Based on the latest statistics, more than 4 million elderly Americans are victims of physical abuse or neglect annually. Unfortunately, most of these incidents occur in nursing homes. While this is upsetting to family members who assumed their loved ones would be cared for in a compassionate manner, it’s more troubling when they realize it can be difficult to know who is legally at fault for the abuse. Because of this, it’s crucial to work with an attorney who is skilled not only in elder law, but also in nursing home abuse cases. By doing so, you and your family will gain a greater understanding of which parties are held responsible in nursing home abuse and neglect cases, as well as have an opportunity to make those responsible for the abuse be held accountable for their actions.
Nursing Home Duty of Care
When a resident enters a nursing home and becomes a resident, the law dictates that the nursing home be held to a very strict legal standard called the “duty of care” regarding each resident. This involves a variety of duties, such as:
–Providing adequate and nutritious meals each day
–Dispensing necessary medications for residents
–Maintaining personal hygiene of residents
–Providing additional medical care when necessary
–Perform physical therapy and other types of therapy if needed
When any of these duties are found to not have been performed in a satisfactory manner, it then becomes the job of your elder law attorney to determine why these incidents happened. Some reasons can include:
–Insufficient staff training
–Poor hiring practices of nursing home
–Lack of security staff
–Failure to address medical needs
–Unnecessary use of physical restraints
–Intentional abuse by staff
Because these cases can be extremely complex, it’s crucial to work with a lawyer who understands the best methods for dealing with these disturbing incidents.
Nursing Home Liability
In most cases, if your elder law attorney can show the nursing home was at fault due to any of the above-mentioned or other reasons that clearly prove negligence or carelessness on the part of the nursing home’s staff, then the nursing home can be held liable for the resulting damages. According to industry statistics, Florida has more than 700 nursing homes across the state, many of which are for-profit facilities owned by large corporations. However, what is most disturbing is a survey where more than 75 percent of Florida nursing home residents stated they had been neglected, or witnessed abuse of another resident. Due to these startling statistics, it’s more important than ever that if you suspect abuse or neglect of a family member in a Florida nursing home, contact an experienced and knowledgeable elder law attorney as soon as possible.
When abuse or neglect is determined to have happened to your family member in a nursing home, it’s only natural to assume the nursing home itself is legally liable for damages. While this may be the case, there are many other parties involved in your loved one’s care that could in fact be legally responsible for damages sustained by your loved one. These can include:
–Medical equipment manufacturers
–Outside medical facilities
For example, if your loved one was served food by a nursing home staff member and later contracted food poisoning, it’s possible your elder law attorney may put the focus on the food vendor who supplied the food. As another example, if a resident was being transported on a gurney that suddenly tipped over and led to the resident sustaining broken bones or other injuries, it’s possible the company that manufactured the gurney could be held liable, if your lawyer determines the gurney had a design flaw that led to the accident. Still in other situations, visitors or trespassers who are on the nursing home property can be held liable if it’s determined their actions led to your loved one being injured. Whatever the case may be, in most situations liability often involves numerous parties simultaneously, which makes these cases some of the most complex in legal circles.
Consult an Attorney
If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect while in a nursing home, immediately report your concerns to staff as well as the home’s administrator. By doing so, you will have documentation of your concerns. Along with this, take pictures or videos of any physical injuries or living conditions. And of course, contact an elder law attorney as soon as possible, to ensure those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.
Call Fenster & Cohen P.A. today (954) 473-1500