Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Serving Cooper City
Clients and their families expect high levels of professionalism from nursing facilities and their staff. Local state laws align with these principles, requiring these facilities to provide adequate care to the people under their supervision.
Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities aren't adequately staffed, lack financial resources, and are poorly managed. Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect, which can result in severe harm or even death for the victims.
Most nursing home negligence and abuse victims may stay quiet about the abuse. Luckily, our nursing home negligence attorneys serving Cooper City help give victims a voice. We are committed to fighting for the rights of vulnerable people who have been injured because of someone else's negligence, recklessness, or even malice. Our firm has extensive experience helping victims and their families across Florida in their pursuit of compensation from negligent facilities. We work to prevent elder abuse because no one deserves to be mistreated by those who are supposed to care for them.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit against a Florida nursing home or rehabilitation center, read on to learn more.What Is a Nursing Home?
Local state laws define nursing homes as institutions that offer nursing care. This legal definition might cover any establishment that hires nurses if interpreted literally.
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has created a more practical definition. According to the American Health Care Association, a nursing home offers:
- Around-the-clock nursing care
- Personal care
- Nutritional meals
- Health monitoring
- Case management
- Occupational and speech therapy
- Social activities
They also provide respite care for the sick or physically challenged.
Modern nursing facilities primarily offer two primary services. They usually provide long-term care, and some patients may never leave the facility. A nursing home is often the final home for an elderly individual in this situation.
The second primary service of nursing homes is nursing rehabilitation services, where patients can receive intensive physical and occupational therapy for a shorter period after surgical procedures.The Nursing Home Reforms Act
All nursing facilities in the United States that accept Medicare or Medicaid must follow the rules outlined in the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act. The act aims to enhance nursing home care while decreasing abuse and neglect cases.
All Florida nursing homes and rehabilitation centers must comply with this Federal supervision legislation since they accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. The act accomplishes two main goals:
- It establishes requirements that all nursing homes must meet
- It gives inhabitants of nursing homes some protections under the law
The home state has the authority to ensure that the nursing home adheres to these minimum requirements and protects the rights of its residents. Any nursing home that doesn't satisfy these standards could be fined or have its license revoked.
Minimum Standards for Nursing Homes in Florida
Most American states have implemented nursing home minimum requirements that meet or exceed the federal minimums.
The Florida legislature has given the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration authority to establish and enforce health care minimal standards (AHCA). Section 59A-4 of the Florida Administrative Code contains the state's minimum requirements.
Staffing Requirements in Florida Nursing Homes
There must be enough people working in nursing homes for residents to feel safe. Florida has also established minimum staffing requirements for nursing home residents.
Regrettably, these minimum staffing levels are often insufficient to provide quality care to residents. Most cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes are because of inadequate staffing levels, with facilities failing to hire enough workers to satisfy the needs of their patients.Florida Nursing Home Residents Have Rights
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 led to the establishment of specific resident rights. The state legislature has enshrined these rights in local state laws. Below are some of the most fundamental rights of residents:
- The right to receive thorough explanations of one's medical status and planned treatment
- The right to sufficient and appropriate health care and related services
- The right to be free of abuse
There are many different types of abuse and neglect. However, you can't understand them unless you learn the distinction between these concepts.
Both are defined in detail under Florida laws. While there is considerable overlap between abuse and neglect, there is a significant difference between the two. Abuse is purposeful or careless behavior, while neglect happens when a caregiver should know better.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Florida law defines abuse as any purposeful act or threatened conduct by a relative, caregiver, or household member that causes or is likely to cause severe impairment to the physical, mental, or emotional health of a vulnerable adult.
Abuse may be acts or failure to act. A person can be guilty of a nursing home if they commit a specific action toward a resident or neglect to help a resident who needs help.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
According to Florida law, neglect occurs when a caretaker fails to provide an elderly or disabled person with the appropriate care, supervision, or assistance to ensure the person's safety and well-being.
Food, clothing, medicine, housing, supervision, and medical services are examples of things that a reasonable person would consider crucial to a vulnerable adult's health and safety.How to Report Nursing Home Neglect
Anyone who thinks they or a loved one might be a victim should take action quickly because of the statute of limitations. The resident should be evacuated from the facility immediately if there is any indication that they are in imminent danger. The Florida Department of Senior Affairs operates a hotline that can be used to report abuse.
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) oversees allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect in Florida. Reporting nursing home abuse or neglect is crucial if a loved one has been victimized.
You can file a complaint about any nursing home in the country through AHCA. ACHA will look into the report, and if misconduct is found, appropriate action will be taken against those responsible.
The state ombudsman is another option for reporting abuse or neglect. The ombudsman will look into the situation and report on what they discover.Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuits
Lawsuits involving nursing home mistreatment are governed by Florida statute 400.023. In cases of resident abuse or neglect resulting in injury or death, a nursing home resident or their representative may file a lawsuit against the nursing home licensee, the management firm, the managerial personnel, and the direct care staff. If a resident successfully sues another party for causing injuries, the resident may be awarded compensation for monetary losses such as medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement.Investigating Nursing Home Negligence
The complaining party must first conduct an investigation into the claim and certify that the investigation results provide reasonable grounds for legal action against each defendant. The resident's family must provide written notice to the alleged wrongdoer via certified mail of their decision to file suit, including the allegations of abuse or neglect and the resulting injuries and damages.
