Nursing homes are meant to be sanctuaries where elderly ones can live their golden years in comfort and dignity. Unfortunately, these facilities may not always live up to their name.
The reality is that elder abuse is common in nursing homes. What legal options are available to protect nursing home residents’ rights in Florida? What can you do if a loved one has experienced mistreatment in a Florida nursing home? Keep reading to learn about your rights and legal options.
By knowing your or your loved one’s rights as a nursing home resident in Florida, you can hold negligent or abusive parties accountable. Filing a lawsuit allows victims to be compensated for injuries due to abuse or neglect.
Legal Options for Abused Florida Nursing Home Residents
Has your loved one been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect? Seeking compensation for his or her pain and suffering is an important step toward justice.
One option for seeking justice is filing a nursing home lawsuit for compensation. The right attorney should be experienced in handling nursing home abuse cases. This way, he or she can properly guide you through the legal process.
He or she can also gather clear and convincing evidence to build a strong case for your loved one. By fighting for fair compensation, you also hold abusive nursing homes accountable.
Can you pursue a lawsuit against parties other than the nursing home facility? In certain circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation from caregivers or staff members who were involved in the abuse. This can be particularly relevant when there is evidence of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
How to Seek Compensation for Florida Nursing Home Abuse
An attorney can help determine what specific damages apply in your situation based on Florida law. They will guide you through each step. Your legal team can ensure that all possible options are explored while fighting relentlessly for your loved ones’ rights.
When pursuing compensation for damages related to nursing home abuse or neglect, you and your loved one may be eligible to recover:
- Economic damages: Economic damages may include medical expenses or rehabilitation costs. They also include future medical expenses.
- Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages encompass intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages may also be awarded when there is evidence of intentional harm or malicious intent. This is meant to punish the abusers.
No amount of money can fully compensate for the harm done to your loved one due to elder abuse or neglect. Yet, taking legal action can provide some sense of justice and closure. It also sends a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated within our society.
Additional Steps to Take If You Suspect Abuse in a Nursing Home
If you suspect abuse in a nursing home, it is important to take immediate action to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one.
Here are some steps you can take:
- Talk to your loved one: Approach your loved ones with compassion and ask them directly if they have experienced any mistreatment or abuse. Remember that they may hesitate to speak out due to fear or embarrassment.
- Document any signs or symptoms: Take note of any physical injuries, changes in behavior, or unexplained bruises or marks. Other signs are weight loss, poor hygiene, or emotional distress that your loved one may be exhibiting.
- Gather evidence: Collect any relevant documents or records that may support your suspicions of abuse. This could include medical records and photographs of injuries. A lawyer may also gather witness statements from staff members or other residents.
- Contact the appropriate authorities: Family members can report nursing home abuse and neglect to the police. They can also report an assisted living facility to state agencies like Adult Protective Services. They can also contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. These agencies can investigate the allegations of abuse and take punitive actions if necessary.
- Consider moving your loved one: Do you believe your loved one’s safety is at immediate risk? Consider finding alternative living arrangements for them while investigations are conducted.
During your initial consultation, your attorney can discuss options you can take to help your loved one.
Statute of Limitations for Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, you should act quickly to file a claim. In Florida, there is a time frame restricting your chance to pursue a lawsuit for nursing home abuse.
What is the Florida statute of limitations for assisted living facility abuse lawsuits? In general, victims and their families have 2 years from the date that the offense occurred. Waiting too long to take legal action could result in your case being dismissed.
Some exceptions may extend or pause this time limit. For example, suppose the victim was mentally incapacitated and unable to pursue legal action at the time. The time limit may not begin until they regain their mental capacity.
What if you discover evidence later on that was previously unknown or hidden from you regarding the abuse or neglect suffered by your loved one? You may be able to argue for an extension on your filing deadline.
Facts About Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
In Florida, there are specific laws in place to protect the rights of nursing home residents. These laws outline the duties that facilities have toward their residents’ health and safety.
Despite these, nursing home abuse is common and can take many forms. Residents of nursing home facilities may suffer from physical harm and exploitation. Sadly, victims are often abused by caregivers and healthcare providers.
Studies show that nursing home abuse cases are more common than we might think. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), approximately 1 in 10 adults aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse.
