Miami Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
There are nearly 700 nursing homes in Florida, many of which are well-run facilities where families can trust that their aging loved ones are being looked after by caring staff. However, this may not always be the case.
As there is such a high demand for nursing homes and caretakers for the elderly, that this has become an industry that some try to exploit. With the high price that families pay for nursing home care, there are people who have found it to be a lucrative business rather than a necessary health care service.
Cases of nursing home abuse can be especially upsetting because we place trust in the staff to take care of loved ones who are elderly and cannot fend for themselves. To victimize people who are already vulnerable and fragile seems unfathomable, but it is an unfortunate reality for some families. The worst part is that the victims of nursing home mistreatment are the least able to fight back or protest.
If you suspect that your loved one may have been the victim of abuse or neglect, a Miami nursing home abuse lawyer will help you build a solid case in order to reach an injury settlement that brings accountability to the perpetrators of abuse and that offers you the compensation you deserve.
Recognizing Abuse or Neglect
The rights of nursing home residents in Florida are addressed in Code of Law F.S. § 400.022, which include the right to be treated with dignity and the right to live in a safe, abuse-free environment.
It is not uncommon for family members to, at first, turn a blind eye to signs of harm because it can be painful to even entertain the idea that the home they have chosen for an aging loved one is actually abusing its residents. If the residence is well-kept and the staff kind, it can be even more difficult to admit that there may be mistreatment happening.
Nursing home abuse is frequently unaddressed or unreported because the residents who are being victimized may not speak out for fear of repercussions or may be unable to accurately explain what has been happening.
Often residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia, diabetes, cancer and other ailments that may pose yet another obstacle to their ability to report or fight against mistreatment. It is usually up to the resident’s family to take action if abuse is suspected.
Common physical signs of nursing home abuse or neglect that warrant the attention of a nursing home abuse lawyer in Miami include:
- Bruises, cuts, swelling, scars
- Sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures
- Broken glasses or personal objects
- Scars or marks from wrist restraints
- Bruises or bleeding around genitals/breasts
- Infections like UTIs or sexually transmitted diseases
- Torn clothing (particularly undergarments)
- Weight loss
Other indicators of abuse or neglect may include:
- An overdose on medications
- Loved ones are not allowed alone time with residents
- Residents manifest symptoms of trauma like rocking, muttering, startling easily
- Dirty sheets and bedding or clothes (lack of hygiene)
- Wanders out and away from home frequently
Loved ones should be aware of and document any incidents of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or negligence that a resident of a nursing home or assisted living facility may present. If it cannot be explained or resolved by nursing home staff, it may be time to take legal action.
Building a Case
Cases of nursing home abuse in Florida are similar to medical malpractice suits in that the burden of evidence falls on the plaintiffs who make a lawsuit against a nursing home or assisted living facility that has allegedly been mistreating a loved one and other residents.
Laws regarding the grounds for a lawsuit against nursing homes for abuse and negligence are articulated in F.S. § 400.102 and F.S. § 408.801, while possible penalties for nursing homes and assisted living facilities that fail to meet state standards of care are detailed in F.S. § 400.121, which includes a fine of $500 for each offense.
If there are sufficient grounds to allege mistreatment, the signs of abuse should be clearly documented as a crucial aspect to building a case for nursing home abuse is to collect evidence. Photos of injuries and dates of injuries as well as testimony by the resident can be convincing evidence for a case.
Expert witnesses such as other care providers in nursing homes or assisted living facilities may also be necessary to build a solid case for abuse, which a Miami nursing home abuse attorney can provide for a family who may not know how to access these types of resources.
How An Attorney Can Help
With so many people in need of nursing home care, it is important to speak up and take action against providers that are taking advantage of the elderly, who deserve the best care possible as they are aging. Fighting for your loved one will also protect other families who have older relatives living in homes, where the staff or managers must be held accountable for their actions.
If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact our firm today to learn all the ways a Miami nursing home abuse lawyer can defend your case to bring the abusers to justice and peace of mind to you and your family.