1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, if an older person or a vulnerable person suffers a personal injury or death that is caused by abuse or neglect or suffers a loss of money or property caused by exploitation, the person who caused the injury, death or loss is liable to the older person or vulnerable person for two times the actual damages incurred by the older person or vulnerable person.
2. If it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that a person who is liable for damages pursuant to this section acted with recklessness, oppression, fraud or malice, the court shall order the person to pay the attorney's fees and costs of the person who initiated the lawsuit.
3. The provisions of this section do not apply to a person who caused injury, death or loss to a vulnerable person if the person did not know or have reason to know that the harmed person was a vulnerable person.
4. For the purposes of this section:
(a) “Abuse” means willful and unjustified:
(1) Infliction of pain, injury or mental anguish; or
(2) Deprivation of food, shelter, clothing or services which are necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of an older person or a vulnerable person.
(b) “Exploitation” means any act taken by a person who has the trust and confidence of an older person or a vulnerable person or any use of the power of attorney or guardianship of an older person or a vulnerable person to:
(1) Obtain control, through deception, intimidation or undue influence, over the money, assets or property of the older person or vulnerable person with the intention of permanently depriving the older person or vulnerable person of the ownership, use, benefit or possession of that person's money, assets or property; or
(2) Convert money, assets or property of the older person with the intention of permanently depriving the older person or vulnerable person of the ownership, use, benefit or possession of that person's money, assets or property.
As used in this paragraph, “undue influence” does not include the normal influence that one member of a family has over another.
(c) “Neglect” means the failure of a person who has assumed legal responsibility or a contractual obligation for caring for an older person or a vulnerable person, or who has voluntarily assumed responsibility for such a person's care, to provide food, shelter, clothing or services within the scope of the person's responsibility or obligation, which are necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of the older person or vulnerable person. For the purposes of this paragraph, a person voluntarily assumes responsibility to provide care for an older or vulnerable person only to the extent that the person has expressly acknowledged the person's responsibility to provide such care.
(d) “Older person” means a person who is 60 years of age or older.
(e) “Vulnerable person” means a person who:
(1) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the person; and
(2) Has a medical or psychological record of the impairment or is otherwise regarded as having the impairment.
The term includes, without limitation, a person who has an intellectual disability, a person who has a severe learning disability, a person who suffers from a severe mental or emotional illness or a person who suffers from a terminal or catastrophic illness or injury.
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