Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Big Pine Key30338 Overseas Highway, Unit 7
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
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Nursing Home Attorneys in Big Pine Key
As people grow older, they may require assistance handling their everyday needs, like grooming, errands, and medical care. Certain medical conditions can make it difficult for older adults to function independently. When their capabilities begin to decline, family members may decide that a nursing home or assisted living facility is necessary.
While most older adults feel comfortable with their new surroundings, some fall victim to abuse or neglect. Family members should look out for warning signs of mistreatment of their loved ones, as sometimes older people feel uncomfortable talking about their troubles or aren’t able to communicate effectively.
If you believe your family member is a victim of abuse or mistreatment in a nursing home, you’ll want to take action quickly. Nursing home attorneys in Big Pine Key can protect your loved one from further harm. To find out more, schedule a consultation with Morgan & Morgan today.
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Why Do You Need a Nursing Home Attorney?
Hiring a nursing home attorney is the first step to helping your loved one receive the proper care they need in their later stages of life. If you believe your family member is the victim of abuse or neglect, you don’t want the situation to continue. Cases of abuse and neglect don’t get better on their own; usually, they worsen.
Nursing home attorneys in Big Pine Key can evaluate your concerns and figure out the appropriate steps to take. As your lawyer, we will:
- Determine whether your loved one may be the victim of abuse or neglect
- Contact the authorities, including the police and Florida’s Department of Health
- Arrange for a transfer of your loved one to another facility during the investigation
- File a complaint or suit against the nursing home or assisted living facility
- Obtain expert witness testimony concerning the abuse or neglect
- Demand financial compensation for your loved one’s treatment
- Bring a lawsuit against the negligent or abusive parties
- Negotiate a settlement or represent you at trial
Nursing home cases are often complex and lengthy. You want to ensure that the responsible parties face justice for their wrongdoings. Pursuing legal action against them can protect other older adults from experiencing the same abuse and neglect that your family member did.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
There are five common types of nursing home abuse. You’ll want to understand what they are and the warning signs that older adults typically exhibit.
Physical abuse occurs when a staff member or other patient physically hurts an older person. Often, older people in nursing homes are frail and can’t protect themselves from younger, stronger individuals. Physical abuse includes kicking, punching, or slapping an older adult.
Warning signs of physical abuse include:
- New unexplained cuts or bruises
- Broken bones
- Red marks on the skin
Staff members who commit physical abuse sometimes have a history of prior violence or aggression. They may vent their frustrations on older adults because they know they can’t fight back. Pay close attention if your loved one seems to fear certain people or avoids talking about them.
Emotional abuse is hazardous since words don’t leave physical marks. You may not know that your loved one is suffering unless they tell you or their behavior seems abnormal. In some cases, people observe emotional abuse when they appear for an unexpected visit with their loved one.
Symptoms of emotional abuse include:
- Attempting to control the person’s activities
- Regularly insulting the individual
- Using threats to make the person feel unsafe
- Isolating the person from other individuals
Older adults who suffer from emotional abuse may appear withdrawn, depressed, or anxious. They may avoid activities they used to enjoy.
If a staff member neglects your loved one, you’ll likely notice signs in their behavior or environment. Neglect occurs when nursing home staff members fail to attend to your loved one’s needs. They may not administer medication in a timely fashion or forget to help the older adult with their grooming needs.
Signs of neglect include:
- Not changing bedsheets regularly
- Failing to keep the living area clean
- Not checking on the older person regularly
- Keeping the older adult in dirty clothes and not bathing them
- Not helping the older adult with their bathroom needs
- Failing to provide food and drinks, resulting in dehydration or weight loss
- Missing medication doses or administering unnecessary prescriptions
Neglect can result in worsening health conditions and may be fatal. It’s important to talk with the nursing home facility administrators if you believe staff members aren’t caring for your loved one appropriately.
Many older adults don’t have the cognitive capability to give informed consent for sexual activity. Sometimes, staff members may attempt to take advantage of them sexually. Sexual abuse may also occur between two nursing home residents.
