When nursing home abuse occurs in the State of Florida, it can be hard to know where to turn. Even if you already know what occurred, you have to prove what happened. If you’re not sure how your loved one’s injuries occurred, you need to know how to find out what happened. Investigating and proving nursing home abuse in Florida can seem like a daunting task.
There are two ways to prove nursing home abuse under Florida law
The State of Florida has laws that are meant to keep nursing home residents safe. The laws allow nursing home residents to bring an action to court to stop abuse or to recover compensation for their damages. In Florida, there are two different paths to proving nursing home abuse: a negligence claim and a claim based on statutory law.
A nursing home abuse case may be based on traditional principles of negligence. Negligence laws aren’t really written down anywhere in Florida’s laws except that Florida law 768.81 talks about how negligence works when there are multiple parties are to blame. Instead of written laws, negligence is based on generally accepted rules about fault and who should pay for someone else’s losses when they cause harm.
The other way to prove nursing home abuse in Florida is by proving that someone at the nursing home violated Florida’s nursing home bill of rights. Florida law 429.28 is commonly called the Florida Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights. The purpose of the law is to list the rights that people have when they live in nursing home and also list what a victim can do to pursue justice when the nursing home violates their rights.
Proving abuse based on negligence
Proving abuse that’s based on negligence means showing that someone at the nursing home didn’t live up to their responsibilities as a nursing home care provider. The nursing home has an obligation to provide reasonable care for their patients. That doesn’t mean that they have to be perfect all the time. However, they have to provide care that’s generally reasonable for a nursing home.
If the nursing home’s care wasn’t reasonable and you get hurt as a result, the nursing home may have to pay for your injuries. When you’re proving your case, you might be able to point to subtle things like errors in your resident risk evaluation or failing to give you the mobility aid that you need. If you’re hurt because the nursing home should have done something differently, you may be able to recover for your damages.
Proving abuse based on the nursing home bill of rights
You can also prove nursing home abuse if you can prove that someone at the nursing home deprived you of your rights that are listed in the law. The law includes a long list of rights including medical care, socializing with other residents and the right to private communication. If you prove nursing home abuse based on the Florida nursing home resident bill of rights, you can seek a court order that the home changes their behavior. You can also seek financial compensation. You can build your case by determining how the home deprived you of your rights and then gathering the paperwork and the witnesses to prove that the deprivation of rights occurred.
How do I build my case?
While the exact way to go about proving your case depends on what you think may have happened, there are a number of ways that you might go about gathering the evidence that you need. Some ways to gather evidence include:
- Having your loved one take an independent medical exam
- Speaking with your loved one without anyone from the nursing home listening in
- Talking to employees of the home
- Talking to other residents of the home
- Asking for copies of other abuse incidents or accidental injuries
- Reviewing employee records for evidence of discipline issues or negligent hiring
- Working with an accident reconstruction expert to determine how a fall occurred
- Taking photos of the accident scene
- Examining care logs
You may pursue both types of cases
If you believe that nursing home abuse has occurred, you don’t have to choose between the two different methods of proving it. Instead, you can pursue both theories of your case. It’s important to draft your legal documents carefully in order to assert your rights under both Florida’s negligence laws and the nursing home resident bill of rights.
Call Fenster & Cohen today (954) 473-1500