Elder abuse cases in Oregon have steadily grown in recent years, from 30,000 reported cases in 2013 to 38,000 in 2014. As the median resident age in the state rises, the elderly population in Oregon is expected to grow by 36 percent from 2010 to 2020.
In its handbook on Oregon Elderly Abuse Reporting Requirements, the Oregon State Bar shared that 31% of reported elder abuse cases consisted of financial abuse and exploitation, followed by elderly neglect at 29%, verbal abuse at 21%, physical abuse at 14%, and sexual abuse at 2% of all cases.
What Is Financial Exploitation?
Oregon Revised Statutes Section 124.050 (4) considers any of the following acts as financial exploitation in connection with elderly abuse:
- Wrongfully taking property, assets or funds of an elderly
- Failing to use income or assets effectively for the support and maintenance of the elderly
- Misappropriating, misusing, or transferring any money belonging to the elderly without authorization
- Alarming an elderly through threats that the elderly person would reasonably believe.
ORS 124.050(7) mentions neglect as another form of elder abuse. This involves the failure to provide basic care or services that an elderly person needs for their health and safety. Neglect can take place at home or at licensed care facilities.
Mandatory Reporting Requirement
An adult protective services worker in Clatsop County recently reported that many elder abuse cases that have been reported involved financial exploitation or scams where the trust of the victim is often abused. Legislators sought to address the growing cases of financial abuse of elderly and disabled persons through a recent requirement for certain professionals to report suspected cases of abuse.
Starting January 1, 2015, attorneys, police officers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and other professionals now have the mandatory duty to report if they have:
- Reasonable cause to believe
- Abuse of a person 65 years or older has occurred
- Contact with an elder person or abuser
- Importance of personal injury attorney
Elder abuse may not only harm the victim physically, but can also put them in emotional suffering as they live in fear, shame, and embarrassment and are generally unable to, or fearful of, reporting their situation until severe harm or damage has set in.
If a loved one is exploited or neglected in any way that may be constitute elder abuse, it’s best to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately about it. Your lawyer can evaluate the situation and determine whether elderly abuse has occurred and identify the responsible parties. Indeed, there are severe financial penalties that the abused party can take advantage of, and which most lawyers are unaware. This includes a provision in the Oregon Abuse of Vulnerable Persons Act that provides for triple the acutal assessed damages, and an award for that party’s attorney fees and costs, should they prevail on that claim.
In Portland, Oregon, the attorneys at Dwyer WilliamsDretke, PC have over 75 years of collective personal injury experience, including elder abuse cases. We fight very hard for the rights of our elderly clients, to ensure that they are not only protected but also obtain the compensation that they legally deserve.
We invite you to call us today at (541) 617-0555 for a free case evaluation.