Compassionate Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
At The Turnbull Law Firm, we understand how difficult it can be to place an elderly or disabled family member in a nursing home, retirement community or long-term care center. The transition from living at home to assisted living can be emotionally charged at the best of times, but we make this change in the hope that our loved ones will be better off. We expect these facilities to provide our family members with the care they need and that our loved ones will be free from harm. That is why nursing home abuse is such a grim and awful subject when it arises.
The Turnbull Law Firm has years of experience investigating nursing homes for signs of abuse and neglect and making sure that nursing homes are held responsible for perpetuating abuse against residents or allowing it to occur. If you have reason to suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, it is vital that you do not delay in taking action.
Nursing Home Neglect Vs. Abuse
Nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse are two separate but equally harmful problems. At The Turnbull Law Firm, we represent clients who have experienced either or both. Neglect refers more specifically to a lack of appropriate care provided to nursing home residents, a failure to provide for residents’ basic needs such as food, water, cleanliness, hygiene, clothing, physical activity, medical treatment or medication and other physical and emotional needs. Failing to provide residents with these basic necessities violates the rights of patients and the duties owed to residents by nursing homes.
Nursing home abuse refers to affirmative, harmful conduct perpetrated by nursing home staff or other individuals. Abuse is equally, if not more, despicable than neglect and represents the intentional infliction of harm, often by the use of physical force. Abuse can involve physical conduct such as hitting, biting, scratching, sexual abuse or inappropriately restraining residents or mental harm such as belittling, demeaning, harassing or threatening residents.
Abuse can take the form of deliberate neglect, such as denying residents food, water, clothing or shelter as a form of punishment. Abuse can even be financial if staff steals or cons money from residents. Nursing homes or long-term care facilities whose staff intentionally cause residents physical harm or mental anguish or deliberately permit visitors, residents or other third parties to do so must be held accountable for their abusive conduct.
The Frequency Of Neglect And Abuse
As horrible as it may seem, Florida nursing home staff mistreat residents much more than we would like to think. Nursing home abuse statistics gathered by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) demonstrate that abuse occurs at an alarming rate nationwide. According to the NCEA:
- Over 30% of adult women with disabilities residing in long-term care facilities and nursing homes have experienced some form of violence, and 40% of women without disabilities have experienced violence.
- When expanded to include any perpetrator, nearly 70% of disabled women have suffered physical abuse in their lifetime, and half experience sexual abuse.
- Disabled men also face elevated rates of abuse: Half of disabled men experience physical abuse in their lifetime, and at least 10% experience physical abuse by a personal assistance or care provider.
Nursing home abuse cases in Florida are rising at an alarming rate. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF), the total number of verified cases of abuse and neglect statewide increased from 1,448 in 2011 to 2,525 in 2015, a 74% increase in only five years. In Polk County, 25 defendants were charged with elder abuse or neglect, and 16 were convicted.
Nursing home abuse is a serious, pervasive and continuing problem both in Florida and nationwide. Reach out to a qualified, passionate and aggressive central Florida nursing home abuse lawyer for assistance if you have witnessed or suspect any form of nursing home abuse.
Grounds For Nursing Home Claims
During your free consultation with one of The Turnbull Law Firm‘s nursing home abuse attorneys, they can go over what type of compensation you may be able to recover based on the circumstances of your case and the extent of the injuries suffered by the resident.
The types of compensation that you could be eligible for include punitive damages and compensatory damages.
There are two types of compensatory damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Usually, nursing home abuse and neglect lead to additional health problems or new health problems that need treatment. The resident may need to be moved to another facility, which can be expensive to arrange, and may also require therapy. By providing proof of your Orlando medical expenses and other expenses related to the abuse and neglect, our nursing home abuse lawyers at The Turnbull Law Firm can fight for you to get the compensatory damages you deserve.
On the other hand, punitive damages are used to punish a defendant for negligence or intentional conduct. Your attorney will have to provide evidence of gross and reckless disregard for human life or the safety of persons exposed to that environment.
The work of the attorney is to provide evidence that the defendant knowingly engaged in intentional misconduct or negligence and that senior staff knew about it but did not correct it. Whether it is a director or a manager, sometimes the nursing homes work very hard to protect themselves and not the people in their care. So when you need a skilled Florida nursing home abuse attorney, call The Turnbull Law Firm.
Punitive damages punish a defendant for an intentional tort, negligence or willful conduct that risked injuring and killing another party.
What These Cases May Be Worth
There are many good reasons to accept a fair settlement rather than go to trial. First, there is no guarantee of how your case can go. The uncertainty of a verdict could add extra stress to your life. It will also add additional time for you to wait to move on from this case. You could also save an enormous amount of money on legal fees. Your attorney will exhaust the resources to get you the settlement that you deserve.
However, there are times when either party cannot agree on the settlement amount, and the case goes to trial. If your case goes to trial, a judge or a jury will have to reach a verdict to determine how much in damages you are owed, if you receive anything at all.
Signs Of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
The nursing home abuse lawyer at The Turnbull Law Firm has years of experience identifying the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect. If your loved one is a resident at a nursing home in Central Florida and you suspect that they are the victim of abuse or neglect by staff, visitors or other residents, it is vital that you act as soon as possible. If your elderly relative may be the subject of negligence or abuse, you need to determine the facts as soon as possible and get them out of the situation where necessary.
