Families carefully weigh all possible options before deciding to place a loved one in a nursing home. They interview staff and tour facilities to ensure that the Spring Hill facility they chose is well staffed with caring professionals to accommodate their family member’s needs.
Unfortunately, even when families carefully choose nursing home facilities, sometimes loved ones experience neglect. All too often, nursing home negligence occurs because the skilled nursing facility doesn’t have enough trained staff to monitor and care for its residents. If you feel that a loved one isn’t receiving adequate care, you must act immediately. The legal team at the Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Injury Firm is available right now to evaluate your circumstances and offer solutions.
What Rights Does My Loved One Have as a Nursing Home Resident?
With the Baby Boomer generation accounting for more than a quarter of the Hernando County population, the number of people seeking care in nursing facilities is skyrocketing.
This can overwhelm understaffed nursing homes, but according to Section 400.022, Florida Statutes, nursing home residents still have specific rights, including:
- The right to be free of emotional, mental, physical, and financial abuse
- The right to be treated with dignity and respect
- The right to necessary services that maintain the individual’s health and well-being
- The right to maintain private communication, including unmonitored phone calls and uncensored mail
- The right to address grievances without fear of retaliation
Contact a Spring Hill nursing home negligence lawyer if you believe nursing home staff violated your loved one’s rights.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Negligence?
The average monthly cost for a semi-private room in a Spring Hill nursing home is about $9,900. This price is higher than Florida’s average of roughly $8,700 and the national average of $7,700. When families commit to spending such a significant amount on their loved one’s care, they believe that their loved one will receive excellent protection and supervision. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and the warning signs of nursing home negligence can be challenging to recognize.
Some indications of nursing home negligence include:
Inadequate training and understaffing often result in patients not receiving the proper care. While some instances of neglect aren’t intentional, they still cause discomfort and harm.
Watch out for:
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Unkempt hair and poor hygiene
- Soiled bedding and clothing
- Inappropriate seasonal clothing
- Seniors sitting unattended for long periods
#2. Bed-Bound Patient Injuries
It is uncomfortable to think that staff may need to use restraints on a loved one; however, restraints may be necessary for the patient’s safety in certain situations.
That said, Florida law requires a licensed physician’s authorization for implementing restraints. The physician must clearly state why and how staff will use the restraint and its duration. Additionally, the nursing home must have implied consent documentation from the patient or responsible family member.
If nursing home staff restrains your loved one, check for signs of excessive restraint use.
You may find:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, and broken bones
#3. Inaccurate Medication Dosages
The attending physician may prescribe appropriate medications and dosages to nursing home residents. However, if the nursing home staff does not properly administer these medications, you might notice sudden changes in your loved one’s appearance or behavior.
Over or under medication could manifest in:
- Unexplained mood swings
- Sudden confusion or disorientation
- Chronic pain
- Physical illness
#4. Slip and Fall Injuries
Because of the nursing home population’s frailty, floors and general surroundings must be well-organized, clean, dry, and clear of clutter.
If you notice the opposite, investigate unexplained injuries on your loved one, such as:
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
#5. Verbal Abuse or Intimidation
Verbal abuse can be subtle and happen over a long period, slowly wearing your loved one down emotionally. The perpetrator may employ the silent treatment, deprivation, harassment, belittling, threats, intimidation, and humiliation.
Some signs that staff is abusing your loved one include:
- Refusal to take medications
- Repetitive behaviors like rocking
- Fear of being left alone
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of confidence
#6. Financial Misappropriation
If you suspect that nursing home staff are manipulating your loved one into spending money where they otherwise wouldn’t, this may be financial abuse.
Some of the signs to look for include:
- Missing personal documents or checkbook
- Unexplained medical expenses or care costs
- Charitable donations to unknown causes
- Unexplained expenditures
What Should You Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence?
You should immediately remove your loved one from the facility if you feel they are in danger.
Sometimes, nursing home negligence occurs because the facility lacks adequate staff to accommodate the residents. Other times, the staff may not have appropriate training. Their actions, while unintentional, may cause your loved one unnecessary pain, suffering, or death. Other more sinister and abusive behavior could result in irreparable physical and emotional damage.
