Nursing home abuse poses a disturbing problem for residents and their families. When someone you trust to care for a loved one betrays that confidence, causing harm to an elderly family member, you have the right to pursue legal recourse.
The nursing home abuse attorneys at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can help you get your loved one out of a dangerous situation and explain your options for filing a claim for compensation.
How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (FDEA), residents reported almost 54,000 cases of nursing home abuse in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. This staggering number correlates with the high number of senior residents in Florida, but also reflects a disturbing trend in caregiver abuse in our state.
If you have a loved one living in a care home, or who relies on a live-in caregiver, learning the signs of abuse can help you spot a problem before it gets out of hand.
How Can I Recognize Abuse?
Chronic neglect underlies many abuse cases. However, in addition to neglect, elderly care home residents may experience mental, physical, sexual, and financial abuse.
You may detect a problem if you note any of the following red flags.
Caregiver neglect signs include:
- Dirty clothes or bedding;
- Poor hygiene;
- Missed medication;
- Malnutrition; and
Physical abuse symptoms might show up as:
- Cuts and bruises;
- Unexplained falls;
- Broken bones;
- Dislocated joints;
- Burns or scalds;
- Infections; or
- Head Injuries.
Emotional abuse symptoms often include:
- Emotional withdrawal;
- Inhibited speech; and
- Panic or agitation upon visitor departure.
Sexual abuse commonly includes the following symptoms:
- Unexplained bruising;
- Pelvic pain;
- Recurring UTIs;
- Trouble walking;
- Unwillingness to sit down;
- Social withdrawal;
- Panic or fearfulness; and
Financial abuse may include the following signs:
- Missing financial documents;
- Forged checks;
- Unexplained bank withdrawals;
- Unexplained credit card activity;
- New credit accounts; and
- Identity theft.
Your loved one may experience one or more of these red flags or something completely different. Our attorneys can help you understand if your loved one’s situation constitutes abuse.
What Can I Legally Do About Nursing Home Abuse?
Federal guidelines establish clear legal rights for those who live in nursing homes and residential care facilities, as well as those who have an in-home caregiver. Primary among those is the right to reasonable care and a safe environment. In addition to federal protections, provisions in the Florida state statutes also prohibit abuse and neglect in the residential care setting.
If the facility or caregiver in your case failed to uphold this strict duty of care and your loved one suffered because of it, we can hold the responsible party liable for their negligence.
If you suspect abuse has occurred, call the police to report the abuse. Then contact our office so we can begin building a case to hold the at-fault party responsible for their actions.
How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help Me?
Your local police will handle any potential criminal investigation. Meanwhile, you must get your loved one away from the abusive situation and into a safe place.
Our lawyers can assist you with this process and support you as you deal with this challenging and disturbing situation. A thorough medical and psychological exam can help to identify any injuries your loved one sustained and ensure they receive the medical treatment they need.
While you take care of your loved one, we will immediately start gathering evidence to support your legal claim for compensation. Holding the residential care facility responsible for neglect or abuse will help to ensure they do not victimize anyone else. Although a legal claim for compensation cannot undo the damage done to your elderly family member, it will ensure that they receive all the treatment and care they need to recover.
What Is the Value of My Claim?
To determine the value of your claim, we will consider the nature of the abuse and the injuries your loved one sustained. We will also seek input from doctors and medical experts to determine how much and what type of care the victim may need in the future. We will include all accrued costs for treatment, transport, and care, as well as the projected costs for future treatment.
Finally, we will add in the fair value of the pain and suffering your loved one endured at the hands of their abusers. Every nursing home abuse claim is unique, so speak to one of our attorneys to discuss the specific details that apply in your case.
How Do I File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?
The legal aspects of filing a claim for elder abuse are complex and they depend on the details of your case. Many cases may involve criminal charges from the state as well as civil violations, such as medical malpractice. In most cases, civil claims go through the insurance company for the facility and, if applicable, any medical practitioners involved.
Having one of our attorneys submit your claim and negotiate a settlement will ensure the protection of your family’s legal rights and help to achieve fair compensation for the injuries and damages your loved one sustained.
We will gather relevant evidence to support your claim. This may include photos of your loved one to document any injuries, photos of the nursing home, statements from witnesses, and any history the facility has of neglect or abuse. If necessary, we may call on experts in elder abuse to provide testimony about your case.
As we work through the claims process, the insurance company may attempt to offer you a lowball settlement or trick you into relinquishing your rights. To ensure that you do not compromise your rights to a legal settlement, do not speak with or give a statement to any insurance company or nursing home employee. Likewise, ensure that the victim does not give any statements or sign any documents.
The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine Can Help You and Your Family Recover.
Time is of the essence for filing a nursing home abuse claim, as state law establishes a two-year statute of limitations for legal action. The sooner your attorney can begin assembling the evidence necessary for your claim, the better your chances for a quick resolution.
The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine provides compassionate but aggressive legal representation for abuse victims and their families. We offer a complimentary consultation and personal injury claim review to help you understand your options. Contact us today at 800-747-3733 to speak with a lawyer in Kendall.