Florida Legislature Looks to Curb Abuse of the Elderly

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 people include:

  • Doctors;
  • 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.

Protective Orders

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.

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