Nursing Home Abuse FAQs

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Most nursing home neglect and abuse cases are settled outside of court. However, an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer will be willing to take your case to court if it is in your best interest.

Before removing a loved one out of a home, it is important to make alternative arrangements for their care. Some options include moving the resident to another nursing home, finding a home-health service, or hiring a live-in nurse, if possible.

In determining what your case is worth, the court will examine several factors, including:

  • The duration of abuse
  • The type of abuse inflicted
  • Types of injuries sustained
  • Related current and future medical costs
  • Pain and suffering.

Your attorney will also use similar, previous cases to show the types of damages that may be awarded in your particular situation. These factors can be used in settlement negotiations, or as evidence if the case goes to court. It is hard to estimate an actual amount without a review of the evidence and documentation of your specific case.

Typically, there are three legal avenues you can pursue: a formal investigation, a civil lawsuit, or criminal litigation.

A formal investigation by adult protective services may provide immediate relief for the resident and hopefully prevent future neglect and abuse in the facility.

A civil lawsuit by the resident and/or his or her family against the facility will seek compensation for losses related to the abuse, including pain and suffering.

Criminal litigation is typically reserved for extreme cases where the facility’s behavior and failure to meet state and federal regulations requires the nursing home to be held accountable for their actions in a court of law.

This will depend on the severity of the complaint, as well as the circumstances surrounding the abuse and/or neglect. In most situations, the nursing home administrator is notified of the resident’s complaints. The administrator is then required to investigate the complaint and report to a state agency.

In severe situations, especially where medical attention is necessary, the resident should be evaluated by a private doctor or hospital unaffiliated with the facility. In these cases, it is wise to contact local and state agencies, which may conduct an investigation of the facility.

Different states have different definitions of “neglect” at nursing homes. However, in Florida, it’s defined as “the failure or omission on the part of the caregiver… to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the vulnerable adult, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services…”

Signs of neglect include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Failure to receive medication
  • Over-medication
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Unexpected contraction of illnesses
  • Poor hygiene
  • Depression

A lawsuit can be filed by either the resident or by a family member on their behalf. Often times, this will depend on the mental state and abilities of the resident.

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