Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Serving Lake Worth
People who require the care of a nursing home because of their age, cognitive decline, or other impairments are among the most vulnerable members of our society. Many nursing facilities meet or exceed the required level of care, but some fall short. Therefore, nursing home abuse and neglect are common in the United States.
The population of people aged 65 and older is gradually increasing, making them one of the fastest-growing demographic. Not all seniors require round-the-clock care, but a sizable portion of the population will. Everyone wants their loved ones to get top-notch care in an atmosphere that respects their privacy and individuality.
But, if a nursing home is negligent and causes injury to a resident, the facility can be held accountable for any subsequent damages. Contact a nursing home neglect lawyer serving Lake Worth at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers if you have concerns about the quality of care your loved one receives.What Is Nursing Home Negligence?
People who live in nursing homes have their mental and physical needs attended to around the clock by trained medical and social workers. Residents are usually older adults.
Someone is negligent if they fail to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of others. Whether the nursing home or its staff members have bad intentions, they are negligent if they fail to adhere to the standard of care. The injury must also have been a predictable consequence of the substandard treatment.
According to the National Council on Aging, elder abuse and neglect affect around one in ten older individuals. Elder abuse is defined by the Administration on Aging as any knowing, willful, or negligent conduct by a caregiver or any other person that causes injury or risk of severe injury to a vulnerable adult.
Thirty percent of Medicare recipients living in nursing homes suffer problems, such as medical errors, according to data from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. Most of these occurrences were avoidable have been avoided.
Intent is the primary determining factor between nursing care neglect and nursing home abuse. Intentional harm to a nursing home resident constitutes nursing home abuse. However, negligence can be deliberate or accidental.
Nursing home neglect happens when nursing home workers fail to provide necessary care for a resident. It usually involves denying residents access to food, shelter, medical treatment, or basic sanitation facilities.What Are Nursing Homes?
State statutes define nursing homes as facilities that provide nursing care. If taken literally, this legal definition might encompass any business that employs nurses.
The Agency has developed a more workable definition of Healthcare Administration (AHCA). The American Health Care Association lists states that nursing homes offer:
- 24-hour nursing care
- Personalized care
- Healthy food options
- Health monitoring
- Speech and occupational therapy
- Social activities
They also offer temporary care for those who are chronically ill or physically impaired.
Modern nursing homes often provide two primary services. Some patients may never leave the facility because of the extensive care they require. For many people in their later years, a nursing home is their final residence.
Nursing rehabilitation services, where patients can get rigorous physical and occupational therapy for a condensed amount of time following surgical procedures, are the second most common service provided by nursing homes.
Nursing Home Reforms Act
The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act establishes minimum standards that all nursing homes in the United States must meet to participate in Medicare or Medicaid. The legislation aims at reducing cases of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Because they accept Medicare and Medicaid patients, all Florida nursing homes and rehabilitation centers must adhere to this Federal monitoring legislation.
The act has two primary goals:
- It specifies standards that all nursing homes must uphold.
- Residents in nursing homes are afforded various legal safeguards as a result.
The nursing home's home state enforces these minimal requirements and safeguards residents' rights. Any nursing home that fails to meet these requirements risks having its license suspended or even revoked.
Florida's Nursing Home Minimum Requirements
Most jurisdictions in the United States now have nursing home regulations that are stricter than federal minimums.
The Florida legislature has delegated responsibility for establishing and enforcing minimum healthcare standards to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). The minimum requirements for the Sunshine State are outlined in Section 59A-4 of the Florida Administrative Code.
Nursing Home Staffing Regulations in Florida
Nursing homes must have adequate staffing levels to ensure the safety of their patients. Nursing homes in Florida must meet minimum staffing levels set by the state. Unfortunately, these minimum staffing requirements often do not provide residents with adequate care. When nursing homes fail to hire enough staff to meet the needs of their residents, abuse, and neglect are more likely to occur.
Residents of Nursing Homes in the State of Florida
Certain resident rights were established because of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Some of the most fundamental rights of residents include:
- The right to have one's medical condition and treatment options thoroughly explained to them
- Access to quality, affordable healthcare
- The right not to be abused
Negligence in a nursing home facility can take many forms, including:
According to a recent report by the World Health Organization, about a third of nursing home workers admitted to emotionally abusing residents.
Examples of emotional abuse include:
- Putting a resident in danger by isolating them
- Restricting a person's freedom of movement
- Making fun of the resident's appearance
Victims of emotional abuse may suffer from mental health issues like sadness, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Physical abuse can be hitting, restraint with straps or ropes, or even shoving. Injuries from physical abuse can be life-changing or even fatal. Those who are already struggling cognitively are especially vulnerable to physical abuse.
Nursing Home Neglect
Apathy and carelessness by nursing home employees are common causes of resident neglect. Medication mistakes, poor cleanliness, and hunger or dehydration are all forms of negligence.
Additional forms of abuse in nursing homes include:
- Abandoning the residents
- Neglecting to address a resident's concerns or wishes
- Putting off visits to the doctor or informing loved ones about health problems
Any form of sexual interaction that is not consensual is considered sexual abuse. It can take various forms, like using force, threats, or taking advantage of those unable to provide consent. Sexual abuse can lead to physical injuries and emotional distress.
Theft or coercion to obtain money from a resident is elder financial abuse. Theft of cash, credit cards, or valuables is just one form of financial abuse. Others include accessing a resident's financial data, blocking the person from using their bank account or abusing power of attorney.
People with limited incomes who need medical attention can become victims of financial abuse. It is essential to note that not all instances of abuse in nursing homes are reported.Who Can Commit Nursing Home Abuse?
Employees at nursing homes are usually the perpetrators of nursing home abuse. Understaffing causes fatigue and stress among workers. While this does not make the abuse or neglect acceptable, it can increase the risk of nursing home neglect or abuse.