A claimant must wait 75 days from the date the notice of intent was mailed before the alleged offender can decide whether to settle the claim. The parties must attend a presuit mediation within 60 days after the 75-day pre-suit period expires. If the claimant cannot settle during this time, they can sue the defendant for compensation for their losses.
Most cases do not settle during this pre-suit phase. It may delay the process, allow outdated evidence, and discourage would-be claimants. This highlights the significance of working with a skilled personal injury attorney who has experience handling cases involving nursing home abuse.Punitive Damage in Nursing Home Negligence Cases in Florida
The purpose of awarding punitive damages is to deter nursing facilities from engaging in the most severe forms of abuse and neglect. The Florida legislature has decided that nursing homes must be protected from legal repercussions. The lawmakers enacted measures shielding nursing homes from liability for punitive damages.
Florida Nursing Home Regulations
Florida has nursing home regulations in place to ensure residents receive adequate care and services. These laws are primarily enforced by the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Senior Affairs. Nursing home residents and their loved ones should be aware that abuse claims are subject to time limits under the law.
Nursing Home Resident Rights
Nursing home residents are guaranteed a minimum set of protections under Florida Statute 400.022. Violating these rights is often the basis of lawsuits against nursing homes.
Residents and their loved ones should be familiar with their rights to prevent members of their family members from becoming victims. It is crucial to pursue legal action in the case of a violation.
Below are the most essential resident rights:
- Right to be treated fairly, with respect, and dignity
- Freedom from all forms of physical, mental, emotional, and financial abuse
- Right to preventative healthcare services
- Ability to voice concerns and complaints without retaliation
- The right to be informed orally and in writing regarding healthcare and nursing services
- Participation in cultural, religious, and social events
- The freedom to communicate privately
- Right to make ad receive unmonitored calls
- Participation in healthcare planning
Residents of nursing facilities in Florida have legal recourse for abuse or neglect under Section 400.023 of the Florida Statutes. A resident's family might launch a wrongful death suit if the resident's death directly resulted from a violation.
To win their case, the plaintiffs must prove that the defendant owes the resident a duty of care and that this duty was breached or violated. They must also show that the resident was injured, suffered damages, or died because of the breach of duty.
Statute of Limitations
According to Section 429.296 of the Florida Statutes, there is a time limit on filing lawsuits in the Sunshine State. As of Friday, March 24, 2023, the Florida Statute of Limitations for an action founded on negligence has been reduced from 4 years to 2 years.
This restricts how long after an occurrence the victim or their family can initiate a lawsuit against the responsible party. A case must be initiated within the two-year statute of limitations in Florida. However, the time limit may be extended in exceptional circumstances.
This may occur if residents or their families are prevented from filing because of intentional and deceptive concealment and misrepresentation. This can lengthen the statute of limitations to six years.
There are three possible starting points for the restrictions period. The statute of limitations begins to run at the earliest of the time of the harmful incident, the time when the victim or representatives of the victim learn that the injury was caused by a specific accident or the time when the victim or family should have reasonably known that the injury was caused by a specific accident.Which Florida Laws Apply to Nursing Homes Negligence Cases?
A nursing home negligence case may involve multiple sets of laws, including:
Florida Nursing Home Bill of Rights
Nursing home residents in Florida have certain protections under Florida Statute 429.281. It lays out in detail the rights that each care home resident is entitled to enjoy.
A fundamental right is to be free from all forms of abuse, including mental, emotional, and financial abuse. Residents should be able to get the care they require to stay healthy and happy. They should take care of their finances, and voice their opinions and concerns, without the fear of retaliation.
United States Nursing Home Care Standards
Caring at nursing homes in the United States is governed by federal regulations. The federal Nursing Home Reform Act establishes norms for functional assessment, quality assurance, and documented care plans. Consequences for violations and for providing false information are specified.
Florida Civil Negligence Laws
Nursing home abuse and neglect fall under Florida's civil negligence laws, which provide monetary damages to those victims of nursing home negligence. All members of society are obliged to behave appropriately and in a way that does not cause harm to others.
The standard is high when another person is entrusted for your well-being. When a person or organization is accountable for another person's well-being, they may commit acts of abuse or neglect if they fail in that duty. When someone suffers because of someone else's negligence, the victim may seek monetary damages through the legal system.
Florida Criminal Laws
According to Florida law, nursing home abuse and neglect can constitute a crime in certain circumstances. Florida Statute 825.1024 makes it illegal to abuse an elderly person. Assault, violence, and even fraud are all possible consequences of mistreating an elderly person.
An individual may be criminally liable for elder abuse or neglect even if a civil remedy is also warranted.What to Do if You Suspect Negligence by a Care Facility
There are various things you can do if you believe a care facility has been negligent:
- Report to the local police
- Contact Adult Protective Services.
- File a complaint through the Agency for Healthcare Administration
- Sue the negligent party and seek financial compensation.
The appropriate action to take in response to nursing home negligence is context-specific. You can get advice on how to respond from our nursing home negligence lawyers serving Cooper City, Florida.How Much Is Your Claim Worth?
There are many variables that determine how much a nursing home neglect case is worth. The value of a claim may depend on factors such as the nature of the nursing home's conduct, the extent of the victim's injuries and other losses, and the merits of the legal claim.
As the plaintiff, it is your responsibility to collect evidence to support your claim in court carefully.Consult Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Serving in Cooper City, Florida
Nursing homes should provide outstanding care for elderly loved ones. The news that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home is upsetting. Nursing home negligence suits are complex cases, so you should go through the process alone. Get in touch with Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers to explore your legal options. Contact us at (561) 800-8000 or check out our website to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.