Palm Bay Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
You expect nursing homes to be a safe and comfortable place for your aged loved one. Although skilled nursing facilities are inspected annually by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, there is no guarantee that your loved one is safe from harm. A study conducted by the U.S. General Accountability Office showed that 70 percent of states overlooked at least one substandard issue. Fifteen percent of state surveys missed reporting actual harm or jeopardy of residents.
It is no wonder that concerned family members want to know the best course of action if there is nursing home abuse or neglect. State and federal laws regulate nursing homes. However, most people do not have a working knowledge of elder abuse laws. That is why you are invited to speak with a Palm Bay nursing home abuse law firm about your specific situation. Please call (800) 516-4783 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Is Rarely Reported
Nursing home abuse is an underreported crime. In a New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, there were 24 unreported incidents for every reported case. In Florida, where nearly 73,000 people live in nursing homes, the risk of abuse or neglect could be even higher. Most victims do not speak out for fear of retaliation or that their accusations will be dismissed. It is essential for family members to look out for their loved ones.
Some Seniors Are More at Risk for Abuse
Perpetrators of elder abuse look for the most vulnerable victims. Those most at risk include:
- Seniors with disabilities
- Dementia patients
- Residents with little family or social support
- Patients with limited income or resources
- Seniors who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
How to Recognize Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Complaints of abuse or neglect should be taken seriously. You should also know the typical signs of abuse, such as:
- Weight loss or other signs of malnutrition
- Unexplained bruises, bumps, or welts
- Unkempt appearance like body odor and greasy hair
- Bed sores or skin ulcers
- Dry, papery skin or other signs of dehydration
- Depression, anxiety, or attempts at self-harm
- Torn, stained, or soiled clothes or bedding
- Unexplained cash withdrawals or credit card charge
There Is No Time to Waste in Reporting Abuse
If you suspect abuse or neglect, you should act quickly. Your loved one’s health, well-being, and life depend on you. Also, Florida has a statute of limitations of two years from the time that the abuse started or was reported. It takes time to investigate, document, and report abuse. Here are some tips for reporting abuse:
- Keep a written record of your communication with the nursing home administrator.
- Contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to file a formal complaint.
- Document any unexplained injuries and safeguard all medical bills.
- Consult with a Palm Bay nursing home abuse law firm. An attorney has the resources to help you and your loved one, particularly if you live out of state and cannot be physically present. Please call (800) 516-4783 for a free, confidential consultation.
How a Palm Bay Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm Helps You
If you have reported the abuse but nothing has changed, it may be time to consult a lawyer. Depending on the situation, the state or county may file criminal charges against the nursing home. You have the right to file a civil lawsuit whether there is a criminal case or not. You may be eligible for compensation if the nursing home is at fault for causing physical, mental, or financial harm.
A Palm Bay nursing home abuse attorney will look for indications of liability which is different from a criminal case, where the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no guilt assigned in a nursing home civil lawsuit, only fault. A civil lawsuit requires only that the defendant, in this case, the nursing home, is more likely than not to be at fault.
There Are Four Factors that Determine Liability in a Civil Lawsuit
These factors are:
- Duty of care refers to the legal responsibilities of the nursing home to provide a safe, clean environment that is free of abuse and neglect.
- Breach of duty is also called negligence and refers to a nursing home that does not uphold its duty of care.
- Causation is determining if the nursing home caused harm to the patient.
- Damages are the physical, mental, or financial harm caused to the patient by the party at fault.
If the nursing home caused injuries that led to the death of your loved one, you may be entitled to compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit. There are other common recoverable damages that you could receive in a nursing home lawsuit, such as:
Common Recoverable Damages in a Nursing Home Lawsuit
- Medical bills because of the abuse, injury, or neglect
- Losses related to moving the victim to another facility
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Domestic services such as caregivers or specialists
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Loss of companionship
Sometimes a nursing home case is settled out of court. Perhaps the company or management wants to avoid potential negative publicity from a trial. However, an attorney who has handled similar cases will not hesitate to litigate if a settlement cannot be reached.
No Attorney Fees if No Recovery
Nursing home abuse and neglect should be exposed and held accountable. You and your elderly loved one have a right to explore all legal options. If you suspect that a loved one is being abused or neglected, please call (800) 516-4783 for a free consultation. There is no cost or obligation, and you will not pay attorney fees unless the firm is successful in recovering damages.