According to the World Health Organization, over half of nursing home workers have admitted to abusing or neglecting their patients. But there is also a risk of abuse and manipulation from other residents.
The failure to disclose such abusive acts by the nursing facility can sometimes allow them to go unchecked. Family members can also be blamed, especially in cases of financial abuse.What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?
Abuse and neglect are more common among nursing home residents who do not get frequent visitors from loved ones. However, even with regular visits, neglect, and abuse may go undetected.
Some of the most common signs include:
- Rapid loss of body weight
- Bruises, cuts, and other injuries with no apparent cause
- Broken bones from accidents
- Medication omissions
- Bed sores and other infections
- A rapid decline in health
- Illegal restraints
- Changes in behavior, including anxiety, depression, and withdrawal.
- Employees who are unhelpful or evasive
- Money or other valuables have gone missing
- Neglected personal care and hygiene
- Poor sanitation
- Lack of security
- Patients and staff members verbally abuse one another
Various risk factors can increase the likelihood of nursing home neglect. For example, women are more likely to suffer from nursing home neglect. Abuse and neglect are also associated with lower socioeconomic status. One possible explanation is that Medicaid recipients are more likely to be treated in lower-quality healthcare facilities.
Those who are cognitively impaired or in poor condition are more susceptible to abuse and neglect. Surviving abuse or trauma increases a person's vulnerability to future abuse.Florida Nursing Home Neglect Laws
According to the Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard, Florida ranks last. Concerns about insufficient incident report processing and a lack of or inadequate documented rules and procedures for handling cases of abuse and neglect were raised in a recent report from the Office of the Inspector General.
Under Florida law, an individual may file a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation if they are injured or experience financial loss due to substandard care received in a nursing home. Nevertheless, in April 2022, the governor of Florida approved a controversial new law that affects how nursing homes in the state are staffed. The federal government mandates a minimal level of quality for treatment in nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid patients. The federal Nursing Home Reform Act covers functionality, quality assurance, and care planning.Wrongful Death from Nursing Home Neglect
A patient's family may be able to pursue a wrongful death complaint if the resident dies due to nursing home negligence. It can be hard to determine if a resident's death resulted from the nursing home's carelessness. A non-natural death may be indicated by the presence of injuries or accidents on the death certificate.
The nursing home injury doesn't need to be the only cause of mortality. The abuse victim's death can be a significant contributing cause. The case can also be reviewed by medical professionals who can offer their professional judgments on the manner of death.
Damages for loss of parental supervision, mental anguish, burial costs, and more may be sought in a wrongful death claim brought against a nursing home by the resident's surviving family members.
To recover compensation for wrongful death, you must prove the following:
- The nursing home or its employees did something wrong, were negligent, or broke a contract or warranty
- Death was caused by the caregiving staff's actions or inactions at the nursing home
- If the victim had not passed away, they could have filed a lawsuit against the nursing home for the harm caused by the staff's actions or inactions.
In contrast to a wrongful death claim, a survival claim permits the deceased's family to pursue compensation for damages that the deceased resident would have been entitled to if they had survived.
These lawsuits usually seek compensation for the victim's pain and suffering from the moment of injury up until the time of death. The term "survival action" refers to a personal injury claim that can be pursued even after the demise of the injured party.Compensation for Nursing Home Negligence Cases
Depending on the severity of the abuse, the judge or jury may decide to award monetary damages.
Below are some examples of damages in these cases:
- Costs of treatment required because of negligence.
- Mental, emotional, and psychological injuries.
- Reduced quality of life.
- Pain and suffering
It doesn't matter if private insurance or government programs like Medicare or Medicaid cover treatment costs; you can still sue for damages.Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Lawsuits
A statute of limitations is the time limit for filing a lawsuit. According to local laws, the statute of limitations for nursing home neglect and abuse lawsuits in Florida is two years.
The statute of limitations may be extended in cases of fraudulent concealment or willful misrepresentation of fact. If you suspect a loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, you should contact a nursing home negligence lawyer serving Lake Worth at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers immediately.How a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Serving Lake Worth Can Help
Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can analyze your case and explain your legal alternatives just as they would in any other personal injury case.
In the course of litigation, many intricate issues may arise. Our lawyers will be there to advise you and defend your rights at every turn. Having our lawyers work on your case will significantly reduce the stress on you and your family.
Case investigations, reviews by licensed nurses or doctors, and notices to potential defendants are all mandated by Florida law during the pre-suit process. If you want to sue a care facility, your lawyer must satisfy all these conditions.
Your lawyer will also help with the following steps during the preparation:
- Negotiating for settlements
- Appeals where necessary
Take quick action to prevent additional suffering if you or a loved one are victims of neglect or abuse at a nursing home.
- Notify the facility manager.
- Send a written report to the administrator if you do this over the phone.
- Document all communication and keep copies.
Florida's Department of Children and Family(DCF) accepts online complaints. Abuse or neglect of children or older adults is taken seriously and reports are received around the clock, every day of the week.
Retain all receipts, bills, and medical records that pertain to the carelessness. The expense of relocating to a new location should also be factored in. If you see any instances of neglect or abuse, write them down. You should collect copies of bank statements and other related legal documentation if you suspect financial misuse.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home mistreatment, contact the attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers.Get in Touch with a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer in Lake Worth, Florida
We expect exceptional care for our loved ones in nursing homes and comparable facilities. Unfortunately, some vulnerable persons may be neglected or abused, leading to severe injury or even death.
Protect your rights and demand the compensation you and your loved one deserve with the help of a nursing home abuse attorney serving Lake Worth from Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers. You can reach us at (561) 800-8000 if you have any questions or would like a free consultation.