What happens after I File a Lawsuit for Elder Abuse?


Vulnerable individuals in the community can often become the victims of abuse. In California, an Adult Protective Services (APS) organization in each county works to safeguard vulnerable individuals from maltreatment or neglect. Following receiving allegations, they will begin their inquiry into elder abuse claims and, as necessary, make arrangements for various defensive services. Victims may be traumatized or ashamed of what occurred, making it difficult for them to seek justice. 

Getting a restraining order

 After filing for elder abuse claim the first thing that will happen is that the court will issue a restraining order against the abuser. When a restraining order is issued, it is registered into a national computer system. This implies law enforcement officials throughout California are aware of the restraining order. If you are 65 or older or a dependent adult who is being mistreated, you can seek a restraining order to stop the abuse.

I can ask for a restraining order if

  • I am 65 years or older
  • I am between 18 and 64 but suffers from physical disabilities

What can a restraining order do?

  • Ensure the abuser stays away from my home and workplace
  • Stays away from my children and my children and relatives
  • The abuser does not have a gun

Temporary restraining order

 The court will issue me a temporary injunction if they think the elder abuse case is truthful. Ordinarily, temporary protection orders are in effects for 20 to 25 days or until the scheduled court hearing. It’s, therefore, important to keep track of the court date so that you can be prepared. If you have been abused and fear for your safety, it is important to seek help from an elder abuse attorney. The lawyer can work with the court on getting a permanent restraining order.  

Permanent restraining order

The court may grant a permanent protection order when I go for the session that was set for my interim protection order. While they often last up to 5 years, they are not permanent. After those five years, I can get a fresh protection order to remain protected. Therefore, it is important to keep updated on court dates, so that you can be prepared in case an order needs to be renewed. Furthermore, it is important to be proactive and work with a lawyer to file for an order if you feel unsafe.

 Steps of getting a restraining order

The first step of obtaining a restraining order is filling out court documents asking for a restraining order with an elder abuse lawyer. Secondly, at the end of the next working day, the court will determine whether or not to issue the order. Occasionally the judge makes a decision earlier. Next, If the court grants the sought orders, it will initially issue interim orders that will only last until the subsequent court session.

Where is the case trial included?

The elder abuse case trial date will be included in the documents. Before the trial date, I must deliver copies of all the restraining order documents to the abuser. This necessitates a person at least 18 years old hand-delivers a copy of each document to the restrained individual. The individual under restraint is entitled to respond to the restraining order request by submitting an explanation of their side of the story. The court will maintain or revoke the temporary restraining order following the hearing of the elder abuse claim. The permanent injunction might last up to five years if the court prolongs the interim. If the individual who will be restricted disobeys the restraining order, they might face jail time, a fine, or even both.

Fine for Elder financial abuse

After filing a lawsuit for elder abuse, the abuser will be fined for the damages caused. This is common in elder financial abuse. In Elder financial abuse, my caretaker or strangers can steal my savings or real estate. In such a case, if I file a lawsuit, the offenders are usually fined or jailed. In other cases, the abuser can get both penalties. After reporting the case, the prosecution has to conduct an investigation to prove various factors.

The factors they will need to prove are the fact that I am an elder, they should also prove that the stolen property belonged to me, and they also have to prove if the abuser is a caregiver or a stranger. The prosecution must show the components of the actual theft or fraud charge that I am reporting… with the additional stipulation that the accused victim be older.

Consequences of elder financial abuse

Financial elder abuse in California is penalized in the same way that theft in California is. This implies that the punishment is mainly determined by the worth of the money stolen, goods, or services. According to California law, the offender will only incur a misdemeanor charge if the cost is less than $950. If the worth was more significant than $950, authorities might charge the abuser a misdemeanor or a felony. If the abuser is convicted of a misdemeanor, they will pay me a fine of $1000. If the abuser is found guilty of a felony, they will pay me a fine of $10000.

Bottom Line

Elder abuse issues can be sophisticated, more so if you are not a legal expert. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced legal representative by your side when filing a lawsuit. Legal Elder abuse  professionals can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the entire process.

It’s also good to remember that once you have filed a lawsuit, the first step is to serve notice on the parties involved in order to inform them of your intent to sue. This will give them an opportunity to respond and potentially settle the case before it goes to trial. If they do not respond, then the next step is to file a complaint in court.

 Next, your legal team will work on preparing your case for trial and advocating on your behalf should you need it. Finally, after the trial has concluded, if you are successful in winning your case, you will be able to receive damages.  

* The articles provided on the Stalwart Law website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be used as professional legal advice or as a substitute for legal consultation with a qualified attorney.  

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