Were you or a family member a victim of nursing home abuse in Miami – or anywhere in Florida?
Do you need to speak with a nursing home lawyer? We can help.
The law firm of Baron & Herskowitz is dedicated to handling the investigation and litigation of cases involving neglect and abuse of the elderly in who are living in long term facilities licensed as nursing homes, retirement homes and as assisted living facilities.
Don’t hesitate – to ask questions or to find out how we can help you, please call us at 305-670-0101 or fill out our online contact form for a free and confidential claim evaluation.
When people call our law firm, they want to know:
- Can I sue for nursing home abuse?
- What rights does someone living in a nursing home have?
- What signs should I look for – how do I really know they’re a victim?
- How do I prove that the abuse occurred?
- Is there a statute of limitations for nursing home abuse claims?
- Do I really need a nursing home attorney?
- Can you provide legal help for nursing home abuse cases anywhere in Florida?
It’s truly unfortunate, but neglect and abuse of Florida’s elderly happens every day and can be physical, emotional or financial – or a combination of them all. Our firm finds the abuse and harm of older people to be appalling and – like you – want to do everything we can to address the existing problem and hold people accountable for their actions.
Recent News, August 2019: Jacksonville Florida nursing home workers accused of abusing legally bling, 85 year old patient – Macclenny Nursing and Rehab Center just outside Jacksonville in Baker County.
Have You Seen Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Have you noticed signs that your spouse or mom or dad isn’t getting the care they need? And that the lack of care has resulted in physical and emotional injuries? If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being mistreated, neglected or abused, you should contact a Florida nursing home attorney immediately. The following are signs that something may be wrong:
- Unexplained bruises or injuries
- Untreated bed sores
- Your loved one seems distant or nervous
- The staff doesn’t allow you to visit with your loved one alone
- Your loved one denies visitors or wants to be left alone
- Your loved one is heavily sedated or seems out of it
- Unsanitary conditions such as unchanged bed sheets or dirty clothes
Abuse and neglect of the elderly can be found in the form of bedsores, open wounds, cuts, bruises, dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss, burns, falls, bowel impactions, medication errors, poor personal hygiene, verbal or physical abuse, over sedation, stolen money and jewelry among many other forms.
Any change of behavior may be a sign of maltreatment. You should pay attention to your loved one’s behavior and watch for signs. Many times, our elderly loved ones won’t tell us if something is wrong, maybe because they are embarrassed, ashamed or frightened. It’s not uncommon for them to ‘keep quiet’ out of fear of continued abuse. Or, in some cases, they may not be able to communicate or are confused about what proper care is. It is up to you to protect your loved one, to watch for signs and to listen to your instincts.
Can I Sue for Nursing Home Abuse?
Yes. You can sue for abuse or neglect in Florida if it resulted in the harm of the nursing home resident.
What can you sue the nursing home for? Simply, you’re able to sue for medical bills related to the injury, both bills that have already been incurred as well as future bills for doctor’s visits, surgeries, medicine, specialists, rehab and therapy. These are considered economic damages because they’re relatively easy to calculate. Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, are harder to calculate. You’re also able to sue for these damages. Additionally, if a loved one died due to negligence or improper care, you could sue for wrongful death claims.
What Rights Does Someone Living in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Community Have?
People living in nursing homes or assisted living communities here in Florida are protected by specific statutes as well as other state and federal laws. Florida statutes 400.022 mandates that nursing home residents are entitled to a basic set of rights.
Among those right, residents are entitled to:
- Be treated courteously, fairly, and with the fullest measure of dignity.
- Be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, extended involuntary seclusion, and from physical and chemical restraints except those ordered by resident’s physician.
- Private and uncensored communication.
- Visitation by any individual providing health, social, legal, or other services and the right to deny or withdraw consent at any time.
- Present grievances and recommend changes in policies and services free from restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal. Includes the right to have access to the ombudsmen and other advocacy groups.
Nursing home abuse lawsuits are based on violations of these rights and others by policies of the nursing home and/or the actions of nursing home employees. The statute also addresses the rights of residents to pursue legal action when their rights are violated.
To successfully proceed with legal action, a victim must 1) establish that the nursing home owed a certain duty to the resident, 2) the nursing home violated this duty and 3) the violation resulted in the residents loss, injury, damage or death. Doing so can be complicated and is the main reason why victims of nursing home abuse in Florida hire lawyers to help them.
We Want to Know if You Suspect a Florida Nursing Home Employee of Abuse, Neglect or Improper Care
If your loved one is under the care of a nursing home, there are some things you can do to help prevent negligence. Make frequent visits at different times of the day so the staff doesn’t know when to expect you. Get to know the staff. You should also pay attention to what is happening with other residents while you are visiting. Is there shouting? Are the residents being ignored? Does the facility smell like urine?
But if you suspect abuse, you should begin documenting your visits and what you’ve seen or heard. Take pictures of the room, bathroom and bedding. Take pictures of any physical injuries – bruises, cuts, sores or other injuries. Make sure you’ve got copies of what medications your loved one is taking. Write down names of attendants and employees who are supposed to have provided care. Take note of employees or staff who blame the resident, brush off incidents as a misunderstanding or pretend nothing happened at all. Be sure to mark down dates. And certainly – if you absolutely know that abuse has happened – you’ll want to move your loved one from the facility.
