Care facilities for our loved ones are designed to meet the needs of our most fragile population in Florida. When a facility breaks this care contract, it is a deeper kind of trauma than most of us ever want to even think about. Abuse in a nursing home also hurts people who placed their family member in the situation; leaving them to deal with guilt they should never be handed, to begin with.
If you have found yourself in the middle of a nursing home abuse situation, let us first offer our empathy and compassion. These situations are intolerable and deserve the full support of the justice system. With that being said, at the King Law office we help victims and their families, seek compensation from those who have abused their power or negligently ignored situations that needed attention.
Know Your Legal Rights
There are laws in place in the state of Florida that are designed to protect your loved ones from misconduct and abuse situations. Here is a closer look at what some of the laws are, and the regulations care facilities and their staff must adhere to. If you suspect any issues with the following guidelines, you should contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Fort Myers immediately.
- Employees and Staff – The department of health lays out the nursing home care guidelines which require facilities to employ experienced and trained staff along with health practitioners. These members should have completed course work or classes, and be permitted to work in these types of facilities. A nursing home or rehab center must have a physician, nurse, and a dietitian available to handle the demands of patients. These professionals must carry licenses or certifications that illustrate their educational background and training. Further, all persons must be able to pass a criminal background check.
- Patient Living Conditions – Overall, care facilities must be clean, comfortable and safe. This means clean clothes should be readily available, bedding, and immediate environment should all be tended to regularly. Basic needs like safe drinking water, hot water, ample lighting, and HVAC should be easily accessible. All state disability standards should be practiced such as handicap ramps, bathroom handrails, and other safety measures.
Here is a list of fundamental rights that care facilities are charged with offering to their patients:
- Activity Offers and Exercise Options
- Healthy Food and Beverages
- Access to Emergency Medical Care and Medication
- Counseling for Mental and Emotional Health
- An Environment Free of Abuse or Misconduct
- Privacy of the Patient – Care facilities should offer all their patients a level of privacy that they would “reasonably” expect in a home-like setting. Patients should be permitted to close their doors, store and display personal items safely, and expect people to knock upon entering. The exception to this is in emergency scenarios. Staff should encourage patients to exercise their rights to make personal decisions, including medical decisions.
Patient Access and Communication
- Communication Access via Phone
- Mail and Package Services
- Visitation at Almost Anytime if Necessary or Within Clear Visitor Hours
- Overnight Visitation that Complies With Doctor Recommendations or Orders
- Compliance with Medicaid Regulations Without Fear of Losing Bed Space
Now that you have a better understanding about the rights of your loved one while under nursing home care, let’s take a closer look at when you might need a nursing home abuse lawyer in Fort Myers.
In the Situation of Death
In the worst outcome, death may occur at a nursing home. This is, by nature not uncommon. However, when circumstances seem uncertain, or death is the result of some sort of negligence, this is when you should seek legal guidance. Nursing home abuse lawsuits, especially when resulting in death, tend to evoke an emotional response from juries. Most people will place themselves in the position of the victim’s family, sometimes resulting in significant damage payouts to families.
In the Situation of Abuse
If you suspect there is some sort of abuse taking place, before you confront management, reach out to a Fort Myers nursing home abuse law firm. You should know your legal rights and what to look for before going to war with your care facility. You will need evidence, and if you complain before collecting evidence, the facility may try to hide or conceal events to keep you from filing a lawsuit. Keep a close eye on your loved one in the meantime with daily visits and start looking for evidence as directed by your attorney who will explain your next legal steps.
How Damages are Determined in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
You and your attorney will work together to determine the specifics of your case. Victims have been awarded tens-of-thousands of dollars to upwards in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Each case is unique, and circumstances and facts will determine what damages you can seek. Here are some of the factors that determine these numbers.
- Economic Factors – These damages can include loss of income, medical expenses, and legal fees to help a victim in their case.
- Non-Economic Factors – These damages relate to pain and suffering, which might include emotional distress, trauma, loss of the relationship for a spouse or child.
- Punitive Factors – These damages relate to the negligence, abuse or misconduct of the nursing home and are aimed to punish the negligent party for their conduct.
Did you know, Florida, is where some of the highest nursing home payouts have occurred? A family was awarded over $200-million after their family member passed away from rolling down a staircase in their wheelchair. To date, the highest paid lawsuit in a nursing home abuse lawsuit also happened in Florida, when the woman had passed away, and it wasn’t discovered for weeks. That resulted in a $1.2-billion lawsuit to her family.
We understand how unfortunate and tragic these kinds of cases can be, which is why we fight hard for our clients. If you’ve been impacted in some way by nursing home abuse, please call or connect with us today.