Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Our attorneys fight for the rights of victims of neglect and abuse.
The news of nursing home abuse and neglect is devastating. At Warner, Sechrest & Butts, it is never easy to take on a client’s claim of injury caused by a care facility or a member of its staff, but the experience and determination of our nursing home abuse attorneys allows us to serve as a powerful resource for victims of abuse and neglect. With our office located in Gainesville, we have helped victims across the State of Florida file suit against nursing homes and care facilities that have allowed abuse or neglect to occur, our injury attorneys always push for the maximum compensation in claims such as these in order to deter other facilities or staff members from committing similar acts.
If you or someone you care about has suffered from neglect or abuse in a nursing home in Florida, contact a Gainesville attorney at Warner, Sechrest & Butts today.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Florida
There are more than 4.8 million residents in Florida of the age of 60 or older, and that number is expected to increase by 2.3 million by the year 2030. With such a large number of elderly residents in our state, it is frustrating and sad that so many suffer abuse or neglect at the hands of those who have pledged to provide care and services.
Signs of Abuse
Identifying abuse or nursing home negligence can be difficult as these actions and inactions do not always result in obvious injuries. And if the victim has a condition that causes confusion or the inability to communicate clearly, then it can be difficult to determine the cause of a bruise or cut.
Physical signs of abuse can include puncture wounds, cuts, bruises, burns and welts. They can also include changes in skin coloration which can point to malnutrition and dehydration. Soiled bedding and clothing, as well as bed sores and the lack of clothing, food, water and basic hygiene are often signs of abuse or neglect.
Behavioral signs of neglect or abuse can include a victim acting fearful, anxious, agitated, angry, isolated, withdrawn, depressed and non-responsive. Changes in behavior, such as refusing to talk openly, acting confused or disoriented, or using contradictory statements may be signs of neglect or abuse.
Types of Elder Abuse
Abuse and neglect can come in many forms.
- Physical abuse: kicking, hitting, beating, burning, restraining or any other acts that can inflict harm to an elderly patient; this may also fall under nursing home battery
- Psychological or Emotional abuse: harassment, intimidation, threats, demeaning comments, isolation
- Exploitation: improper use of a patient’s money, property or assets; cashing checks; forging signatures; forcing a patient to sign a document; using a patient’s ATM or debit card
- Sexual abuse: any nonconsensual sexual contact, including rape, battery, assault, sodomy, forced nudity or inappropriate photography
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Immediately
If it can be proven that a care facility or staff member acted inappropriately, abusively or negligently, then those responsible may be held liable for damages. In a case of nursing home abuse or neglect, damages can include pain and suffering, medical bills, disability and disfigurement. In the State of Florida, punitive damages may also be awarded which can further deter others, and the defendant, from continuing similar behaviors. If you suspect abuse, contact our medical malpractice lawyers today.
Common Reasons to File a Claim
Understaffing, Inadequate Training & Negligent Hiring: If a nursing home is understaffed, the patients may not be getting the care they need or deserve. Understaffing also leads to employees working long hours, which can cause them to become forgetful, inattentive or careless. And perhaps worse, employees may not be getting the wages they deserve for working longer hours. If a patient is injured or dies due to circumstances caused by understaffing, the facility may be found liable. The nursing home can also be held accountable for hiring workers who are not qualified for the type of work they are given. While on-the-job training is expected in many professions, certain certifications, degrees and training hours may be required by law for nursing home workers. In some cases, a nursing home may fail to properly train a staff member, which can lead to accidents, injuries and even death.
Errors in Medication: When it comes to doling out the proper medication in the appropriate dosage, it is the responsibility of the nursing home to ensure prescription drugs are administered correctly. Failure to do so can lead to devastating injuries or death, and the nursing home, prescribing physician or pharmacist who made the error could be found liable.
Nursing Home Abuse Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes nursing home abuse?
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. It occurs when an elder does not receive adequate care within a nursing home facility or by a professional.
What sort of ways may an elder in a nursing home be abused? What are some examples of these types of abuses?
Nursing home abuse can be sexual, physical, emotional, or financial. Common examples may include:
- Hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, punching or other forms of forceful or violent physical attacks against an elder
- Throwing objects or using weapons to threaten or attack an elder
- Misusing, exploiting or stealing an elder’s financial resources
- Videotaping or photographing an elder in sexual acts
- Forcing an elder to engage in sexual intercourse
- Fondling, groping or touching an elder’s private areas or genitals
- Threatening an elder
- Withholding food, water, fresh air or other basic resources from an elder
- Excessive name calling, bullying and verbally attacking an elder
Although medical malpractice is its own issue, professionals and facilities that are guilty of nursing home abuse and neglect may also be guilty of healthcare error. Nursing home employees are often required to provide medication to the residents. When the incorrect dosage is given to an elder, or if medication is wrongfully withheld, it constitutes medical malpractice. A medical malpractice lawyer at our medical malpractice law firm in Gainesville, FL is necessary in these types of cases.
If my loved one is being abused or neglected, what should I do?
If your loved one is being abused or neglected, you will need to act quickly to remove your loved one from harm. The first thing that you should do is take your loved one to a doctor for a comprehensive medical examination. Ensure that he/she gains the necessary treatment and medicine that is needed to properly heal (physically and emotionally).
Then, you should speak to the administrators of the nursing home facility, as well as the everyday individuals and nurses who usually tend to your loved one’s daily needs.
Lastly, you should visit our Gainesville law firm to discuss your case.
How is nursing home abuse or neglect detected?
There are many ways to detect nursing home neglect and abuse. Physical and sexual abuse are often identifiable by an elder’s sudden pains, discomfort, scars and bruising. The other types of abuse may be evident when an elder’s communication abilities and behaviors change. An elder may withdraw from usual activities, isolate himself/herself, cry unusually or experience depression, stutter, or experience severe fear or tension when around nursing care professionals.
Further, evidence of financial exploitation is detectable through careful and regular reviews of an elder’s assets, property and expenditures.
What type of damages may I be able to recover?
If your case is successful, Gainesville personal injury attorneys may help you recover economic and noneconomic damages. It is possible for the following types of damages to be restored through financial compensation:
- Medical treatment, transportation and testing fees
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Temporary and permanent disabilities
- Lost income and other assets
How will I know if my loved one is being neglected or abused?
The best way to know if and when your loved one is being neglected or abused is to maintain healthy communication with him/her. If your loved one resides in a nursing home facility, you should call and visit often. Ask your loved one specific questions regularly, such as those that deal with your loved one’s feelings and attitudes toward certain employees and the facility as a whole. Pay close attention to how your loved one interacts with other residents and the employees. You should also observe your loved one’s body for bruising and other unusual marks or pains.
How do I locate a nursing home that is safe and reliable?
Most hospitals and medical facilities are willing to share information on safe, reputable and dependable nursing homes within the area. Before enrolling your loved one into a nursing home that is recommended to you, be sure to inquire about complaints and applicable lawsuits or claims. You should also visit the facility with your loved one to determine if you are pleased with the environment. The attitudes and emotions of the majority of the current nursing home residents is often a good predictor of the conditions of a nursing home facility. If you suspect nursing home abuse, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Gainesville Attorneys for Abuse & Neglect in Nursing Homes
If you suspect that someone you love is a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact a personal injury lawyer at Warner, Sechrest & Butts right away. Our law office has served Gainesville and surrounding North Central Florida region for years, and we are always ready to fight for the rights of Florida residents.