Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Fort Lauderdale
Between 2013 and 2017, 16.7% of Fort Lauderdale’s population was 65 years of age or older. With so many elderly individuals in the city, there is a high demand for nursing homes.
It’s never an easy decision to place a loved one in a nursing home. When you do make the choice, you place your trust in the facility. It’s up to them to provide excellent care to your family member. But they don’t always provide the care your loved one deserves. In fact, some facilities abuse and neglect their residents.
Here at Friedland and Associates, we believe negligent nursing homes should be held accountable for their actions. Our firm can represent you and tell you about your legal rights. If you suspect abuse, a nursing home abuse lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can fight for justice.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse occurs when an employee of the facility or a caregiver harms a resident. The harm could either be intentional or caused through neglect. In some cases, a facility does not comply with health and safety standards. For instance, their uncleanliness could cause a resident to become ill. The nursing home actions would be directly responsible for the illness.
Every nursing home has an obligation to protect its residents. When they don’t, they put the lives of their residents at risk. They can also make them suffer mental or physical pain. Therefore, it’s important to know how to identify the signs of abuse.
Common Signs of Abuse
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. First, there’s physical abuse. Signs of this type of abuse include the following:
- Infections that go untreated
- Fractured or dislocated bones
- Mixed up medications
- Bruises or cuts
- Brain injury
Mental or emotional abuse is more difficult to notice. However, all of the following behaviors could be symptoms of these types of abuse:
- Fear of your departure from the nursing home
- Speech troubles
- Being withdrawn
- Agitated demeanor
If neglect is taking place, you might notice dehydration, malnutrition, dirty quarters, or dirty clothing. Sexual abuse is also a possibility. In this case, you might notice your loved one complaining of pelvic pain. They could have trouble walking, STDs, social withdrawal, and hesitation sitting down.
In some cases, the elderly experience financial abuse. Unfortunately, this type of abuse can be one of the most difficult to notice. Your loved one could have possessions go missing, strange credit card purchases, unrecognizable bank withdrawals, or odd transactions on their nursing home bills.
Asking the Right Questions
Your loved one isn’t always able to tell you about the abuse. They may be too embarrassed to discuss it, afraid of the caretaker lashing out against them, or unable to speak. You might need to identify the abuse yourself.
This could mean having a conversation with your loved one about abuse. If they have their mental faculties, ask them about their care. It might be a hard conversation, but it’s a conversation you need to have.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Abuse?
If you believe someone may be experiencing nursing home abuse, you need to take action. In cases of physical or sexual assault, you should immediately call 911. By doing so, you can get them the medical care they need. You also get them protection from their abusers.
If the abuse is not an emergency, you should contact an attorney. They can direct you on the actions you need to take to keep your loved one safe and to hold the nursing home responsible. It’s likely that they will ask you to document all of the communication you have with the nursing home. Additionally, you should take pictures of signs of abuse or neglect. The more information you can collect, the stronger your case will be. Be diligent in your documentation and keep a journal of everything.
Taking Legal Action with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
There are legal avenues you can take to fight nursing home abuse or neglect. After you report the abuse, an attorney can tell you more about your options. In many cases, the victim can receive money for their injuries and suffering.
This could happen with a personal injury claim. By intentionally or negligently harming your loved one, the nursing home is breaching their duty of care. A civil lawsuit can make them responsible for paying your loved one’s medical bills and other expenses. More importantly, the money you get can be used to get your beloved into a trustworthy facility.
If you do want to take legal action, you need to act quickly. In Fort Lauderdale, you are bound by Florida laws. There is a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. You only have a certain amount of time to file your claim after the abuse occurs. If you file any time after that time, the court has the right to dismiss your case.
In the past, it was difficult for the families of abused victims to take legal action. Often, families and victims were required to sign arbitration clauses. This meant a dispute needed to be settled through arbitration, rather than in court. But now, things are changing. The Florida Supreme Court stated that residents without enough mental capacity cannot be accountable for those contracts. Additionally, the Health and Human Services Department is making a move to punish nursing homes for having mandatory arbitration clauses.
Should You Take Action?
A lawsuit isn’t only about the money. Your loved one deserves the best care. If they suffered at the hands of the nursing home, they deserve justice. Filing a personal injury claim is a way of seeking justice. In addition to receiving money, they get the satisfaction of knowing that the abuse did not go without consequence. Furthermore, they can take comfort in knowing that other residents are safe from harm.
Here at Friedland and Associates, we’ve seen many victims of nursing home abuse. We want you to know that you have options. Contact our office today and learn more about how we can handle your case.