Legal remedies for financial elder abuse are available for those who are 65 years old and above. When states pass these laws, the legislature considers elders over the age of 65 as a disadvantaged class. Furthermore, cases of financial elder abuse are hardly ever prosecuted. There are also very few civil cases due to issues proving such abuse cases as well as the lack of remedies.
How to Prove Financial Elder Abuse?
Under fraud law, the plaintiff is required to show that a material fact has been misrepresented by the defendants. They also need to prove that it was an intentional misrepresentation. As a result, the plaintiff had suffered damages due to the fact that the plaintiff had relied on the misrepresentation. All these have to be shown for financial elder abuse to be proved. If a confidential relationship exists, then the aspects of reliance and intentional misrepresentation may not be as strict.
Often, the relationship between the abuser and the defendant is confidential. As such, constructive fraud may be shown in the case that the defendant did not reveal a key fact affirmatively, or if the defendant had placed his own interests above that of the elder. Even in cases where intentional misconduct is challenging to prove, negligence on the abuser’s part may be sufficient for the elder to recover, according to some statutes.
Under elder abuse statutes in certain states, once someone wrongfully takes personal or real property from another person who is 65 years old and above, it is considered to be financial abuse. What constitutes wrongful? According to these statutes, it can be presumed to be wrongful if a person knew or should have known about the potential harm it could cause elders to take their property, but does so despite this knowledge.
In these cases, if an elder is able to prove that the defendant took their property despite knowing that it would cause them harm, they would probably be able to prove that elder financial abuse has occurred. No more proof is required. The elder will be able to recover if it was highly likely such a misconduct had happened. This standard is similar to negligence. If the person who took the property should have been aware of the harm that it would cause, liability may exist.
In physical elder abuse, intentional misconduct or recklessness is needed for an elder to recover. However, it is not the same for financial abuse. Employers may be found to have liability if their employees wrongfully take elders’ property during their employment. For financial abuse, there is no limitation of damages which means that the elder will be able to recover all compensatory damages, including attorney fees and legal costs incurred during the lawsuit.
Weltz Law Can Help with Financial Elder Abuse Cases
Do you know someone who may have been a victim of financial elder abuse? The best course of action would be to hire an experienced attorney to advise elders on the next steps they should take. Attorneys at Weltz Law are experienced and knowledgeable, and will be able to provide help in this aspect. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your case.