legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Jacksonville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida and home to thousands of vulnerable adults, including the elderly and disabled. Many Jacksonville families entrust the care of their loved ones to nursing homes, where residents are supposed to receive the special care and attention they require to thrive.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes meet this obligation. As a result, thousands of nursing home residents suffer abuse and neglect, leading to severe injuries, illnesses, and even death.
Did you or a loved one become a victim of nursing home abuse? The affiliate Florida personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can help recover the financial compensation that your family deserves.
Call our Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 or use this contact form to schedule a free consultation. All sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain confidential under an attorney-client relationship.What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a single or repeated act that causes physical, psychological, or financial harm to a nursing home resident. Both intentional and unintentional harm may be considered nursing home abuse. It can result from reckless, negligent, or malicious actions of nursing home employees, visitors, and other residents.What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is an action or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to a person aged 60 and above. Considering over 90% of nursing home residents are senior citizens, elder abuse is the most common type in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care institutions.
Elder abuse occurs at the hands of caregivers and people that the older adult trusts, including family members and friends.What is The Nursing Home Reform Act?
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act specifies what services nursing homes must provide to residents and solidifies standards for these services. It aims to protect the legal rights of nursing home patients, including:
- Freedom from abuse, neglect, or mistreatment
- Freedom from physical restraints
- Accommodation of physical, psychological, medical, and social needs
- Participate in resident and family groups
- Be treated with dignity
- Exercise self-determination
- Communicate freely
- Participate in one’s care plan review and be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or status change in the facility
- Voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
A nursing home that fails to meet these rights may face legal repercussions through a personal injury claim or civil lawsuit.
The state law determines residents' rights if federal statutes do not regulate the nursing home. Laws regarding nursing home abuse vary from state to state.What are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Abuse in nursing homes can occur in many ways, including:
Physical abuse is an intentional act that causes pain, illness, injury, or impairment to a nursing home patient. It includes but is not limited to actions such as:
- Using physical restraints without a medical reason or authority
Psychological abuse, also known as mental or emotional abuse, involves verbal or non-verbal acts that cause psychological harm to a resident, such as:
- Humiliation or disrespect
- Geographic or interpersonal isolation
Any non-consensual sexual act done to another person is considered sexual abuse, including:
- Sexual harassment
- Touching or groping
- Coerced nudity
- Explicit photography
Financial abuse is the unauthorized, illegal, or improper use of a patient’s resources, including money, benefits, valuables, and assets, for the benefit of someone other than the patient. It includes but is not limited to:
- Forging checks
- Stealing valuables
- Making unauthorized transactions on credit cards
- Coercing the patient to make bank transfers
- Charging unnecessary services
Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide a resident’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical treatment. Nursing home neglect can occur in many ways, including:
- Failing to provide adequate food and water
- Not supervising a resident
- Disregarding the cleanliness and safety of the patient’s living conditions
- Failing to provide adequate care in a timely manner
- Failing to answer call lights and other assistance calls
- Not dressing the patient according to the weather
- Medication errors
- Disregarding a patient’s personal hygiene
Neglect, whether intentional or unintentional, is considered nursing home abuse.What Are The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse and neglect can manifest in many ways. Some signs are less obvious than others, making it crucial for family members to pay close attention to their loved ones’ health and well-being while in the nursing home.
The following are the common signs of each subtype of abuse.
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., bruises, burns, cuts, abrasions)
- Broken bones
- Restraint or grip marks
- Broken eyeglasses
Mental or Emotional Abuse
- Being withdrawn or non-communicative
- Extreme anger
- Depression or anxiety
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Genital infections
- Injuries around the breasts or genitals
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Fearfulness around specific people
- Fear or being touched
- Unexplained pregnancy
- Unexplained withdrawals or credit card transactions
- Changes in financial habits
- Missing belongings
- Fraudulent signatures on financial documents
- Unexplained weight loss
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Poor hygiene
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Inappropriate clothing for the weather
- Untreated medical conditions
Take note that some signs of elder abuse may mimic the indicators of dementia, such as sudden changes in mood and personality, withdrawal from activities, and depression. Consult a specialist if you are unsure whether your loved one is suffering from elder abuse or a degenerative disease.Who is Most at Risk For Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?
Although all nursing home patients carry a risk of being mistreated in a nursing facility, these individuals are more at risk due to their highly vulnerable states:
- Patients with physical or mental disabilities
- Women and children
- Patients with access to cash and bank accounts
- Patients that require additional medical care
- Patients in understaffed or poorly managed facilities
- Elderly patients with degenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease)
Nursing home abuse cases are more likely to happen in facilities with the following issues:
- Understaffing: A lack of staff members creates high-stress environments, increasing the risk of abuse. Similarly, not having enough staff to provide adequate patient care may increase the risk of neglect.
- Underqualified or Improperly Trained Staff Members: Disabled and elderly individuals require a particular type of care, making proper qualifications and training necessary. A facility’s failure to hire and train qualified employees increases the risk of abuse and neglect.
- Poor Management: Employees under poor management are more likely to lack accountability, supervision, and employee satisfaction. These factors contribute to the risk of abuse and neglect among patients.
Nursing home neglect and abuse lead to several adverse effects on residents and their families, including:
- Physical injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Mental anguish
- Monetary losses
- Reduced family and societal ties
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death
Report abuse to the Jacksonville Police Department as soon as possible. The police will investigate your report and remove your loved one from the premises if necessary. They may also file criminal charges against the perpetrator if they find evidence of malicious intent.
If you think your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911.
