If a caretaker does not get a doctor for an elderly person who is not of sound mind, what is their liability if the person dies?


The person who is not of sound mind is 71 and will not eat or get out of bed. He only wants alcohol which his wife gives to him.


Elder abuse is a serious offense. Being a caretaker is a hard job, which also carries much responsibility. The Massachusetts Appeals Court in Commonwealth v Cruz 2015 WL 5164397 (Mass. App. Sept. 4, 2015) recently held that

wanton or reckless conduct, which involves a high degree of likelihood a substantial harm will occur to another, may be based on the defendant’s actual knowledge or what a reasonable person should have known given the circumstances.  It can definitely be argued that giving an incapacitated person only alcohol is not what a reasonable person would do.

It sounds like you, as a concerned observer, may want to contact your local elder services agency. The man may be in need of protective services. If the couple is also in Quincy, you can contact South Shore Elder Services

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

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The elder law attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts and Salem, New Hampshire.

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