Our lawyers have worked on many nursing home cases, settlements and lawsuits. We fully understand the complexity of nursing home abuse claims. When you call, we know what to listen for and what questions to ask of you during the conversation.
Is there a statute of limitations for nursing home abuse claims?
Yes. In Florida, you essentially have two years to file a claim and pursue legal action. And while that may seem like a lot of time, it’s not. Often, it takes time to determine if abuse has happened, time to try and document the abuse, decide that legal action is appropriate and find a lawyer to help.
Florida Statute 429.296 addresses the statue of limitations. According to the statute, “Any action for damages brought under this part shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued.”
Don’t wait. If people working at nursing homes knowingly abused a resident, their hope is that victims forget and families don’t take action. They may repeat offenders who take advantage of the elderly. Without being held accountable, their actions might continue.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Exist in Miami and Around Florida?
Sometimes elderly residents are neglected due to lack of staff or poor training. Some abuse or improper care is the result of medical negligence or medical mistakes – especially as it relates to giving medicine. Sometimes, abuse occurs because nursing homes have employed ‘bad people’ who knowingly injure or take advantage of older patients.
But, it doesn’t matter. There is never an excuse for nursing home abuse or negligence. We put our loved ones in nursing home facilities because we can no longer provide them with the care they need. We put our trust in the staff that is taking care of them and hope that they will be treated like family.
When negligence or abuse occurs, it is a direct violation of our trust. And it is devastating.
At Baron & Herskowitz, our attorneys advocate for elderly patients and their families. We have the knowledge and experience to hold nursing homes accountable for the harm they cause to the elderly and their families. If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused while under the care of a nursing home in Miami or a surrounding area, we may be able to help you. Contact our law office to schedule a consultation today.
Do I Really Need to Hire a Nursing Home Law Firm?
People who file civil lawsuits for nursing home abuse claims will generally see a more successful outcome when they hire an attorney. The lawyers at Baron & Herskowitz have been successfully defending the rights of assisted living facility residents and their families for many years, and we have seen first-hand the catastrophic physical and emotional effects poor nursing home care can have on residents and their loved ones.
When family members are no longer able to provide adequate care for their elderly or disabled loved ones, they naturally trust that their loved ones will live happier and healthier lives with the support of the staff at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Tragically, this is not always the case, and hundreds of Americans are subjected to negligence or abuse in nursing homes every year. When this happens, the experienced and compassionate lawyers at our firm fight tenaciously until abusers or neglectful caregivers are held fully accountable.
While we have handled many of these cases, here are two recent cases. We’re happy to walk you through what happens when or if you decide to file a claim.
Nursing Home Neglect: we represented an elderly woman suffered unnecessary falls and a fractured hip.
Nursing Home Neglect: we filed a claim and reached a settlement on behalf of the survivor of an elderly relative who was mistreated.
What Other Forms of Neglect and Abuse May You See in Florida’s Nursing Homes?
As nursing home negligence lawyers serving residents of Miami and across Florida for years, our attorneys have helped families achieve justice after encountering all forms of abuse and improper care, including:
- Improper physical restraint
- Improper chemical restraint (through medication or sedation)
- Assault and battery
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Dietary neglect (malnutrition or dehydration)
- Insufficient medical care
- Lack of supervision
- Unexplained or uncommon cuts, bruises, or wounds
- Unusual financial activity
- Emotional agitation or withdrawal
- Weight loss
- Reluctance of a resident or patient to speak in the presence of staff
- Poor sanitary conditions
- Sudden behavioral changes
Can our Miami Nursing Home Lawyers Help You Today?
If your loved one has suffered injury, emotional distress, or even wrongful death due to nursing home negligence or abuse, we understand that there is no amount of money that can compensate for the resulting pain, suffering, and feelings of violation you and your family feel. Still, money recovered as damages in a nursing home neglect lawsuit can help families make sure that their ill-treated loved ones receive the very best care available.
Furthermore, by taking action and raising awareness of the growing problem of nursing home negligence, victims and their families may be able to prevent future mistreatment of nursing home residents.
If you suspect or know that your loved one has suffered negligent care in a nursing home, we encourage you to contact the Miami attorneys at Baron & Herskowitz. We can review the situation to determine if any abuse is or was present, and, if so, bring the full weight of our experience and resources to bear as we support you and your family in the pursuit of justice.
Legal resources and Florida nursing home abuse news:
Report abuse today – file a complaint with the Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, a volunteer-based advocacy organization seeking to improve long-term care facility residents’ quality of life and care. Investigates complaints made by or on behalf of residents. All investigations are confidential and provided at no charge.
- Call at: 1-888-831-0404 (toll-free) or 1-850-414-2323
- Write at: 4040 Esplanade Way Tallahassee, FL 32399-7000
Report elder abuse, neglect or exploitation
The Department works in conjunction with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Adult Protective Services and the Aging Network to protect disabled adults or elderly persons from further occurrences of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Services provided may include protective supervision, placement and in-home and community-based services.
To report online – go to the DCF web site at www.dcf.state.fl.us/service-programs/abuse-hotline/report-online.shtml
To report by phone – call Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). Press 1 to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. This toll free number is available 24/7. TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf): 1-800-955-8771.
Naples Daily News – Neglected: Florida nursing home workers avoid criminal charges in neglect, abuse deaths
Florida Today – Melbourne woman charged with molesting nursing home patient
TC Palm – How to stop the cycle of neglect in Florida’s nursing homes