It can be heartbreaking to realize your loved one may be suffering. If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, you should contact the authorities to investigate the situation and take steps to remove your loved one immediately.
If you sense something is wrong and notice unexplained physical or behavioral changes each time you visit, keep a detailed log documenting behavior patterns and conditions.
Useful information includes:
- Marking the dates of each visit
- Noting your loved one’s mental, physical, and emotional state
- Recording the state of the facility and your loved one’s immediate surroundings
- Photographing any physical changes you notice on your loved one, such as bruises and cuts
- Writing down staff interactions with each other, your loved one, and other patients
- Documenting anything concerning that your loved one said
- Talking to other patients if you can and recording their responses
Contact an experienced Spring Hill nursing home negligence lawyer to discuss how to protect your loved one from negligence.
Does Florida Have a Statute of Limitations for Filing a Nursing Home Negligence Claim?
Yes. Under Florida Statute §95.11, the deadline or the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim varies depending on the specific situation. For example, you must file most personal injury claims within four years. However, you must file most nursing home liability claims within two years.
If you did not discover the negligence until later, the court might extend the deadline to file the case by four years. On the other hand, if you find out that the nursing home or its employees attempted to hide or change evidence, the court may extend the deadline to six years.
When nursing home neglect results in wrongful death, surviving family members can usually file a claim within two years.
The different deadlines are confusing and may change. For this reason, you should consult with a lawyer to ensure that the deadline for filing your claim has not passed. The most important thing to bear in mind is that time is of the essence in any personal injury case, particularly one involving a nursing home. Evidence may deteriorate or disappear over time as witnesses die or lose their memories.
Is It Necessary to Hire a Spring Hill Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer specializing in nursing home negligence cases can help you in many ways. Nursing home negligence cases are highly complex, requiring negotiating skills and contract analysis.
You want to hire a thorough law firm that can manage an in-depth investigation into the circumstances surrounding your unique case and develop a solid strategy to pursue compensation for damages you seek.
It is also crucial to have a lawyer who knows how to go up against high-powered insurance companies that attempt to deny liability or get you to settle for a fraction of the damages you seek.
To ensure the integrity of your case, you’ll want to talk to a Spring Hill nursing home negligence lawyer as soon as possible
What Compensation Is Available for the Victim of Nursing Home Neglect in Florida?
Courts award compensatory damages to repay the wronged party for past and future expenses incurred due to the negligence.
While every case is different, some types of compensation you may recover for your loved one include:
- Medical care costs
- Cost of physical rehabilitation or therapy
- Alternate living arrangements
If the court finds the case especially egregious, you may also receive punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the defendant for purposefully committing harmful acts. They also serve as a warning to others who might consider engaging in such activities.
What Happens if Your Loved One Dies as the Result of Spring Hill Nursing Home Negligence?
Sometimes, nursing home neglect is so subtle that you may not notice it until it is too late. In such instances, you may be able to hold the staff member who caused or contributed to your loved one’s death and the nursing home facility accountable.
It is crucial to provide your lawyer with an accurate record of all the details that may prove liability.
In addition to the notes mentioned above, you may also want to include:
- Medical conditions when your loved one entered the nursing home
- Any medical records created while your loved one was a resident of the nursing home
If your lawyer determines that you have enough evidence to pursue a wrongful death case, then you can try to hold the facility accountable for its negligent practices. Then, the court can award designated heirs the proceeds from a successful lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced Spring Hill Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer
If nursing home staff caused your loved one physical, emotional, or mental harm, contact a Spring Hill law firm that won’t back down from high-powered intimidation tactics. The Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Injury Firm will aggressively pursue compensation for the damages your loved one incurred due to nursing home employees’ careless, negligent, or abusive actions.
Our team includes several Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyers and National Board of Trial Advocacy Civil Trial Lawyers. These certifications show that our lawyers have the specialized knowledge, skills, and proficiency in personal injury law.
We advise our clients on how to proceed and keep the lines of communication open throughout the legal process. Our team of negotiators knows how to pursue fair settlements and advocate for our clients in the courtroom when necessary.