Nursing Home Abuse
Committed To The Injured®
Helping families to hold nursing homes accountable for abuse
Millions of people live in nursing homes in the U.S., and the nursing home population is rising. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that around 3.2 million elderly and disabled people live in nursing homes. In a study, 44 percent of nursing home residents reported that they had suffered abuse by other residents, children, other family members or staff. Under Florida law, nursing homes are strictly controlled and must meet high standards in the care that they provide to residents. Unfortunately, some nursing home staff still abuse and/or neglect patients in spite of these laws. If your loved one has suffered injuries as a result of suspected abuse, it is important for you to get legal help. The experienced team at The Eberst Law Firm, P.A. are able to help families whose loved ones have been abused or neglected while living in nursing homes.
Types of abuse in nursing homes
There are five primary types of nursing home abuse that can cause various types of injuries, including the following:
- Financial exploitation – May include thefts or using deception or coercion in order to access a resident’s financial accounts.
- Physical abuse – May include inappropriate restraints, hitting, burning, kicking or other physical contacts.
- Emotional abuse- May include threats, intimidation, isolation, humiliation or insults that cause emotional harm.
- Sexual abuse- May include any form of unwanted sexual touching or sexual exposures by staff or other residents.
- Neglect- May include failures to provide the type of care that elderly residents are owed such as failing to provide proper medicine, food, water, hygiene, comfort and safety.
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected in any of these ways, contact The Eberst Law Firm, P.A. for help.
Signs that abuse is occurring
It is important for people to know the signs that abuse is occurring. Some elderly people are afraid to tell their loved ones that they are being abused because of fear. Others may be unable to communicate what is happening to them because of dementia or other conditions. The most common signs of abuse include the following:
- Sudden fear of being touched
- Unexplained changes in weight
- Acting withdrawn or fearful
- Not being allowed to meet with the resident alone
- Missing medications
- Soiled clothing or bedding
- Untreated medical conditions
- Diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease
- Unexplained bruises or cuts
- Missing money
- Multiple checks written by the elderly person to a staff member
If you see any of the signs of abuse, it is important for you to ask about what is happening and to take the proper steps to make certain your loved one is safe.
What to do if you suspect abuse
The first thing that you should do if you see the signs of abuse is to report it to the nursing home immediately. You might also want to report your suspicions to your local law enforcement agency as well as to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Finally, you might want to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn more about your loved one’s rights.
Common nursing home neglect and abuse claims
By filing a civil lawsuit against the nursing home for the abuse or neglect that your loved one has suffered, you may be able to hold the home and its staff accountable for their actions or failures to act. There are a variety of different types of claims that a nursing home abuse or neglect case might involve, including:
- Negligent hiring practices
- Inadequate training
- Failure to provide proper medical care
- Not correcting dangerous conditions in the nursing home that lead to accidents such as falls
- Inadequate security
- Failure to monitor staff
- Medication thefts
- Failure to discipline staff for violating nursing home abuse policies
- Not having anti-abuse policies in place
- Financial exploitation
There are other types of potential claims that may depend on the facts of what happened. Many types of abuse may also be prosecuted criminally. In Florida, you are allowed to file a civil lawsuit against the responsible parties even if there are pending criminal charges. Civil cases and criminal cases proceed under two different bodies of law and are allowed to proceed simultaneously. Unlike criminal cases, civil cases have a lower burden of proof, making it possible to recover damages in a civil lawsuit even if the criminal prosecution of the perpetrator is unsuccessful.
Get help from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Stuart, Gainesville, and throughout the Florida surrounding areas.
Proving that your loved one has been abused or neglected while in a nursing home can be difficult. An experienced attorney may use his or her knowledge of the law to help. Attorneys may use investigators to uncover what has occurred and experts to determine the extent and severity of the injuries. With help, you may recover damages to compensate your loved one for the losses that he or she has suffered. Contact The Eberst Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule your consultation.