Cheryl and Eric Mills were arrested for kidnapping and elder abuse after suddenly removing an elderly relative from a care facility without permission. Police found the Mills and the elderly individual 90 miles away from the care home in Stockton. The 88-year-old victim was not harmed during the incident, but the individual has continuous health concerns and is unable to give consent, according to a detective on the case. Neither of the Mills had permission to remove the individual from the facility and did not have the capability to care for the elderly person as was necessary.
Civil Liability for Elder Abuse
When an elderly individual is abused by a relative, caretaker, or other person and suffers physical, psychological, or financial injuries, he or she has the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. Any person who harms an elderly person can be held civilly liable in court for the economic and non-economic damages associated with the abuse. For instance, if the Mills had harmed their elderly relative during this incident, the individual would have had a cause of action against them.
Criminal Elder Abuse in California
Elder abuse leads to more than civil liability, it is also a crime in California. Under Penal Code Section 368, it is unlawful for a person, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, to willfully cause or permit an elder or dependent adult to suffer. The Mills may have been charged with elder abuse not because of physical or psychological violence, but due to removing their elderly relative from the place where the individual was safe and could receive necessary medical attention. If the elderly relative needed medications and medical treatments and could no longer receive them due to being in the Mills’ care, then the Mills knowingly put that individual into harmful and potentially deadly circumstances.
When a person is charged and convicted of elder abuse, it can be used as evidence in a civil suit against the offender. While a criminal conviction can lead to imprisonment and fines, a civil suit ensures the victim receives compensation directly.
Are You Concerned About a Loved One in a Nursing Home?
If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home and you are worried that another relative or family member may try to remove him or her from the facility, speak with an elder abuse attorney about your legal options. If you believe your loved one is not capable of consenting to leaving the facility or taking a trip, you may need to speak with a physician about having him or her deemed mentally incompetent.
If your loved one was improperly removed from his or her facility, contact the Brod Law Firm right away. You or your loved one may have the right to move forward with a civil action against the individuals who took him or her out of the home. There may also be evidence of a criminal act that should be turned over to the police or local prosecutor.
To learn more about protecting a loved one in a nursing home, call the Brod Law Firm today at (800) 427-7020 and schedule a free consultation.
(image courtesy of Mark Rabe)