legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Tampa is a major city on Florida’s Gulf Coast, home to around 380,000 people. Thirteen percent of the city’s population are senior citizens, while 8.2% are people with disabilities under 65. Many of these individuals reside in nursing homes, where they receive the level of care and attention they need to stay safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, many nursing home residents receive substandard care despite the rules and regulations for nursing home operations. Some even experience intentional harm from the people responsible for their care. As a result, thousands of vulnerable individuals suffer injuries, illnesses, and even death in the place where they are supposed to be safe.
The affiliate Florida personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC work tirelessly to defend the legal rights of these victims. If you or a loved one are a victim of nursing home abuse, we can help you seek the justice you deserve.
Call Tampa nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 or use this contact form for a free consultation. All sensitive information you disclose during your free case evaluation 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. It can result from negligence, carelessness, or malicious intent of nursing home employees, visitors, or other residents.What is Elder Abuse?
According to the law, elder abuse is a single or repeated act or inaction that causes harm to an older person aged 60 and older. It can occur in any relationship with an expectation of trust, such as in a caregiver relationship.
Since over 90% of nursing home residents are senior citizens, elder abuse is the most common type of nursing home abuse.The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act defines what services nursing homes must provide residents and establishes standards for these services. This law aims to protect the legal rights of nursing home residents, including:
- Freedom from abuse, neglect, or mistreatment
- Freedom from physical restraints
- Accommodation of physical, psychological, medical, and social needs
- Participation 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
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.Types and Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities occur in many ways and manifests in different signs, including:
Physical abuse involves the deliberate use of physical force against a nursing home patient, causing pain, injury, or impairment. It includes but is not limited to actions like slapping, striking, kicking, burning, pinching, and restraining without medical reasons.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Broken bones
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., cuts, burns, bruises)
- Broken eyeglasses
- Restraint or grip marks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Psychological abuse, also known as mental or emotional abuse, involves verbal and non-verbal acts that cause psychological harm to a resident. These acts may include verbal abuse, humiliation, intimidation, gaslighting, and geographical or social isolation.
Signs of Psychological Abuse
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Poor mental health
- Being extremely withdrawn
- Loss of enjoyment in usual activities
- Bouts of anger
- Difficulty sleeping
Sexual assault or abuse is any non-consensual sexual act done to another person, including individuals who cannot give valid consent. It can take many forms, including verbal sexual harassment, unwanted touching, sodomy, coerced nudity, and rape.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Reluctance or refusal to be touched
- Unexplained bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Genital infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Refusal to be alone with specific individuals
Financial abuse is the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of a resident’s resources, including money, belongings, and assets. Financial abuse occurs in different ways, such as forging checks, stealing valuables, and using credit cards without authorization.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- Unexplained transactions on credit cards
- Missing belongings
- Forged signatures on financial documents
- Inconsistencies in financial records of the facility
- Sudden changes in financial habits
Neglect is the failure of a nursing home staff member to provide a patient’s basic needs, including food, medication, clothing, a clean living environment, and medical care, creating or increasing the risk of harm to a patient. It may be intentional or unintentional but is considered abuse either way.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor physical appearance and hygiene
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Inadequate clothing for the weather
- Poor mental health
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, walkers, hearing aids)
- Unexplained medical conditions (e.g., pressure ulcers)
- Medication errors
Sometimes, the signs of nursing home abuse are mistaken for mental illness or dementia. Other times, family members of abused residents simply do not notice the less obvious signs of abuse and neglect.
The indicators of nursing home neglect and abuse may mimic those of a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. These conditions share similar signs, such as social withdrawal, irritability, and frequent mood changes. Similarly, elder abuse may manifest in signs close to dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s), such as behavior and personality changes.
Moreover, abuse may manifest in signs that are not easily noticeable, unlike physical indicators like pressure sores and bruises. An abused resident may become withdrawn, lose enjoyment in daily activities, or have difficulty sleeping, which may go unnoticed by their family members.
If you suspect abuse in your loved one but are unsure whether they are suffering from a medical condition, consult a specialist.Who is Most at Risk for Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is always a risk, even for residents in high-quality facilities. However, some people are more vulnerable to abuse than others, including:
- Patients with physical or mental disabilities
- Patients with special needs
- Patients with access to an abundance of wealth
- Dementia patients
- Women and children
- Patients in understaffed nursing facilities
A nursing home facility’s failure to provide adequate care or prevent abuse among its residents can lead to many adverse effects, including:
- Physical injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Untreated medical conditions (e.g., pressure sores)
- Mental anguish
- Financial losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or social ties
- Increased risk of illnesses and future injury
- Wrongful death
A nursing facility is more prone to abuse and neglect if the following issues are present:
- Underqualified Staff: Nursing home employees require specific qualifications to care for disabled and elderly patients. Without an adequate educational background, a staff member may be more likely to engage in abusive or neglectful behavior.
