New York elder abuse lawyers and others committed to protecting seniors around the state, including criminal prosecutors, may soon have a powerful tool to help them accomplish that goal. Several state lawmakers have proposed a bill to protect seniors from both financial and physical abuse. The bill would not make what is known as elder abuse a crime, but it would give prosecutors more flexible tools to go after those taking advantage of the elderly.
It would also help victims and their loved ones who choose to file a civil NY elder abuse lawsuit recover compensation.
A recent study at Cornell University found that the incidence of elder abuse is high – roughly 76 out of every 1,000 New York seniors suffers emotional, physical, or financial abuse at the hands of caregivers. Unfortunately, it also found that about 90% of the abuse is by relatives. If the new bill is passed, it would help prosecutors obtain the evidence needed to bring charges against abusive caregivers.
Bill would target financial and physical abuse of elderly
The bill, proposed by both Democrats and Republicans, would make it easier for banks to curtail financial abuse of seniors by denying suspicious transactions. It would also make it easier for prosecutors to obtain medical records in suspected NY elder abuse cases. All reports of elder abuse, which currently go to various disconnected agencies, would be pooled together in a central database.
Some of the other changes the bill would make include:
- Expanding the definition of a caregiver so that people like volunteers, appointed guardians, and others who assume the responsibility of caring for a senior can be prosecuted under NY’s law against “endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person”
- Allowing both prosecuting and defending attorneys to preserve the testimony of victims over the age of 75
- Allowing an elderly victim to bring a caregiver when testifying before a grand jury
- Allowing a prosecutor to obtain the medical records of a patient with a mental disability
Elder abuse is a growing problem
Unfortunately, it is believed that nationwide, only one out of every 14 cases of elderly abuse is ever reported.
Closer to home, the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study has found that for every one case of elder abuse that is reported, there are 24 cases that remain unreported. The elderly population is also rising in numbers – it is expected that by 2050, one out of every five Americans will be over the age of 65. Considering these factors together, there is a frightening potential for elder abuse without remedy or recourse.
If you believe you or a loved one is a senior citizen who has been the victim of physical, emotional, or financial abuse, you may be entitled to compensation.
To speak with a New York elder abuse lawyer, contact Edelman, Krasin & Jaye for a free consultation. Our NY personal injury attorneys put the well-being of our clients first and have obtained successful verdicts and settlements for our clients in nursing home abuse cases in the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island. Call 1-800-469-7429 to explore your options.