With a growing elderly population, nursing homes are becoming more and more commonplace in any given area. According to U.S. News & World Report, the Lakeland area has 23 nursing homes. Placing an aging loved one in the care of a nursing home is a serious act of trust.
While most nursing home staff members are caring and compassionate professionals who treat seniors with dignity and respect, the potential for neglect and abuse is always there. If you suspect that a nursing home is mistreating one of your loved ones, a Lakeland elder abuse attorney can help ensure the abusive behavior ceases immediately. He or she can also review your situation to determine whether you can file a claim against the facility.
How a Lakeland Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
In an elder abuse case, an attorney may be able to help you achieve the following goals:
- First, your attorney can help ensure that the abusive or negligent conduct stops immediately. In some cases, your attorney may notify local, Florida state, or federal authorities so that they can conduct their own investigations.
- If criminal charges are filed against the nursing home or a member of its staff, your attorney can work with the authorities to make sure they have all necessary information to prosecute the nursing home.
- Next, your elder abuse attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and determine if a claim should be filed against the nursing home. If so, the attorney may be able to seek compensation for the harm caused to your loved one.
In cases involving particularly egregious conduct, the attorney may seek punitive damages, which are designed to punish the facility and discourage other nursing homes from engaging in similar types of misconduct. In cases involving negligent care or physical abuse, your attorney may evaluate the resident’s medical records and work with a medical expert to analyze the extent of the abuse that occurred at the nursing home.
Many nursing homes in Florida are owned by large corporations that operate hundreds of facilities throughout the country. These corporations have the resources to hire large teams of high-paid attorneys to defend negligence and elder abuse lawsuits. In some cases, nursing home corporations attempt to drag lawsuits out for years with the intention of wearing down the plaintiff and convincing him or her to accept a low settlement amount.
Our firm’s elder abuse attorneys have decades of combined experience opposing and thwarting these tactics and have the resources needed to take nursing home abuse cases to trial to recover proper compensation for our clients.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse Cases Handled By Our Attorneys
Our Lakeland attorneys handle nursing home abuse lawsuits involving the following types of misconduct:
- Negligent Care: A nursing home’s staff has a duty to adhere to the established standards of the medical profession. A nursing home may be negligently providing medical care if its staff does not follow these accepted standards. In negligent care cases, an attorney may file a lawsuit seeking damages against the owner and operator of the nursing home. Common examples of negligent care include poor access to medical services, failure to prevent dehydration, failure to assist with personal hygiene, and failure to maintain sanitary living conditions.
- Physical Abuse: Physical abuse in nursing homes includes hitting, shoving, force-feeding, forcing residents to stay in their rooms, and inappropriately using physical restraint.
- Sexual Abuse: Examples of sexual abuse include inappropriate touching, sexual assault, and nonconsensual sexual activity.
- In-Home Care Negligence and Abuse: Nurses and other in-home healthcare providers can be held liable for negligent care that occurs in a patient’s home. Negligence refers to a healthcare provider’s failure to adhere to the accepted standards of medical care with regard to the treatment of elders. For example, if an in-home nurse notices that a patient is developing bedsores and fails to take appropriate action, the nurse may be acting negligently.
- Mental Abuse: Our attorneys have experience handling mental abuse cases arising from inappropriate threatening, belittling, scolding, and cursing at patients.
- Financial Exploitation: Examples of financial exploitation of nursing home residents include modifying wills and other legal documents without the resident’s consent, writing or cashing checks from the resident’s account, or charging for unnecessary services.
- Negligent Hiring and Understaffing: The owners and operators of nursing homes have a duty to hire competent employees who are properly trained for the jobs they perform in a nursing home. Nursing homes also have a duty to hire enough staff members to adequately attend to the medical and daily living needs of all residents.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
The following are common indicators of nursing home abuse:
- Unexplained injuries;
- Frequent falls or bruising;
- Dehydration, hunger, or weight loss;
- Inability of nursing home staff to sufficiently explain a change in the resident’s medical condition;
- Lethargy, unexplained withdrawal from social activities, sudden change in alertness, or depression (these conditions may be a symptom of overmedication);
- Signs of being restrained, such as bruises on wrists or ankles;
- Unsanitary living conditions; and
- Disappearance of money or valuables.
If you observe any of these warning signs when visiting a loved in a Florida nursing home, he or she may be a victim of nursing home abuse.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
In many instances, residents of nursing homes fail to report the abusive behavior because of embarrassment or fear of retaliation. It is important that family members remain aware of potential signs of abuse. If you suspect that a Florida nursing home is mistreating one of your loved ones, please complete our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation.