It can become more difficult for some family members to care for themselves as they age. Many families to turn nursing homes for help when this happens. Nursing homes provide our elderly loved ones with a comfortable place to live and access to medical, rehabilitative, and other healthcare services. Many nursing homes even allow our loved ones to meet new people and make new friends. We trust nursing homes to make sure that our elderly and/or disabled family members are safe, happy, and comfortable.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a serious problem across the country and right here in Miami. Each year, there are tens of thousands of reports of nursing home abuse, neglect, and injuries. When your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse in Miami, you have the right to take legal action. You can file a personal injury lawsuit and demand compensation from the nursing home facility responsible for your loved one’s harm. Contact our Miami nursing home abuse attorneys to find out how we can help you recover the money you deserve. We offer a free consultation, so call for help today.
Nursing Home Residents Have Rights in Miami
Did you know that nursing home residents have certain rights under Florida state law? You’re not at the nursing home every day to make sure that your loved one is getting the care they need. How can you be sure that nursing homes will do everything that is necessary to keep your loved one safe? In Miami, nursing home residents have certain rights under Florida state law.
Nursing home residents in Miami enjoy more than 20 different rights under Florida Statute 400.022. These include the right to:
- Personally manage financial affairs;
- Receive information regarding all medical conditions and proposed treatments;
- Refuse medication or treatment;
- Receive adequate and appropriate health care, protective, and support services;
- Receive courteous, fair, and dignified care and treatment;
- Be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, extended involuntary seclusion, and from physical and chemical restraints;
- Choose a personal physician; and
- Retain and use personal clothing and possessions.
These rights help to protect nursing home residents from physical, emotional, and financial abuse or neglect.
Defining Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can manifest in many different ways, including: physical abuse, neglect, isolation, abandonment, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
Nursing home residents have the right to be safe and free from physical harm. Physical abuse can occur whenever negligent or wrongful actions cause a nursing home resident to suffer physical pain. This can include sexual injuries and assaults.
Examples of physical nursing home abuse include:
- Hitting, striking, or pushing
- Sexually-inappropriate touching
- Unauthorized use of chemical agents or restraints, and
- Administering medical care after a patient’s refusal.
Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to care for all residents. This includes providing food, shelter, and necessary medical care. Neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to fulfill one or more obligations to a resident.
Examples of nursing home neglect can include:
- Failing to provide residents with proper food and nutrition on a regular basis
- Failing to keep residents active to prevent illness, disease, and injuries like bed sores
- Withholding necessary medical care
- Failing to tend to a resident’s mental health needs, and
- Failing to protect a resident’s health and safety.
Nursing homes can be a great place for aging loved ones to connect with a new community. Residents aren’t prisoners; they have the right to be social and engage with others. Nursing homes may also not isolate residents from family members or contact with the outside world.
Isolation can occur if the nursing home:
- Withholds mail or correspondence
- Refuses to allow a resident to take or make phone calls, or
- Prevents residents from receiving visitors.
Nursing homes can only take actions adverse to a resident’s rights when those actions serve a medical interest or protect other residents from harm.
Nursing home residents have the right to remain in their nursing facility unless there is a medical reason for discharge or their presence poses a threat to others. All residents must receive notice about any changes in the terms and conditions of their agreement with the nursing home. Residents must also be informed if they will be removed from the facility. Abandonment occurs when a nursing home discharges and/or removes a resident without consent or knowledge.
Nursing home residents have the right to be treated courteously, fairly, and with dignity. Emotional abuse can occur when nursing homes do not treat residents with the respect and dignity they deserve. This can involve yelling or chastising a resident, issuing threats, or repeatedly exposing a resident to traumatic experiences. It’s important to understand that emotional abuse and trauma can be just as devastating and harmful as physical abuse.
Financial abuse occurs when nursing homes take advantage of or exploit a resident’s income, assets, or money without permission.
Examples of financial nursing home abuse can include:
- Using a resident’s credit card to make personal purchases
- Withdrawing or diverting money from a resident’s financial account(s)
- Tricking or coercing a resident to sign checks or financial releases, and
- Stealing money from a resident’s purse or wallet.
Financial abuse can leave a resident and/or their family devastated. It’s important to stay on top of your family member’s finances when they live in a nursing home.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
How can you know if your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse? While different forms of abuse will have different symptoms, the following are common signs of nursing home abuse:
- Unexplained bruising, soft tissue injury, or broken bones
- Bed sores
- Unexpected weight loss
- Undiagnosed medical conditions
- Anxiety and depression
- Agitation and anger
- Isolation and withdrawal
- Unexplained fears or inhibitions
- Unexpected withdrawals from a financial account, or
- Missing personal property.
It’s important to check in with nursing home residents and ask for updates about their health and care on a regular basis. Your interaction with nursing home staff members can actually shed a lot of light on potential abuse. Signs of an abusive environment can include:
- Staff members refusing to allow residents to speak for themselves
- Nursing homes restricting a resident’s visiting hours or communication without cause
- Falsifying reports about care provided to residents, and
- Agitation, indifference, or anger toward residents.
Contact Lavent Law, P.A. today if you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse in Miami.
Damages Available to Nursing Home Abuse Victims
Nursing home abuse can cause serious and potentially life-changing injuries. When your family member suffers because of a nursing home’s negligent or wrongful conduct, you have the right to demand compensation.
At Lavent Law, P.A., our Miami nursing home abuse attorneys will aggressively pursue all compensation to which you and your family are entitled, including money for:
- Medical bills
- New nursing home arrangements
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
You can also be reimbursed for any losses your family has experienced because of financial nursing home abuse.
Liability for Nursing Home Abuse
Who can you hold responsible for harm suffered by your elderly loved one because of nursing home abuse? The answer really depends on the causes of your loved one’s injuries. However, it’s important to know that under Florida state law, anyone who contributes to an injury can be on the hook for damages. Potential defendants in a nursing home abuse lawsuit can include:
- Nursing home staff (e.g, aides, nurses, doctors, coordinators)
- Nursing home administration
- Nursing home facilities
- Personal caretakers
- Government agencies responsible for oversight and compliance, or
- Anyone who witnessed abuse and failed to report it.
At Lavent Law, P.A., our Miami nursing home abuse lawyers will thoroughly investigate your nursing home abuse case. We’ll determine the precise cause(s) of your loved one’s injuries. This will allow us to identify each and every party who may be liable for your damages.
Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits in Miami
Nursing home abuse happens every day. Your loved one’s injuries may be the result of a single incident or continued abuse or neglect over an extended period of time. It’s important to file your personal injury claim as soon as you realize that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse. Why? Florida law imposes a strict statute of limitations. You’ll be prohibited from getting the money you deserve if your claim isn’t filed on time.
Nursing home abuse claims must be filed within two years of the date of the abuse or discovery of the injury. You may have additional time to file your claim if the injury is not discovered right away because of fraud or intentional misrepresentation.
You need to make sure that your Miami nursing home abuse claim is filed within the applicable statute of limitations. The attorneys at Lavent Law, P.A. can help. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.
Call Our Miami Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Nursing home abuse can be devastating. Has a Miami nursing home has caused your aging loved one to suffer physically, emotionally, or financially? If so, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover much-needed compensation. Contact the Miami nursing home abuse lawyers at Lavent Law, P.A. to find out how we can help you maximize your financial award. We offer a free consultation, so do not hesitate to call us to get started on your case today.