What You Need to Know about Elder Abuse Laws in Arizona
Elder abuse is any mistreatment of an older person that causes harm or loss. This can include physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Elder abuse laws typically include provisions that make it a crime to knowingly or recklessly cause serious physical or emotional harm to an elderly person or to commit certain financial crimes against them. These laws also often establish procedures for reporting and investigating elder abuse and may provide for the protection of victims of elder abuse.
What Is Elder Abuse?
In Arizona, elder abuse is defined as the infliction of physical or emotional abuse or financial abuse, exploitation or violation of any personal rights of a vulnerable adult. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, ch. 36, art. 1, sec. 3601.)
Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and neglect. Physical abuse of an elderly person can include hitting, slapping, shoving, kicking, biting, choking, burning, or otherwise causing physical harm.
Emotional abuse of an older adult can include yelling, threatening, humiliating, or otherwise causing emotional distress. Sexual abuse of an elderly person can include unwanted touching, rape, or other sexual acts. Financial abuse of an elderly person can include stealing money or property, using the person’s money or property without permission, or otherwise misusing the person’s money or property.
Neglect of an elderly person can include failing to provide the person with food, water, shelter, clothing, or medical care.
Elder Abandonment Is a Type of Elder Abuse
Elder abandonment is a type of elder abuse that occurs when someone responsible for providing care to an elderly person deserts or abandons them. This is usually considered abandonment when done on purpose and is permanent.
If an individual abandons or deserts an elderly person without providing the necessary care or supervision, they may be charged with a crime. Depending on the severity of the neglect, the charges could range from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Elder Neglect Is a Serious Crime
Elder abuse and neglect are serious crimes in the state of Arizona. If someone commits these crimes, they may be charged with a felony and face criminal punishment.
Witnesses of elder abuse may need to testify in court to help protect the victim. This can be a daunting task, but it is important to report the abuse. By doing so, you may be able to help protect other elderly victims from the same perpetrator.
The civil case allows victims to be compensated for damages they have suffered. This could include getting an injunction from the court to shut down the facility at fault.
Filing an Elder Abuse Case
The statute of limitations is the amount of time one has to file a claim after the incident. Once the statute of limitations has expired, an individual can no longer file a claim. With elder abuse, the statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of case and the state in which the case is being filed. It is important to consult with an attorney to determine your case’s applicable statute of limitations.
Melanie Bossie, Mary Ellen Reilly and Donna Oh founded Bossie, Reilly, and Oh to continue their mission to hold nursing homes, hospitals, group homes and assisted living facilities accountable for the abuse and neglect of elders and vulnerable adults. Our firm has litigated hundreds of elder abuse and neglect cases and recovered many six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts for our clients.
We firmly believe that the elderly and most vulnerable in our community deserve a voice, and we take pride in advocating for them. If you need an elder abuse lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, get in touch with us today.