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Elder Abuse: When a Mandated Reporter Doesn’t Speak Up [infographic]

Mandated reporters who fail to report suspected elder abuse in Nevada may face civil and criminal consequences. Social workers, nurses, educators, doctors, and other professionals are required to report abuse that they know about or that they should have known about.

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The criminal consequences of failing to report abuse may include misdemeanor convictions and fines. In addition, professionals may be civilly liable to pay damages for the harm that was caused to elderly victims after they should have made their reports. Finally, failing to report abuse may lead to licensure problems.

Mandated Reporting Laws

Like all other states, Nevada has mandated reporting laws that apply to professionals who work with vulnerable populations, including children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. The professionals are trained to identify the signs of abuse that might be occurring, and they are required to report abuse. While reports are not always required, it is best for professionals to make reports any time that they suspect that a person is getting abused so they can get the victim help and avoid the potential repercussions of failing to report.

Criminal Penalties

Under Nevada law, multiple professionals are mandated reporters, including doctors, funeral home personnel, nurses, social workers, dentists, optometrists, and others. These professionals must report suspected elder abuse, exploitation, neglect, isolation, or abandonment to the Aging and Disability Services Division of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. If they willfully fail to report abuse, the professionals may face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Civil Liability

In addition to criminal charges, mandated reporters who fail to report elder abuse may also be civilly liable to pay damages to the abuse victims. Failures to report claims fall under the legal principle of negligence. People may be found to be negligent if they have a duty to report and breached the duty of care. If the breach was the direct or proximate cause of injury and harm to the victim, the professional may be found to be liable to pay damages for the harm that was caused to the victim from the time of the omission going forward.

Mandated reporters may also face disciplinary actions from their state licensing boards and the potential for job losses. Mandated reporting laws are in place to encourage trained professionals to report elder abuse and neglect that they suspect.

The George Bochanis Injury Law Offices was established in 1985. Before opening his office, Mr. Bochanis spent years representing major insurance companies in litigation cases and prior to that was a law clerk to a prominent local district court judge. Our offices have grown from a small one person setting to having its own well known office location on South Ninth Street in Downtown Las Vegas with 15 employees.

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