The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) defines elder abuse as any type of negligence or misconduct that causes loss or harm to an older person.
Difficult as it may be to believe, elder abuse is an all-too-common problem in the United States, even in these enlightened times when our senior care providers ought to know better.
Some elder abuse is physical in nature. Other instances involve purely emotional abuse. In most cases, there is an element of financial abuse or swindling as well. Even neglect can constitute abuse in the eyes of law.
Florida Nursing Home Abuse Victims are Entitled to Compensation
Seniors who’ve been neglected or abused can seek compensation from the wrongdoers and, often, from those who employ them. Nursing homes and senior care facilities are legally responsible for the safety and well-being of the people they serve. When they subject the elderly to unsafe or unsanitary conditions, mistreatment, social isolation, or medical malpractice, they can be held accountable for their carelessness and cruelty.
Sadly, nursing homes are Florida’s most common sites for elder abuse and neglect. The majority of the nursing homes in our state score substandard satisfaction ratings. As experienced Fort Myers elder abuse attorneys, we have witnessed firsthand the unthinkable injustice that so many of Florida’s seniors have had to endure.
These are our parents and grandparents. They deserve dignity, compassion, and respect. There is never an excuse for elder abuse or neglect. Seniors do have rights, and at Viles & Beckman, LLC, we intend to protect those rights.
This page is designed to help you better understand the elder abuse and nursing home negligence laws in Florida. Remember, though, that every single case is unique, and the outcome is always determined by specific facts and circumstances. Please do not make any decisions that might impact your rights without first talking to our experienced Fort Myers elder abuse attorneys.
Elder Abuse Laws in Florida
Florida has some of the toughest elder abuse laws in the country. In fact, it is mandatory in Florida that you report any known or suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Failure to do so is a second-degree criminal misdemeanor under the Florida Adult Protective Services Act.
Any of the following may constitute elder abuse under Florida law:
- Physical assault or battery
- Sexual assault
- Neglect of basic care
- Financial abuse
This is not an exhaustive list. Anything that endangers seniors or denies them dignity or violates their rights may constitute elder abuse.
At Viles & Beckman, LLC, we take elder abuse very seriously. Even if the abuse happens outside of a nursing home, our experienced Fort Myers elder abuse attorneys can help. If you have questions about the elder abuse laws in Florida or how they may apply to you or your loved one, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Nursing Home Negligence Laws in Florida
Nursing home negligence litigation usually involves a combination of general negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, and contract law, in addition to specific local, state, and federal rules and regulations.
As with elder abuse, Florida provides extensive protection to victims of nursing home negligence. In fact, where nursing homes are concerned, the issues of negligence and abuse are often intertwined and may overlap.
You should know that every nursing home resident is entitled to certain specific rights in our state.
Additionally, any of the following may constitute a violation of the elder abuse and nursing home negligence laws:
- Medication errors
- Failure to seek emergency medical treatment
- Failure to change bedpans
- Failure to properly prevent, diagnose, or treat illnesses/infections
- Creating conditions that lead to bedsores or infections
- Slip or trip hazards
- Inadequate nursing home security
- Much more
Common Nursing Home Abuse Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injuries
When elder residents of nursing homes are abused they are at immense risk to suffer a blow to their head which can result in a traumatic brain injury. These occur when a powerful force acts upon a person’s skull and causes damage to the brain. These injuries can often cause cognitive issues and lifelong damage to mental faculties. Common examples of traumatic brain injuries include concussions, brain contusions, and penetrating brain injuries.
The elderly have especially frail bones which means that they can suffer breaks and fractures to them when younger people typically wouldn’t. These breaks and fractures can be very severe since the bones are so frail and can splinter. As a result, organs may be compromised and blood vessels can be damaged.
Due to the poor immune systems of the elderly, they are at a significantly higher risk to develop infections. Even small cuts and scrapes that are left unattended with the proper medical treatment can lead to the spread of infection which can damage tissue, organs, and even lead to the need to amputate.
The elderly may be in a position where they are bedridden and it is up to nursing home staff to ensure that they are moved so that they do not develop bedsores. These occur when the body is left immobile for too long and the blood pools to the bottom parts of the body which can not only be extremely painful but can cause a number of complications.
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Elder abuse is a serious problem in Florida, and it happens more often than most people realize. If your loved one has complained of negligence, cruelty, or extortion, please take their concerns seriously. Report any suspected abuse right away (you can reach the official state hotline by dialing 1-800-962-2873) and then call our office at (239) 334-3933.
Our experienced Fort Myers elder abuse attorneys understand how infuriating and deeply disturbing it is to learn that your loved one has suffered mistreatment or neglect. We will not stand for it. Our office is prepared to aggressively pursue justice, including every last penny that the at-fault parties may owe for their irresponsibility or heartlessness.
About the Author of this Page: The above information was written or reviewed by one of the attorneys at Viles & Beckman LLC who have a combined experience of nearly 60 years: Marcus Viles, Michael Beckman or Maria Alaimo. The information provided in this article comes from years of experience trying legal cases outside and inside courtrooms throughout Florida along with extensive research.