The Florida legislature is seeking to protect seniors in a proposed bill.
The potential legislation has been put forward in response to recent
reports that more and more people are abusing the elderly. This new form of abuse
is happening under the guise of helping the elderly with their finances,
but in reality appointed guardians are taking advantage of the elderly
by taking their money.
Senate Bill 1226 aims to expand Florida's Department of Elder Affairs
and charge it with overseeing professional guardians of the elderly. It
would further give the department power to investigate and discipline
guardians who abuse their positions of trust. Additional legislation arising
out of the House and Senate would mandate that professional guardians
report elder abuse and neglect.
Measures the Elderly Can Use
This story highlights the pernicious problem that is elderly abuse. No
senior citizen should have to put up with abuse or neglect. Florida law
does have several ways that the elderly can fight abuse and neglect. The
Pittman Firm is able to help with all of these areas of law.
Mandatory Reporting Requirements
Florida law requires that people report elderly abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
The law specifically requires people in positions of trust and who have
close contact with senior citizens to report abuse. Examples of those
- Hospital personnel;
- Nursing home staff;
- All state, city, and county employees;
- Bank workers.
If anyone, and especially if someone who works with the elderly, knows
that a senior citizen is being abused, neglected, or exploited, then they
must report it to the central abuse hotline. If any of these people fail
to report it, then they should be held accountable if the abuse, neglect,
or exploitation of the senior citizen continues.
Beyond holding those responsible for abuse accountable, the law provides
other measures to help abused, neglected, or exploited senior citizens.
If a Panama City senior citizen is forced to endure abuse, they can sue
for a protective order from the courts to prevent the abusers from having
any contact with the senior citizens. Such a protective order can be against
family, friends, or others that are actively abusing, neglecting, or exploiting
senior citizens. This includes professional guardians that have already
been appointed to look over someone's finances. The Pittman Firm is
more than capable of enforcing this area of law to help protect Panama
City senior citizens.
Civil Suit for Damages
In addition to the mandatory reporting requirements and protective orders,
senior citizens can recover for damages done to them through a civil lawsuit.
Abuse and neglect of elders in the Panama City should never be tolerated.
Florida law allows senior citizens to recover for their losses where someone
has breached a duty to them and caused injury. That means that if someone
had the responsibility to provide care, report abuse, or treat any senior
citizen reasonably, and failed to do so, they should be held responsible.
Hopefully the Florida legislature will be able to pass legislation that
further protects the elderly.