Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
As Americans grow older, it’s not uncommon for families to rely on the need for nursing homes to help their loved ones as they age. Some care is best left to professionals, and nursing homes can provide the skilled care older Americans need as they age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were over 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S. as of 2016, with 1.7 million licensed beds and over 1.3 million residents. Nursing homes can provide skilled care in cases where a senior is experiencing advanced diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, and registered nurses and physicians can assist with rehabilitation, primary medical care, physical therapy, and general monitoring of a patient’s overall health.
With the rise of infectious diseases, now more than ever, families are concerned about the wellbeing of their loved ones in nursing homes. From neglect to abuse, our seniors are suffering at the hands of a few bad actors that scar the entire industry.
If you suspect a loved one was abused while in a care facility, we can help. The nursing home lawyers at Schlacter Law assist families with issues that arise during nursing care, including neglect, physical abuse, theft, and overall care. Call Schlacter Law, a Fort Lauderdale nursing home negligence lawyer today for a consultation so we can make a proper evaluation.
Residents’ Rights in Fort Lauderdale
Florida has enacted a statute to help protect nursing home residents. Florida Statutes, §400.22, lists these rights. Some provisions include:
- A senior home facility must make a public statement concerning their resident’s rights and responsibilities and the facility must adhere to their own policies
- A nursing home facility shall not impinge on its resident’s civil and religious liberties, nor their own independent personal decisions
- A senior home shall not impinge on a resident’s right to private and uncensored communication
- A care facility shall not limit access to its residents from an individual or entity that provides health, social, legal or other services the residents should have reasonable access to
- A senior home facility must allow the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council to examine the facility’s clinical records if the resident gives permission to do so
- A nursing home facility must let a resident voice any grievances to the staff or administration
- A senior home facility must give its residents the right to organize and participate in residential groups, as well as social, religious and community activities
- A care facility must let its residents examine the results of any recent inspections by the state
- A senior home facility must let a resident manage his or her own financial affairs
There are additional provisions concerning medical assistance, including:
- The right to be informed of any medical conditions and treatment
- The right to refuse treatment or medications
- The right to health care
- The right to privacy when receiving any treatment
Furthermore, some additional requirements include the right to:
- Fair, courteous and dignified treatment
- Freedom from mental and physical abuse
- Freedom from corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion
- Freedom from restraints not authorized by a physician
Unfortunately, too often a senior in a care facility is treated in violation of the provisions provided in the Florida statute. If a loved one was a victim of neglect or refused treatment of any kind, compensation may be available. Contact Schlacter Law, a Fort Lauderdale nursing home lawyer today. A nursing home abuse lawyer understands these issues and can help get to the bottom of any abuse.
Contagious Diseases and Nursing Home Abuse
The recent coronavirus pandemic has revealed several flaws in how nursing homes are run. In an attempt to keep residents safe from the spread of the disease, the cure has been worse than the disease. Some residents have been isolated in an attempt to prevent any transmission of the disease. However, this oftentimes results in the inability of health care providers to visit residents to assess their overall health and can lead to neglect and abandonment when situations become too serious for the staff to handle.
Additionally, cases where a disease has inundated a facility, staff will be relieved of their duty to prevent the spread of the disease. Short-staffed care facilities inadequately provide the care each resident requires. When an entire facility is shut down due to an airborne disease, in some cases staff will fail to show up to work, leaving some of our most vulnerable citizens on their own, and unable to take care of themselves.
While pandemic diseases are uncommon, it is foreseeable that they may occur more in the future, and other less-lethal diseases can be equally dangerous to the older population that lives in nursing facilities. When a facility fails to prepare for them, and contingencies are inadequate to help its residents, the facility may be liable for any injuries, or deaths that result.
A Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse lawyer is here to help. Even before an outbreak, there may be signs that a nursing home is not providing adequate care to its residents. If the signs are there, it’s time to speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer now. With years of experience litigating cases, we can ensure whether or not a facility is providing the care its residents deserve, even before an infectious disease wreaks havoc to the facility.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Seniors living in senior care facilities may be hesitant to reveal that they are victims of abuse. They may fear retribution or further neglect, and in cases where a resident has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they may be unable to communicate the abuse to someone who can help them. Therefore, it is important loved ones be able to recognize the signs of abuse to better stop it from progressing.
There are different types of abuse seniors suffer at the hands of those who take care of them. This might include:
- Physical abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Financial abuse
Physical abuse is not always easy to detect. Physical harm may not always rise to a level that a bruise or cut is evident, and in some cases, any visible harm may be kept hidden under clothing. However, some injuries that seem small may be a sign of a larger problem. Cuts and injuries that the elder is unable to explain may be a sign of an abusive situation. Additionally, pressure marks, sprains and broken bones could indicate that someone was grabbed with excessive force, and if a loved one cowers or flinches when someone attempts to contact them, it may indicate that they are the victim of physical abuse.
Psychological abuse can be verbal and non-verbal actions that cause the senior to experience anguish or harm. Psychological harm could include intimidating or insulting the patient, as well as creating feelings of guilt. Psychological harm is typically accompanied by a care provider yelling at the victim.
Financial abuse occurs when a caregiver takes advantage of a patient’s assets and uses them for their own personal gain. Signs that financial abuse is occurring could include unexplained transactions in the senior’s bank account, bounced checks, or a sudden change to their power of attorney, estate, or will.
Neglect can come in many forms in nursing home cases. Seniors can often be abandoned, and the person responsible for their care leaves them in a location to fend for themselves when they are unable to do so. Neglect can also occur when the responsible party fails to provide the duty of care they were entrusted to provide, such as proper medication, food, clean clothing, and other necessities that the senior is unable to obtain on their own.
Not all suspicions of abuse turn out to be cases of actual abuse. In some instances, what may appear to be abuse may actually be the result of legitimate behavior on the part of a caregiver. For example, pressure marks from grabbing may have been an orderly trying to control a patient who was disoriented and was subdued to prevent further harm. But in cases where the nursing home is unable to give a legitimate justification for indications of abuse, or if it feels as if the frequency of the indications keeps increasing, it may be time to speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse lawyers have years of experience working with the elderly and understand that not all situations are ideal. In some cases, a nursing home is selected because it is close to family, or is covered under an insurance plan. However, this should make no difference in the care your family members should receive. When there is a suspicion that a family member is being abused in a nursing home, talk with a Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse lawyer today. We can help get to the bottom of the situation, and ensure that your loved one is safe.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much compensation can I expect to receive?
Nursing home negligence can vary greatly from one situation to another. Therefore it is difficult to know how much compensation might be available without an evaluation of the circumstances that led to an injury. The nursing home neglect lawyers at Schlacter Law can help get to the bottom of any abuse, help determine the cause of any institutional failure, and help get you compensation.
What is the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations is a limit on the amount of time an injured party has to file a lawsuit in court. In Fort Lauderdale, a nursing home case must be filed within 2 years. If a claimant fails to file their case within this time period a case will be dismissed, leaving little recourse for compensation. Because these deadlines are important it is essential that you contact the Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury lawyers at Schlacter Law as soon as possible to ensure that any compensation isn’t lost due to a deadline oversight.
How much does an elder neglect lawyer cost?
For these types of cases, a Fort Lauderdale attorney would be paid through a contingency fee. This payment arrangement would pay a lawyer only if they are successful in getting compensation for their client, and would typically keep between 33.33% and 40% of any money recovered. This payment arrangement helps a victim proceed with a case even if they are unable to pay a lawyer any money upfront. Call our nursing home abuse law firm today so we can evaluate any potential claims.