When families place loved ones in Florida nursing homes, the intent and expectation is that no harm will come. If they are abused physically, emotionally, or financially, the family needs to arrange for a consultation with a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyer.
A compassionate injury lawyer in West Palm Beach can help protect the family’s loved one’s rights and hold the nursing home responsible.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse takes many forms and can be a wrongful civil act or criminal conduct. Examples of types of abuse West Palm Beach nursing home attorneys see include:
- False imprisonment
- Financial exploitation
- Criminal offenses of murder, sexual assault, battery, theft, fraud
Abuse also may occur if the elder person’s civil rights are violated, and Florida elder law specifies a comprehensive list of rights, including treating the elderly with dignity, respect and fairness, privacy in caring for personal needs, the right to civil and religious liberties, unmonitored phone calls and other private communication, the ability to voice grievances without fear of repercussions, and participating in religious, social, and community events and activities, among others.
At the time the abuse is discovered, the family should immediately remove the elder person from the nursing home and move them to another care provider, and contact West Palm Beach nursing home lawyers as soon as possible.
A civil lawsuit for damages can be brought against the nursing home using Florida’s comparative negligence law, which reduces damages by the percent of fault a party has. It is unlikely that the abused person bears fault in the abuse.
Negligence is proven by meeting the law’s elements:
- Duty of care: The nursing home has a legal duty not to cause harm to its residents
- Breach: An act, or an omission, violated the duty of care
- Causation: The breach allowed the abuse to happen
- Damages: A monetary loss, injury, or the emotional pain and suffering of the resident occurred
Breach of Contract
Families may use the contract under which the elder person was housed and cared for at the nursing home as the basis of a lawsuit. An abuse of the resident legally results in the nursing home’s failure to abide by the contract thereby breaching it and clearing the way to claim damages.
Role of a West Palm Beach Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
When a family discovers nursing home abuse has taken place, they should immediately obtain the services of a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyer. The attorney will ensure the lawsuit is filed within the two-year statute of limitations. Failing to meet the statute of limitations means a party cannot pursue the claim.
Although authorities will investigate abuses and take any necessary criminal action, compensation for damages cannot be achieved unless a civil lawsuit is brought against the nursing home owners and its employees who committed the abuse.
The attorney will conduct an independent investigation using all the legal tools to uncover evidence, including researching records to learn if the nursing home has a past record of abuse, if employees tried to cover up the abuse, or if the staff intimidated the patient to ensure silence. The nursing home lawyer in West Palm Beach will also calculate the damages to ensure the proper compensation is sought and aggressively see the case to the rightful conclusion, either by a settlement or taking the case to court.