How Can A California Elder Financial Abuse Attorney Help You?

If you or someone you know has been the victim of elder financial abuse, it's important to know how an attorney can help you, what it might cost and whether other agencies and organizations such as AARP, NCEA or state insurance departments can provide the right kind of assistance. J. Niley Dorit, a California attorney whose practice represents those injured by elder and dependent financial and nursing home abuse, provided the answers in a recent interview.

Question: When is a call to an elder financial abuse attorney appropriate?

Answer: You know, I’m a great believer in people’s natural instincts. I think if an elder or their family member instinctively is suspicious or has an uncomfortable feeling about an important financial transaction that’s gone on, that there’s probably a reason for the feeling and they should find out whether that reason is valid or justified.

At that point, contacting an California elder abuse attorney is certainly appropriate. The advantage being that there is no fee charged if an investigation does not show improper behavior – at least with my firm. If improper behavior is shown, then we can address it by either trying to settle a claim with whoever has taken the money or if they don’t want to settle, then by filing suit.

Question: How are attorneys compensated in elder financial abuse cases?

Answer: I handle these cases on a contingency basis. There’s no out-of-pocket expense to the client. I investigate the cases and if I determine that there is no case, or not a strong enough case, then there’s no expense to the client and I simply let them know the benefits of my investigation and then that’s the end of my involvement – with no charge to them.

If there is a case after an investigation, then I get paid a percentage based upon an agreement between me and the client. If I take the case and it's lost, then they don’t owe me any money. However, if the case is won, then they pay a percentage of what the recovery in the case is depending on our agreement.

Question: What can associations such as the AARP and NCEA do to help?

Answer: Those associations are really important in terms of shaping public policy and helping influence what kinds of laws get passed. I think it’s important for those agencies to generally be aware of issues affecting their constituents. However, in terms of a specific case, I think the only real way to have their situation properly addressed is to go directly to an attorney.

In some situations, for example with an annuity, we're looking at possibly getting the Department of Insurance involved because it looks like an improper annuity is being written for a client and it looks like the insurance company that’s underwriting that annuity is underwriting them for a lot of elder people for whom it’s inappropriate.

Then there’s a public agency that gets involved in the case in terms of looking at the insurance company and their general insurance practices. There are many of those cases pending right now involving annuities, insurance companies and elders.

If you are a loved is a victim of financial elder abuse, click here to contact an attorney to review your case free of charge.