Underreporting is a significant issue when it comes to nursing home abuse. Many victims may fear retaliation or lack awareness about their rights and available resources.
As a result, incidents often go unreported and abusers continue their harmful behaviors unchecked. This leaves vulnerable residents subjected to further physical, emotional, or even sexual harm.
Types of Abuse and Neglect in Florida Nursing Homes
Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many different forms, all of which are deeply concerning:
- Physical abuse: This cruel form of abuse involves intentional harm or force being inflicted on a nursing home resident. It includes pushing and hitting victims.
- Emotional abuse: This abuse targets a person’s mental well-being. It may involve threats, humiliation, isolation, or manipulation.
- Sexual abuse: This is another horrifying type of nursing home mistreatment. It involves any unwanted sexual contact or activity forced upon an elderly resident who cannot give consent.
- Financial abuse: Financial exploitation happens when staff members steal an elderly person’s money. Abusers may also steal belongings or unlawfully withhold access to their finances. It also includes misuse of bank accounts, investments, property, or other forms of monetary fraud.
- Confinement or social isolation: Florida protects its residents’ civil and religious liberties. When residents are deprived of meaningful interactions and social activities, it can lower their quality of life. It also includes physically restraining victims against their will.
- Neglect: Neglect is perhaps one of the most common forms of mistreatment in nursing homes. It can manifest as failure to provide adequate food, water, or proper healthcare. It also involves withholding personal hygiene assistance.
Mental and physical abuse in nursing homes can also be perpetrated by other residents. One study reported, “Resident-to-resident aggression appeared to be so commonplace that care leaders perceived it as normal and had no strategy for handling it.”
Whether by staff or another resident, each type of abuse carries long-term consequences for victims.
Symptoms of Neglect in Florida Nursing Homes
Nursing home negligence is a serious issue that can have serious consequences for elderly residents. It occurs when the staff fails to provide the necessary care and attention, resulting in harm or injury to the resident.
Recognizing these signs and symptoms of nursing home neglect is crucial to take appropriate action:
- Poor personal hygiene: Have you noticed your loved one’s appearance has deteriorated? Are his or her clothes not being cleaned regularly? This could be indicative of neglect.
- Unexplained weight loss or malnutrition: Neglected residents may not be receiving proper nutrition. This is often due to inadequate meal planning or assistance with eating.
- Untreated medical conditions: When residents’ medical conditions are ignored, medications are not administered as prescribed, or they are not receiving necessary medical attention, they may be suffering neglect.
Signs of Florida Nursing Home Abuse
Physical abuse can manifest as unexplained:
Emotional abuse can leave victims feeling fearful, anxious, or withdrawn. They may exhibit sudden changes in behavior, such as:
- Being unusually quiet
- Signs of depression
- Withdrawal and self-isolation
- Lack of eye contact
Sexual abuse is a horrific crime that leaves behind both physical indicators and psychological effects, such as:
- Genital injuries
- Bloody undergarments
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Anxiety and mental anguish
- Sudden changes in mood
Nursing home abuse can push vulnerable residents to such a desperate point. The mistreatment and neglect they endure can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair.
What happens when abuse occurs repeatedly over time without any intervention or support for the victims? It can take an immense toll on their mental health. Sadly, some elderly ones may see suicide or self-neglect as their only escape from such unbearable circumstances.
Pursuing Justice for Florida Nursing Home Abuse Victims
Every elderly resident of nursing homes has rights guaranteed by Florida law. They deserve dignity, respect, and safety within these facilities.
The attorneys at the law firm of Gordon & Partners are experienced in handling nursing home abuse cases. Our team of compassionate attorneys has over 25 years of experience. We know how to represent injured victims successfully.
If your loved one was harmed due to nursing home abuse in Florida, call us as soon as possible. We understand the devastating impact that nursing home abuse can have on elderly individuals and their families. Our lawyers are committed to holding negligent abusers responsible for their actions.
Remember, if you suspect any form of abuse or neglect in a nursing home facility, don’t hesitate to take action. To discuss your nursing home abuse case with our compassionate lawyers, schedule a free case evaluation. Call 855-722-2552 or complete our online form to get started.