Howard Goldberg, P.L. We are experienced in seeking relief in the Court’s to protect the victim and to thereafter seek restitution. Additionally, our planning services encompass planning to minimize the possibility such abuse may be possible.
Estate Planning to avoid the potential for exploitation or abuse includes the drafting of documents that specify how an elder wants to be medically treated in the future and how they would like their assets, money, and property to be distributed when they die. Proper planning with a Last Will and Testament and Living Trusts, proper Incapacity Panning with Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Surrogate Designations can all be done by an to ensure that the correct persons are in place to make the best decisions.
Proper Estate Planning can reduce the chance of the exploitation or abuse of elderly or vulnerable adults by making a plan for their money and assets which keeps them safe from scammers or others with bad intentions.
Incapacity planning helps to maintain an elder person’s dignity, safety, and respect by determining ahead of time who to appoint as a Health Care Advocate, who to give authority for medical decisions with tools like a Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate Designation, and how the elder wishes his or her end-of-life medical care to proceed.
Guardianship can protect a vulnerable elder from physical, emotional, financial, or other types of exploitation or abuse if the elder has become so incapacitated that he or she can no longer make reasonable decisions about, or participate in, his or her own medical care, financial affairs, or personal affairs.
If you are looking for help or need information regarding any aspect of elder law, the experienced and highly qualified attorneys of David Howard Goldberg, P.L. in Miami can help. We handle Estate Planning, Incapacity planning, Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Documents, probate, and more. We have experience at both the Trial and Appellate levels with issues relating to all areas of litigation related to the exploitation or abuse of elderly or vulnerable adults. When drafting, the years of experience gained in litigation of such issues permits the Attorneys at the law offices of David Howard Goldberg, P.L. to be cognizant of potential issues which could, and often do arise, and seek to, as best as possible under the facts, draft to prevent such issues from arising.