Elderly abuse continues to be a problem in the United States. And since the recession of 2008, the resources needed to protect the elderly and enforce the law on the books have, at best, been strained if not altogether diminished.
This is where the legal community, specifically personal injury attorneys can step in and help.
Recently, trying to make somewhat of an effort toward combatting elder abuse, Colorado passed a mandatory elderly abuse reporting statute that requires certain professionals to report elderly abuse or exploitation if they observe it, if they have reasonable cause to believe abuse or exploitation has occurred, or they believe that abuse or exploitation is imminent. And they have to report as much within 24 hours to law enforcement.
Now, in theory, this sounds nice. It’s politically expedient. And, surely, it’s better than nothing, right?
Well, hold on a second. What does “reasonable cause” mean? What does “imminent” mean? This is a lot of squishy legal language that, in reality, any criminal defense lawyer worth her salt could tear apart fairly easily. Furthermore, even if a person is found to have violated this statute, it’s only a class 3 misdemeanor which carries a maximum of 6 months in jail and/or a $750.00 fine.
Needless to say, the incentives to comply with the criminal statute are not there which leaves persons affected by elderly abuse with only one option: sue the offending party.
Under Colorado law, attorneys can assert various theories of liability including assault, battery, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, etc.
However, like all civil suits, these cases can be difficult to bring and it’s almost always necessary to have an attorney and at least one expert to assist you building a claim against the offending party.
Elderly abuse and exploitation comes in all forms: physical, emotional, sexual, financial. But elderly abuse can also be difficult to detect, especially if the person being abused or neglected is suffering from dementia or cannot otherwise effectively communicate.
According to HelpGuide.org, you should be on the lookout for the following signs that your elderly loved one may be suffering abuse or exploitation:
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or exploited, call Denver personal injury attorney Jeffry Dougan at 303-704-1222 and schedule your FREE initial consultation. You and your loved one will be glad that you did.