Elder Abuse Attorney
COLUMBIA · LEXINGTON · WEST COLUMBIA · CAYCE
Very resourceful and efficient. Upfront and honest at all times. Very helpful and clear on what they can and will do for you. I highly recommend them..
Edward Howard – Client
I was referred to Mr. Callas from a friend, he was very professional and had a very pleasant environment. He demonstrated a great concern for his clients. He gave me clarity and understanding about my case and has either answered or returned calls when I needed assistance. I would highly recommend him. It was a great experience working with him.
Wilma Hiller – Client
Nick knows his chosen field of expertise – what to do, how to do it and when to do it. He also gives solid advice and always answered the phone personally whenever I called. He replies quickly to emails and did an excellent job. Highly recommended. Thank you Nick!
Trisha Thompson – Client
The Most Common Types of Elder Abuse in SC
These are the most common types of elder abuse, but there are other signs of elder abuse and neglect that family members should be on the lookout for, keeping in mind that, in many cases, an elderly person may not disclose the abuse due to fear or embarrassment.
Signs of physical elder abuse can include:
- Unexplained or poorly explained injuries,
- Unexplained broken bones, dislocated joints, bruises, or burns,
- Self-treated injuries,
- Use of multiple emergency rooms to evade suspicion,
- Delayed medical care for injuries, or
- A series of emergency care or hospitalizations for similar injuries
For example, a common type of financial abuse is where a person entrusted with a power of attorney to handle the elder person’s finances instead uses the elder person’s resources for their personal gain.
Signs of financial elder abuse may include:
- Missing belongings,
- Financial arrangements that are out of the ordinary and undocumented,
- Unexplained ATM withdrawals, or
- Evidence that bills are not being paid like unpaid utilities or eviction notices.
For example, something as basic as failing to turn an elderly person in their bed when they are unable to care for themselves can result in painful bed sores and a potential hospitalization.
Elder neglect can result in injury when a caregiver fails to provide:
- Shelter, heat, or air conditioning,
- Proper clothing,
- Medical care when needed,
- Appropriate food and water,
- Proper hygiene, or
- Protection from weather events or other dangers.
Psychological and Emotional Abuse
Psychological abuse could take the form of threats, intentional humiliation, unnecessary isolation, or preventing access to necessary resources like food or medical care.
Signs of elder emotional abuse can include:
- Depression or withdrawal from social situations,
- Unexplained fear,
- Mood swings and low self-esteem,
- “Acting out” in frustration or anger, or
- Avoiding eye contact with loved ones.
Elder sexual abuse includes forced or unwelcome sexual contact with an elderly person, or sexual contact with an elderly person who is unable to consent due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other disability.
The signs of elder sexual abuse may include:
- Unexplained bleeding from, bruising around, or pain in the genitals or anal region,
- Difficulty sitting or walking comfortably,
- Unexplained sexually transmitted disease,
- Torn or bloody underwear, or
- Unexplained panic attacks, emotional withdrawal, or suicidal thoughts.
Leaving an elder person at a hospital, a nursing home, with relatives who have not agreed to take care of the person, or anywhere without a formal arrangement to provide for the elder person’s needs can result in confusion, depression, and risk of physical harm.
The Most Common Questions We Get Asked About Elder Abuse Are…
Is elder abuse a felony?
SC Code Section 43-35-85 makes it a felony criminal offense to knowingly and willfully abuse, neglect, or exploit a vulnerable adult. The offense is punishable by as much as five years in prison. If the elderly person suffered great bodily injury, the offense is punishable by up to 15 years, and, if the abuse resulted in death, the offense is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
What are the different types of elder abuse?
Elder abuse generally falls into one of four categories:
- Exploitation: requiring an elderly person to perform labor against their wishes, taking the elderly person’s funds or resources for personal gain, or or making the elderly person purchase goods or services through coercion or fraud,
- Neglect: when a caregiver fails to provide necessary care, goods, or services,
- Physical abuse: intentionally inflicting physical injury on a vulnerable adult or allowing injury to be inflicted on a vulnerable adult by failing to act to protect them, and
- Psychological abuse: threats, harassment, or intimidation that causes fear, humiliation, degradation, agitation, confusion, or emotional distress.
Is elder abuse mandatory to report?
SC Code Section 43-35-25 makes it mandatory for a “physician, nurse, dentist, optometrist, medical examiner, coroner, other medical, mental health or allied health professional, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer, school teacher, counselor, psychologist, mental health or intellectual disability specialist, social or public assistance worker, caregiver, staff or volunteer of an adult day care center or of a facility, or law enforcement officer” to report elder abuse if they have “reason to believe that a vulnerable adult has been or is likely to be abused, neglected, or exploited.”
Any other person “who has actual knowledge that a vulnerable adult has been abused, neglected, or exploited” must also report the incident.
In either case, the report must be made within 24 hours, and failure to report is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison.
Can elder abuse be reported anonymously?
SC law does not expressly provide for anonymous reporting – if you are required to report under the statute, an anonymous report is not enough.
If you are listed as a mandatory reporter, or if you “have actual knowledge” that elder abuse has occurred or is occuring, you must report the incident and it cannot be anonymous.
Can elder abuse be reported after death?
If an incident of suspected elder abuse results in death, a mandated reporter must report the incident, and SC Code Section 43-35-35 says that the person must also “report the death and suspected cause of death to the coroner or medical examiner.”
Can elder abuse be unintentional?
For a person to be charged with the crime of elder abuse or neglect, the abuse must have been intentional or willful.
To recover damages for elder abuse or neglect in civil court, however, we must prove negligence – there was a standard of care, the facility or individual breached that duty of care, and it resulted in damages to the elderly person.
How can elder abuse be identified?
There are warning signs for different types of elder abuse, which could include:
- Verbal or nonverbal indicators from your loved one – if they say they are being abused, it should be investigated,
- Unexplained changes in physical appearance like bruises, cuts, scrapes, or other injury,
- Unexplained changes in the person’s finances like unauthorized ATM withdrawals, purchases, or bills going unpaid,
- Unexplained changes in emotional response like failure to make eye contact, depression, or anxiety, or
- Unexplained signs of neglect like malnutrition, failure to seek medical attention, or bedsores.
Where can elder abuse occur?
Elder abuse and neglect can happen anywhere, including nursing homes, elder care facilities, memory care facilities, group home settings, or in the home.
READY TO SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY?
It won’t cost you anything to speak with an attorney about your case.
1901 Gadsden Street, Suite B
Columbia, SC 29201
Monday – Friday
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
***Available after hours and by appointments***
Serving all of Lexington and Richland County.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.