Understanding California’s Elder Abuse Act

An informative guide provided by our San Diego nursing home injury lawyers

California’s Elder Abuse Act has been in existence in its current state since 1991 and is officially known as the Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (hereinafter “EADACPA” or simply, the “Elder Abuse Act”). The Elder Abuse Act, found at Welfare & Institutions Code §15600 et seq., sets forth a very detailed body of law that has since been interpreted by the California Supreme Court as providing for a distinct and recognized cause of action – that being a statutory cause of action for Elder Abuse and/or Neglect under Welfare & Institutions Code §15600 et seq. When properly proven, a claim for Elder Abuse and/or Neglect provides for certain enhanced remedies that are otherwise unavailable under other common law causes of action.  Our firm has successfully settled many cases in which nursing homes have violated the terms of this legal code

The Elder Abuse Act was created out of concern that the elderly members of our society are not receiving the care and attention they deserved – and are in fact being abused and neglected. In enacting the Elder Abuse Act, the California Legislature expressly recognized that elders (defined as a person greater than the age of 65) and dependent adults (generally defined as persons between the ages of 18 and 64 who confined to live in 24-hour medical facilities and/or who are not able to care for themselves due to medical disorders) are particularly subjected to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and that the state has a distinct responsibility to protect these persons. Should a patient suffer any form of abuse or neglect, they will be entitled to seek compensation by hiring a California Elder Abuse Act Lawyer and filing a lawsuit.

In its preamble, the Elder Abuse Act expressly states that the Legislature “desires to direct special attention to the needs and problems of elderly persons, recognizing that these persons constitute a significant and identifiable segment of the population and that they are more subject to risks of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.” (See, Welfare & Institutions Code §15600). The statute further states that most elders and dependent adults who are at the greatest risk of abuse or neglect by their caretakers suffer “physical impairments and other poor health that place them in a dependent and vulnerable position.” (Ibid.) Furthermore, it was the express intent of the Legislature in enacting the Elder Abuse Act to provide incentives through enhanced civil remedies to redress the reckless acts and/or omissions within the Act’s ambit that are perpetrated against our elders, noting: “The Legislature further finds and declares that infirm elderly persons and dependent adults are a disadvantaged class, that cases of abuse of these persons are seldom prosecuted as criminal matters, and few civil cases are brought in connection with this abuse due to problems of proof, court delays, and the lack of incentives to prosecute these suits…. It is the further intent of the Legislature in adding Article 8.5 (commencing with §15657) to this chapter to enable interested persons to engage attorneys to take up the cause of abused elderly persons and dependent adults.” (Ibid.)

How our California Elder Abuse Act lawyers can help

Our attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of not just the California Elder Abuse Act, but all California laws as they relate to elder abuse. We have successfully settled many nursing home litigation cases in the past, and are passionate about helping those who have been neglect, abused, or have had their rights violated in a nursing home. Contact our firm today to see what we can do for you.