The following agencies handle nursing home, and elder abuse reports in Florida:
- Florida Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Florida Department of Health
- Florida Department of Children and Families
- Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)
The National Center For Elder Abuse also provides information on when and how to report abuse.How Do You File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?
Have you or a family member suffered physical or psychological harm due to a nursing home’s negligence? You could hold them accountable by filing a personal injury claim. In doing so, you could seek compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
When filing a personal injury claim, your Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyer will determine who should be responsible for the abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. Relevant parties may include:
- Staff Members: The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that around 64% of nursing home employees admitted to committing elder abuse in 2020. Staff members are the most common perpetrators of mistreatment in nursing facilities.
- Visitors: A nursing home resident could also suffer abuse from a visitor of another resident. Many cases of visitor-related abuse fall under financial exploitation.
- Other Residents: Nursing homes must mitigate risks relating to potentially dangerous residents. Failure to do so can lead to the assault or mistreatment of other individuals in the facility.
- Owners and Operators: The owner or operator of the nursing home may also be held liable for preventing abuse, mistreatment, and neglect in the facility, even if only a single staff member or resident caused the injuries.
A free consultation with one of our nursing home abuse lawyers will help you determine relevant parties in your nursing home abuse claim.
Filing a personal injury claim against a negligent nursing home could help you recover compensation for the following losses:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for treating injuries or trauma caused by abuse or neglect. Treatment costs may include hospitalization, medication, emergency transportation, and therapy.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related losses if you or your family member becomes disabled from the mistreatment. These losses may include mobility aids, loss of quality of life, physical therapy, rehabilitation, etc.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and emotional injuries, such as emotional distress, mental trauma, and physical pain.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life caused by the abuse or neglect. These losses may include loss of independence, reduced family or societal ties, withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities, etc.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for funeral and burial costs, grief, pre-death medical treatment, and other death-related losses if your family member dies from the mistreatment.
- Punitive Damages: Payment on top of compensatory damages that aims to punish the at-fault parties for their dangerous actions (or inaction) and deter harmful behavior in the future.
One factor determining the value of your claim is the extent of your damages. A Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyer from our affiliate law offices will give you an estimate of a fair settlement for your specific case during your free legal consultation.
Proving the fault of a Jacksonville nursing home or elder care facility requires substantial evidence. Your nursing home abuse attorney will help you collect evidence of the abuse or neglect, such as:
- Medical records
- Psychological evaluations
- Photos of injuries
- Witness accounts from employees or other patients
- Fraudulent transactions
- Expert testimony
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will tell you what evidence you need during your free consultation. Collecting as much proof as possible is crucial in legal battles involving large institutions like nursing homes.
The Role of Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
It is unwise to handle a nursing home abuse case by yourself. Aside from the complexities of the law, many insurance claims against nursing homes receive lowball settlements.
Hiring a skilled nursing home abuse attorney is necessary to obtain the compensation your family deserves.
Your lawyer can help you:
- Explore your legal options
- File a personal injury claim against the negligent Jacksonville nursing home
- Collect evidence to support your claim
- Source an expert to testify, if necessary
- Negotiate settlement values with the facility or their insurance company
- Report your case to the proper authorities
- Handle all paperwork
- Take your claim to civil court, if needed
Many parties settle out of court to avoid hefty legal fees and extensive litigations. Your Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyer will negotiate with the facility on your behalf to recover fair financial compensation for your family.
However, if negotiations are unsuccessful (or the nursing home denies responsibility for the abuse or neglect), your lawyer could take the case to a civil court. A judge or jury will determine if the facility is guilty of nursing home negligence and decide how much you should receive in compensation.
Litigation may or may not be necessary to receive compensation, but it depends on each claim. A free case evaluation with one of our skilled attorneys will help you explore your legal options.
The Statute of Limitations
You can file a claim against Jacksonville nursing home within four years if the case is founded on negligence. Otherwise, the statute of limitations is two years.
Filing a nursing home negligence claim as soon as possible is crucial. Waiting too long might make it easier for the defendant to contest your evidence. Moreover, if you miss the deadline, the defendant will likely file a motion to dismiss your case.How to Avoid Nursing Home Abuse
Unfortunately, abuse and neglect can happen in any nursing home or elder care facility. Nevertheless, there are plenty of preventive measures you can take to reduce your loved one’s risk of abuse or neglect, such as:
- Visit your family member as frequently as possible
- Learn how the signs of nursing home abuse differ from typical signs of aging
- Watch out for less obvious signs of abuse or neglect, such as behavior or personality changes
- Check your loved one’s medical and financial records for unexplained injuries and inconsistencies
- Encourage your loved one to talk about their negative experiences in the nursing home
- Give your loved one a means to contact your family in case of emergencies
- Observe how employees treat residents; watch out for signs of potentially abusive behavior
- Use the FloridaHealthFinder (run by the AHCA) to see if a facility has violations
Most importantly, take your loved one’s complaints seriously. If you think they are not receiving proper care, investigate their complaints. Even instances of mistreatment that seem insignificant may be an indicator of abuse or neglect. Don’t wait for the injustice to become worse before you take action.Hire a Jacksonville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Resolve Your Case
Have you or a loved one suffered abuse or a lack of appropriate care in a nursing home setting? Our nursing home abuse lawyers could help you recover fair compensation for your damages.
The nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC have years of experience battling negligent nursing homes in the Jacksonville area. Our skilled lawyers will fight for your rights, hold at-fault parties responsible for their harmful actions, and hopefully prevent vulnerable individuals from suffering the same abuse.
Contact our Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free case evaluation. Our experienced legal team will help you explore your legal options and determine the best way to handle your case.
All information you share during your free consultation will remain confidential under an attorney-client relationship. Furthermore, our Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for our services unless we win.