- Lack of Training: Nursing facilities must provide proper employee training to reduce the risk of mistakes, inappropriate behavior, and medical malpractice.
- Understaffing: A lack of staff members creates high-stress environments and situations wherein there are not enough people to care for all residents, increasing the risk of abuse and neglect.
- Poor Management: Lack of accountability, supervision, and organization can promote abusive or neglectful behavior among staff members.
Report known or suspected abuse to the Tampa Police Department as soon as possible. Call 911 if you think your loved one or another patient is in immediate danger. Remove your loved one from the nursing home facility until you resolve your suspicions.
You can also file a formal complaint to the following agencies:
- Florida Department of Children & Families Abuse Hotline
- Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)
- Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Department of Health (DOH)
State or local agencies may suspend or revoke the licenses and certifications of negligent Florida nursing homes. Similarly, local police may file criminal charges against a perpetrator if they find evidence of malicious intent.
After you file your report and remove your family member from a potentially dangerous situation, contact a nursing home abuse attorney for a free legal consultation.How to File a Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Claim
Have you or a loved one suffered abuse in a Tampa nursing home? Did the abuse result in significant physical, psychological, or financial harm? If so, it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation from the negligent nursing home.
The Role of Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Filing a personal injury claim without legal representation may hinder you from obtaining fair financial compensation. Hiring a lawyer ensures you receive the value you deserve and that the nursing home is held fully accountable for its negligence.
A skilled Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer can help you:
- Explore your legal options based on Florida law
- Establish the liability of at-fault parties
- Collect evidence to support your claim
- Handle all claim-related paperwork
- Negotiate settlement values
- File your case in civil court, if necessary
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will help determine who is responsible for the abuse or neglect. At-fault parties may include:
- Nursing facility staff
- Other nursing home residents
The owner or administrator of the nursing home will also be held liable for your damages, even if only one staff member or a nursing home resident is responsible for the mistreatment.
Every personal injury claim requires adequate evidence to prove the liability of at-fault parties. Your Tampa nursing home abuse attorney will help you collect evidence to support your claim, including:
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries
- Medical records
- Psychological evaluations
- Incident reports
- Police reports
- Witness accounts from nursing home staff, visitors, or other residents
- Expert testimony
The value of your settlement or verdict will depend on the damages your family incurs, such as:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for the cost of treating your loved one’s injuries, including hospitalization, medication, therapy, surgery, emergency transportation, etc.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your family member becomes disabled from the abuse or neglect. These damages may include loss of quality of life, mobility aids, and disability-related medical care.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries, including bodily pain and emotional suffering.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for your loved one’s reduced quality of life after the abuse or neglect, which may manifest in loss of enjoyment in daily activities, decreased independence, reduced societal ties, etc.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for death-related damages if your loved one dies as a result of the abuse or neglect. These damages typically include funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical treatment, grief, etc.
- Punitive Damages: Monetary awards on top of compensatory damages, aiming to punish negligent nursing homes for their actions or inaction.
Your attorney will estimate the settlement value your family deserves during your free case review.
When you file a claim against a negligent Tampa nursing home, the facility’s insurance company might offer a settlement. Accepting the offer will prevent you from pursuing additional charges against the facility. That said, having your lawyer negotiate the offer on your behalf is crucial.
If negotiations are unsuccessful (or the Tampa nursing home refuses to take responsibility for the abuse or neglect), your lawyer could file a civil lawsuit against them. During the trial, a judge or jury will hear evidence from both sides and determine a verdict.
Your Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer will review the implications of a civil suit during your free case evaluation.
The Statute of Limitations
According to Florida law, victims injured from another’s negligence have four years from the date of the underlying incident to file a case. (Florida Statutes Section 95.11) If the injuries lead to wrongful death, plaintiffs have two years to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Taking legal action as soon as possible is key to recovering fair compensation. A delay in filing could result in a loss of evidence and more expensive legal fees. If you miss the deadline but still file, the defendant will likely file a motion to dismiss. You may be unable to recover compensation for your damages if the court approves the dismissal of the case.
Your Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer will help you file your case on time to avoid losing your settlement. During your free consultation, ask about the statute of limitations for your particular case.Hire an Experienced Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Resolve Your Case
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are legally obligated to protect nursing home residents from abuse, neglect, and mistreatment. Failure to do so may serve as grounds for a personal injury claim or lawsuit, especially if victims suffer significant physical, mental, or financial harm.
Did you or a loved one experience substandard health care in a nursing home or assisted living facility? Or perhaps outright malicious actions, such as physical assault? Either way, you have the right to seek compensation from responsible parties.
The Tampa nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC have been defending the rights of abuse and neglect victims for years. Our partners help those that have suffered injuries or mental harm recover the compensation they deserve through litigation or out-of-court settlements.
Call our affiliate Tampa nursing home abuse attorneys at (800) 926-7565 or use a contact form for a free consultation. All sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain confidential under an attorney-client relationship.
Our lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency basis, meaning our legal services are free unless we win your case.