Nursing Home Neglect Cases: Helping You Receive the Compensation You Deserve
Nursing home neglect is a serious issue that affects many elderly and vulnerable individuals in Florida. If you or a loved one has been the victim of neglect in a nursing home, you may be entitled to recover damages for the harm you have suffered. This article will discuss the elements of a nursing home neglect claim in Florida, the types of damages the plaintiff may receive, and the steps you can take to protect yourself or your loved one from neglect. There are several forms of nursing home neglect, including physical, emotional, and medical neglect. Physical neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide necessities such as food, water, and medical care. The lack of everyday needs can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and severe medical conditions. Emotional neglect occurs when a nursing home staff does not provide the residents with the necessary emotional support and companionship. Without this support, residents may experience depression, loneliness, and a loss of self-worth. Medical neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide medical care to its residents. Medical neglect can lead to serious injuries, illnesses, and even death. In Florida, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)) regulates and monitors nursing homes. AHCA is responsible for conducting regular inspections of nursing homes to ensure that they meet the state’s standards for care. If a nursing home violates these standards, AHCA may take action against the facility, including fines, penalties, and revocation of its license. However, despite these regulations, nursing home neglect remains a severe problem in Florida. In recent years, numerous reports of neglect and abuse in nursing homes throughout the state have arisen.
Elements of a Nursing Home Neglect Claim in FloridaTo succeed in a nursing home neglect claim in Florida, the plaintiff (the person who the nursing home neglected) must prove the following elements:
- The defendant (the nursing home or its employees) had a legal duty to provide a certain standard of care to the plaintiff.
- The defendant breached that duty by failing to provide the standard of care required.
- The plaintiff suffered harm due to the defendant’s breach of duty.
- One of the most common forms of nursing home neglect is bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers. Bed sores are caused by prolonged pressure on a specific area of the body, often the hips, tailbone, and heels. They are preventable with proper care and attention. If a nursing home resident has bed sores, it clearly indicates neglect.
- Another common form of neglect is medication errors. The nursing home staff must ensure that residents receive their medications on time and in the correct dosage. If a resident does not receive their medication or the wrong medication, it can lead to serious health complications.
Types of Damages that are recoverable:If a plaintiff is successful in a nursing home neglect claim in Florida, they may be entitled to recover damages, including:
- Compensatory damages: These are damages that compensate the plaintiff for any losses suffered as a result of the neglect, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages: These damages punish the defendant for their wrongful conduct and act to deter similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages come into play when the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious or reprehensible.
- Emotional distress damages: These damages compensate the plaintiff for any emotional distress suffered due to the neglect. Examples of emotional distress include anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
- Attorneys fees: The plaintiff may also be able to recover attorney fees incurred in pursuing a nursing home neglect claim against the defendant.
Steps to Protect Yourself or your Loved One from Nursing Home NeglectBelow are some of the steps you can take to protect yourself or a loved one from nursing home neglect:
- Research nursing homes: Before placing a loved one in a nursing home, research the facility and its staff. Look for any red flags, such as a history of neglect or abuse.
- Visit frequently: Visit your loved one often and at different times of the day to ensure they are receiving the proper care.
- Speak up: If you notice or suspect neglect or abuse, speak up immediately. Report your concerns to the nursing home staff and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and consider consulting an attorney.