Practice Areas

Elder Abuse

Our legislature has protected the elderly in many ways, and The Cochran Firm helps enforce those rights. California’s laws set forth several specific types of elder abuse:

 

  • Physical abuse
  • Neglect
  • Financial abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Isolation
  • Abduction

 

Elder abuse cases typically arise from neglect of an older person who is in the care of others, or the financial taking advantage of such a person. Each type of case has different issues we focus upon. In the typical elder abuse case involving neglect, we ask the family to give us proof of a decline in physical state, sometime reflected in photos, other times just in charts and records from doctors and the home they live in.

What we focus upon in neglect cases is the unexplained rapid decline of the elderly person’s physical state, which is not explained by age alone. We look to see if there is documented the development of Stage IV pressure sores (bedsores or decubitus ulcers); were there falls causing broken bones, other serious injury, or death, whether it be from their bed that lacked rails or from a chair in a cafeteria where they weren’t properly secured or supervised.

Is there weight loss, malnutrition, and/or dehydration? Was there an injury or accident resulting from inadequate supervision of a confused or mentally impaired elder? We look to how they might be getting injured and bruised, from being forced to eat, or not given enough water, or kept in a place too cold or too hot, does it seem like their condition deteriorates without explanation?

A case we handled successfully involved a hospice caregiver abusing someone in the last stages of life. This led to a large settlement, because we were able to prove how terrifying this had to have been, and what a tragic way this was to end a life well lived, with a loving family and spouse nearby. These are very personal cases, and we are committed to fighting for the dignity and security of our elderly from those who would unfairly profit from them or take advantage of them.

Elder abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of sex, social status or ethnic background. We have seen case of neglect in Beverly Hills just as gut wrenching as cases in less affluent cities in California. We rely on caregivers for the elderly to give our parents and grandparents dignified and proper care, yet some businesses are run with an eye only towards profits, understaffed, under-trained, and as a result, some of our elderly population suffers.

The signs of elder abuse may be very subtle, particularly when the abuse is something other than physical. A few things to look for are changes in the physical appearance, grooming or general behavior of the elder which might indicate they aren’t getting fed properly, or turned, or otherwise cared for; Unusual banking activity or other financial changes which seem out-of-character for that person; or Sudden changes in estate planning, or transfers of assets, deeds or trusts.

When you age, we all know that independence slowly shifts to dependence, and when our parents or grandparents then become reliant on others to feed them or care for them, or to help them pay their bills, watch the house, run their life, some take advantage of that situation.