Nursing Home Abuse
Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem across the United States, but particularly in the state of Florida, which, as a popular retirement destination, has a substantial in-state elderly population. Recent estimates peg the senior (over 65) population in Florida at 3,993,806, or 19.5 percent of the total population in the state.
As the elderly and the infirm are dependent on others for a significant portion of their daily care, they form a population that is uniquely vulnerable to various forms of abuse, from emotional to physical to financial. Florida takes such abuse seriously, and it gives victims an opportunity to sue and recover damages as compensation for their losses.
If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected in the nursing home context, then we encourage you to contact The Florida Law Group for assistance. Since 1984, we have obtained millions in favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, including those who have been harmed by nursing home abuse.
Representing Clients in a Range of Nursing Home Abuse Scenarios
In Florida, licensed nursing home facilities must provide their patients with a reasonable level of care and must take steps to ensure that their patients are not exposed to an unreasonable risk of harm. Failure to adhere to this obligation — for example, by failing to provide a clean bedroom environment, or by failing to provide adequate nutrition to patients — could lead to significant civil liability for nursing home abuse.
Here at The Florida Law Group, our attorneys handle a wide variety of nursing home abuse claims on behalf of victims, including but not limited to those arising from the following instances of abuse:
Bed sores are caused by patient immobility, and they may be indicative of neglect in the nursing home context. When a patient does not shift their position — whether on their own or with the assistance of a member of nursing home staff — then sustained pressure is placed on certain areas of the body, potentially leading to the development of a bed sore.
Nursing home neglect is unfortunately common. Staff may fail to properly monitor patients in the nursing home facility, or despite being aware of a patient’s food, cleanliness, and other needs, staff may fail to ensure that the patient is given adequate care.
Broken bones may not only be the result of physical abuse, but they could also be indicative of an injury that has been ignored by staff. If a broken bone is left untreated, it could make it more difficult for the patient to recover, and it could also lead to long-term functional impairments or a dangerous infection.
Nursing home staff are often overworked and lack the training necessary to adequately respond to the stresses involved in taking care of seniors with significant impairments and other issues. This can lead to physical abuse of certain patients when staff seek a target for their frustrations.
Dehydration — particularly given Florida’s hot climate — is a serious threat to patients in nursing homes. Patients require close monitoring of their hydration levels to ensure that they are taking in enough liquid throughout the day.
Malnutrition, like dehydration, is commonplace in poorly-run nursing homes, and it can lead to significant impairments (the cause of which may be quite difficult to identify). Nursing homes cannot neglect to provide nutritionally-sufficient food service to patients.
Slip-and-fall incidents can be catastrophic for the elderly. A minor slip-and-fall can cause spinal injury, or it may even lead to a fracture that is difficult to recover from given the advanced age of the victim. Nursing homes must therefore be careful to ensure that floors are maintained properly to minimize the risk of harm.
Nursing home abuse may arise in a situation where there is a generalized “lack of care” on the part of the facility and staff. For example, if a nursing home facility fails to repair its phone lines for months-on-end, this could isolate patients from their families and friends, leading to serious emotional and psychological harm.
Paralysis injuries can arise in a variety of contexts, from slip-and-fall accidents to negligence in moving the patient through the facility (i.e., violently moving the patient off their bed, causing a spinal injury).
Patients may, in some cases, be driven to suicide by the deeply unsettling nature of their surroundings in a poorly-run nursing home. If nursing home staff engaged in a pattern of behavior that contributed significantly to the decision of the patient to commit suicide, then the family members may bring a wrongful death claim for damages.
Patients may have a legitimate civil assault and battery claim against those who physically abuse them, and even against those who attempt or threaten to do so.
Infections are common in poorly-run facilities, where the floors, beds, and equipment are not adequately cleaned on a regular basis and expose the patient to contaminated surfaces.
Unsanitary conditions can be avoided quite easily, but many nursing home facilities are “cheap” and engage the bare minimum level of cleaning service personnel to maintain the facility. Unsanitary conditions can lead to a number of health issues.
Staff may emotionally abuse patients for no reason at all, or even to punish a patient who they believe is “difficult” or is otherwise making their work more tedious in some way (i.e., a staff member might emotionally abuse a patient who must be monitored every hour).
Sexual abuse is, horrifyingly, a systemic issue in nursing home facilities throughout the state. Nursing home facilities that fail to create a safe environment and that hire staff who engage in sexual abuse may be held liable for the damages, depending on the circumstances.
Especially in the isolating context of nursing homes, the elderly are particularly vulnerable to financial fraud. In some cases, staff members may become “close” to patients in an effort to have the patient include them in their Will or to obtain funds directly as gifts for their service.
Every case is different, and this may lead to significantly different damage totals depending on the losses actually suffered by the plaintiff and the nature of the violation committed by the defendant. If you have been physically abused or intentionally malnourished by your caretaker in a nursing home setting, for example, then the court may choose to award bonus punitive damages that could multiply your compensatory damages total and lead to an even greater financial recovery.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Experienced Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
At The Florida Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience representing the interests of those who have been injured, emotionally manipulated, or financially harmed while being cared for in a nursing home, or those who have otherwise had their rights violated by the facility and/or staff.
We are a fundamentally client-oriented firm. Unlike many of our competitors, we are committed to the provision of personalized legal service in which we work collaboratively with our clients at every stage of the litigation process. This approach enables us to tailor our advocacy to the particularities of a given case.