Signs of sexual abuse in older people include:
- Unexplained contraction of an STD
- Bruises on the genital area
- Bleeding from the genitals
- Worsening depression or anxiety
- Discomfort around certain people
Sexual abuse leads to unwanted physical and emotional effects. If you suspect sexual abuse, you’ll want to transfer your loved one to a new facility right away and press charges against the abuser.
Older adults usually have some savings or investments that they rely on in their later years. Predatory people may seek to take financial advantage of them through manipulation or stealing. It’s essential to keep a close eye on your loved one’s finances, especially if their cognitive abilities aren’t as strong as they were in the past.
Warning signs of financial abuse include:
- Missing money from bank accounts
- Missing credit cards or bank statements
- Expensive items absent from their living space
- Change to a nursing home resident’s will
- Staff member accompanying your loved one to the ATM for large withdrawals
- Someone who appears very interested in your loved one’s financial affairs
In a financial abuse case, you’ll want to take quick action. If the perpetrator believes no one is watching your loved one’s finances, they’ll likely steal more money, which can put a severe dent in an older person’s ability to pay for their future needs.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
If you suspect your loved one is suffering mistreatment at their nursing home or assisted facility, take the following steps:
If an older person is in immediate danger of harm, contact the police. You should notify them in cases when the abuse is likely to result in physical repercussions. When the police arrive, they’ll look into the matter and likely begin a criminal investigation. Make sure that you provide them with a statement of what’s happening and any evidence.
Contact the Nursing Home Administrators
Nursing home administrators are responsible for ensuring that their residents are safely cared for. If you believe a staff member is mistreating your loved one, call the administrators and let them know. Give them all the information you have. You should also send a written statement, including copies of your evidence.
Make sure to keep track of all communication with the nursing home administrator. If they don’t take action to resolve your case, you may have a claim against them.
Gather Documentation and Evidence
Take photos of all indicators of abuse and neglect. You should photograph evidence of neglect, like unchanged bedsheets and poor living conditions. If your loved one suffers physical injuries from abuse, take them to a physician for medical treatment.
Make sure to keep all history of medical bills and treatment records. You will need them if you decide to file a lawsuit.
Transfer Your Loved One to a New Care Center
Make immediate plans to move your loved one to a new nursing home. You can discharge them from their current facility and give them space in your home until you can find a safe place for them to live.
It’s best to remove them from the surroundings immediately, especially if the facility’s administrators don’t take action to prevent future abuse and neglect.
Reach Out to Nursing Home Attorneys in Big Pine Key
Nursing home attorneys in Big Pine Key can take legal steps to protect your loved one from further harm. They’ll handle your case’s legal and administrative details and determine who should be held accountable.
Cases of abuse and neglect are emotionally challenging for you and your loved one, so having someone to support you is vital.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home in Big Pine Key?
Under the Florida statute of limitations, you have up to two years to file a lawsuit against a nursing home on behalf of your loved one. However, Florida law also permits delayed discovery in nursing home abuse cases.
Under the delayed discovery rule, the clock starts ticking when someone notices the abuse is occurring. If the abuse was ongoing for a while before it became apparent, the statute of limitations would begin at the time of discovery.
If your loved one died due to nursing home abuse or neglect, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim. You must file your wrongful death claim within two years of your loved one’s passing.
What Type of Compensation Is Available in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
If you file a personal injury case on behalf of a loved one, you can collect damages for their medical treatment and mental health services. If you transfer your loved one to another facility, you can obtain compensation for those costs as well.
You may also collect remuneration for their emotional pain and suffering. A court might award punitive damages if the abuse was grossly negligent.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?
It can be hard to imagine what type of person would take advantage of an older adult or fail to attend to their needs. However, nursing home abuse is relatively common. According to the CDC, approximately one in every ten people over age 60 experiences abuse in nursing homes.
Sometimes, nursing home abuse or neglect occurs because of understaffing or inadequate training. In other cases, nursing homes hire people with previous criminal histories, and they use their roles for nefarious purposes.
Nursing home attorneys in Big Pine Key can get to the bottom of your case and determine why the abuse happened.
Compassionate Nursing Home Attorneys: Morgan & Morgan
At Morgan and Morgan, we believe in protecting older citizens from abuse and neglect. Our nursing home attorneys in Big Pine Key can help you in your claim against the perpetrators. Contact our office to schedule your free, confidential case review.