Nursing home neglect attorney Sanga Turnbull is ready to help you investigate any suspected abuse or neglect and will ensure that any long-term care facility, nursing home or other parties responsible for harm to your loved ones are held accountable. Some of the signs of nursing home abuse are obvious, while others may be more subtle. Below, we provide a few of the more common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Confusion Or Disorientation
You know your loved one, you know their temperament, and you know their level of cognition. If they appear to be more confused, disoriented, drowsy or sleeping all the time, and you know that to be unusual, it may be a sign that they are overmedicated or undermedicated. The staff may be ignoring the negative side effects of their current medication regime, failing to make appropriate adjustments.
Unexplained Physical Injuries
Everyone experiences a few bumps and bruises here and there, but when you visit your loved one, be on the lookout for unusual, extreme or unexplained personal injuries. If you notice broken bones, cut lips, black eyes or bruises on the arms, neck, legs or wrists (signs of shackling), make sure to ask the resident and the staff what happened. Such injuries are unusual; perhaps one incident can be explained away, but regular injuries such as these are almost certainly signs of abuse. Moreover, even a single broken bone, if not explained to your satisfaction, may indicate abuse.
Malnourishment And Dehydration
Nursing homes have a responsibility to keep residents well-fed and hydrated. If you find that your elderly relative appears malnourished, such as if they are emaciated, lack energy, experience sudden weight loss, have sunken eyes or otherwise appear to have not been eating right, it may be a sign of abuse or neglect. Additionally, look for signs of dehydration: cracked lips, dry skin, croaked voice, etc. Nursing home staff are trained to identify these kinds of conditions and respond accordingly. If the resident is left untreated, it may be because the staff is simply negligent and ignoring your loved one, or a malicious staff member may be denying them food and water as a form of punishment.
Unsanitary Conditions And Poor Hygiene
Nursing homes are responsible for keeping residents clean and comfortable. They must keep the premises well-kept, such as by washing sheets, clothes and towels, cleaning rooms and bathrooms, emptying trash cans and otherwise keeping the residents out of the filth. They are also responsible for ensuring that residents are bathed and clean, that they brush their teeth and are otherwise hygienic. Look out for unsanitary conditions such as mold, mildew, old garbage and old food, and ensure that your loved one does not appear dirty, unwashed or unkempt with untrimmed nails or unbrushed teeth.
Bedsores And Other Untreated Maladies
Nursing homes must keep residents mobile to avoid problems such as bedsores. Even immobile residents should be turned over or moved around on wheelchairs to keep them somewhat active. Likewise, incontinent residents must be cared for, toileting-assisted and disposable briefs changed regularly. Look out for bedsores, open wounds, smells of feces or urine or frequent urinary tract infections, which can be a sign that a resident is being ignored or medical attention is being withheld.
Signs Of Emotional Abuse
Not all abuse is physical. Overworked, overstressed or otherwise angry or mean nursing home staff may lash out at residents. They may belittle, demean, intimidate or humiliate residents. Signs of emotional abuse include the following: unusual fear or aggression towards staff or people generally; rapid mood switches; fear or anxiety, especially about speaking around staff; feelings of depression, anxiety or isolation; appearing withdrawn; or any other significant change you notice about their demeanor or disposition.
How To Combate Neglect
All people deserve to spend their last years living with dignity. Unfortunately, some of them become victims of abuse and neglect. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from abuse at a nursing home in Orlando, there are some things that you can do.
First, you can’t report nursing home abuse to local law enforcement. Because the elderly are often unable to perform normal activities of daily living or provide their own care or protection due to their age, disability or even dysfunction, they are protected under Florida Adult Protective Services.
You can call the Elder Abuse Hotline. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anyone who suspects elder abuse, whether it’s neglect, exploitation or abandonment, can call 1-800-962-2873 to report abuse.
In accordance with the Older Americans Act, every state is required to have a long-term care ombudsman who works to resolve any problems related to the health, safety and welfare of residents in nursing homes.
File a grievance. Any facility that accepts payments from Medicare or Medicaid must have a grievance procedure to hear complaints formally. You can report Orlando’s nursing home abuse by filing a grievance. You may be able to contact a manager at the Orlando nursing home to find out more.
Alternatively, you can reach out to our nursing home abuse attorneys and report abuse that you suspect is occurring in an Orlando nursing home. The attorneys will know what next steps need to be taken.
Wrongful Death Cases
In the state of Florida, it is the right of surviving family members of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit whenever a loved one’s death was the result of willful or negligent actions taken by the nursing home and its staff. A wrongful death claim is usually filed when the victim would have otherwise been entitled to filing a personal injury claim.
In all wrongful death cases, personal injury attorneys must prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care. Then they must prove that the defendant, in this case – a nursing home – breached their duty of care to the resident. This breach of duty was the cause of injury (physical, mental or financial) or death of the resident and caused the resident to suffer damages as a result of the breach.
If a health insurance company paid for treatment of the injuries that were sustained at the nursing home, then the health insurer must be paid back from the damages that you receive for the care they covered before the decedent’s death.
Fighting Back Against Nursing Home Abuse
The nursing home abuse attorney at The Turnbull Law Firm does not tolerate abuse in Florida nursing homes. If you have any reason to believe that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, call us to immediately begin an investigation and get your family member to a safe space.
They will fight tooth and nail to ensure that your family is protected and that the nursing home, long-term care facility and any other parties responsible for hurting your family are forced to compensate you for the damage they have caused. Nursing home residents have the right to be safe and free from harm, and families have the right to be secure in the safety of their elderly or disabled kin.
They work with clients to make sure that these rights are satisfied. Contact their Orlando nursing home abuse lawyer by calling 863-336-6993 or clicking this link to schedule your initial consultation today.