Stuart Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When the time comes to place an elder family member in one of the 36 nursing homes in and near Stuart, Florida, the family should be careful in choosing a residence. Being careful does not mean abuse of elder residents will not happen. If it does, the family should contact an experienced Stuart nursing home abuse lawyer to protect the family member and recover damages.
Across the United States, 11 counties encompass the highest population of elders and Florida has five counties on that list. Therefore, it is not surprising that Florida has some of the sternest nursing home regulations and elder laws in the nation, and a host of agencies serving elders.
If you believe a loved one may be suffering from elder abuse or negligence, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Stuart immediately to begin gathering the elements of the case and building an effective claim.
Common abuse in nursing homes includes acts of assault, battery, neglect, isolation, abandonment, sexual assault, and extortion. Any of these can be prosecuted under criminal law.
In fact, 190 abuse charges were filed in Florida courts in 2011 and of these 87 defendants were sentenced. In 2015, authorities charged 161 people and 62 defendants were sentenced, reports the Office of State Courts Administrator.
Elder abuse occurrences are increasing. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, 1,448 abuse cases were reported in 2011 compared to 2,525 cases in 2015.
Florida Elder Law
Elder law includes protecting the rights of nursing home residents. They are to be treated with dignity, be allowed privacy, to take part in religious and social events, and be provided high quality safe medical care.
Nursing home abuse is defined in Florida as an act that is committed with intent that can:
- Reasonably cause physical injury or psychological harm
- Inflict psychological or physical injury
- Encourage someone to commit an act that can reasonably inflict physical or psychological injury
It is illegal for a nursing home employee or manager who witnesses or has knowledge of an abusive act to ignore it. If an abusive act is not reported, a criminal charge can result. A person who knows of an abuse will be given immunity from prosecution if that person reports it. These elements can be best explained by a Stuart elder abuse attorney.
Nursing Home Negligence
In addition to criminal action, nursing home abuse falls under Florida’s comparative negligence in civil law. Negligence has four elements and each must be met to prove a civil case and achieve monetary damages.
- Duty of care: Each person has a legal obligation not to cause harm or property damage to another person or entity
- Breach: An act or failing to act in a situation violates a person’s duty to another
- Causation: The breach caused harm or property damage
- Damages: Monetary damages did occur
The nursing home breaches its duty to residents by:
- Serving contaminated or expired foods
- Not correcting dangerous conditions
- Not addressing a resident’s concerns
- Security lapses
- Failing to follow doctor or pharmacist instructions
- Improperly administering medications
When a nursing home has a contractual obligation with residents, a breach of the contract may also arise from negligent acts or procedures. To bring forward allegations of elder abuse, an individual should not hesitate before hiring a nursing home abuse attorney in Stuart.
Contact a Stuart Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
When an abuse incident arises, the family can arrange for a free, no obligation consultation. Stuart nursing home abuse lawyers can determine if a valid case exists and handle the case without taking attorney fees.
If the case is successful, the fees are taken from the damages that are awarded. If the case fails, no attorney fees are charged.
The elder abuse lawyer in Stuart will collect physical and testimonial evidence to prove the case and prepare for trial. Many civil negligence cases are settled between the parties. In that situation, the attorney will aggressively negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company that is satisfactory to the family.