It is all too easy for nursing homes to take advantage of their residents. Catching this mistreatment, however, can be difficult. Loved ones who can’t express themselves or who don’t understand the abuse they’re enduring may not recognize their right to legal action.
That’s why it’s important for you to advocate on your loved one’s behalf. Fortunately, you can collaborate with a nursing home abuse attorney in Lehigh Acres, FL. Viles & Beckman can help you bring your case to court. There, you can advocate for your loved one’s right to financial compensation based on the mistreatment they’ve endured.
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse
There are several different means through which a nursing home staff can inflict harm upon your loved ones. With that in mind, you need to watch for a variety of symptoms if you want to step in and prevent additional abuse.
The most common forms of abuse for the elderly to endure after moving into a nursing home include:
Financial abuse describes a nursing home’s deliberate misuse of residents’ funds. Nurses may deny residents’ medical requests, claim they’ve filled them, and then use those funds for other purposes. Alternatively, staff members may take money from their residents’ bank accounts or purses.
You can track financial abuse by keeping an eye on your loved ones’ bank accounts. If you keep in frequent contact with the staff at your loved one’s nursing home, too, you can keep track of any suspicious behavior.
Physical abuse is one of the best-understood abuses to be seen in nursing homes. This form of abuse can result in the serious injury of your loved one – or it can be more subtle. You need to keep an eye out for bruises, minor cuts, and/or hidden signs of mistreatment. Even a sudden lack of interest in food or personal hygiene can indicate physical abuse.
It is difficult to identify signs of mental and emotional abuse because these practices can be subtle. That said, mental and emotional abuse are both meant to break down a person’s sense of self and isolate them from their communities. With that in mind, some of the most common symptoms of mental and emotional abuse include:
- Abrupt changes in personality
- Withdrawal from social events or family members
- A desire to avoid certain members of a nursing home’s staff
- Lack of interest in food and/or personal hygiene
Unfortunately, your loved ones may be reluctant to discuss instances of emotional or mental abuse. If you suspect that a nursing home’s staff is mistreating your loved one, however, you can work with our team to investigate the staff’s behavior.
There are some nursing home staff members who may engage in non-consensual sexual acts with your loved ones. A Lehigh Acres nursing home attorney can prove this abuse by consulting with your loved one as well as medical professionals. These groups could discover evidence of the physical mistreatment that commonly goes along with sexual abuse.
Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim on a Loved One’s Behalf
There are instances wherein an abused individual may not be able to seek legal recompense on their own. In these cases, you may have to file a nursing home claim on your loved one’s behalf. Florida, however, only allows blood relatives or personal representatives to take civil action on another person’s behalf.
With that in mind, you need to make sure that you can act for your loved one when you discover signs of abuse. If you’re not in the position to file a claim for your loved one, you can collaborate with the parties who can. Alternatively, you can reach out to our attorneys and determine what action may be available to you.
You Need Evidence of Abuse to Hold Nursing Homes Liable
The claim you present on a loved one’s behalf needs to detail the full extent of the abuse that your loved one endured. While you can approach an attorney with theories about nursing home abuse, your claim needs to prove that said mistreatment took place. This means that you need to gather evidence to back your claim.
Viable forms of evidence in nursing home cases include:
- Physical evidence, including bruising, broken bones, and bank receipts
- Video or photo footage of abuse
- Bystander testimony
- Expert witness testimony
You do not have to gather this evidence on your own. Instead, our nursing home abuse lawyers in Lehigh Acres can step in and perform the investigative work necessary to back the claims you make on a loved one’s behalf.
Your Loved One Deserves Nursing Home Abuse Damages
When you file a nursing home abuse claim, you argue that your injured loved one should receive damages in return for the abuse that they endured. Nursing home abuse damages can be economic and non-economic in nature. They can include:
- Medical bills referring to essential abuse treatment
- Property damage, repair, and replacement
- Essential at-home care or the cost of transferring nursing homes
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium and/or companionship
To calculate the value of your economic damages, our office looks at the expenses related to your loved one’s abuse. We can then apply a multiplier to that sum to stand in for your non-economic, or non-billable, losses.
Reach Out to Florida Civil Courts Within Your Deadline
Nursing home abuse falls under the broader category of personal injuries in the eyes of Florida lawmakers. As such, you must abide by the statute of limitations set for personal injury cases when filing a nursing home abuse claim. This statute, Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), lets you take up to four years to file your claim with a county clerk.
So long as you’re in the position to file on your loved one’s behalf, you can use this full four years to gather information about instances of abuse. That said, you can file more quickly when you collaborate with a Lehigh Acres nursing home abuse lawyer. Our team can take on the role of investigator and reporter as you move your loved one to a safer facility.
Our Attorneys Hold Nursing Homes Accountable for Resident Abuse
Nursing home residents deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. Staff members who take advantage of residents who don’t understand their circumstances or who can’t defend themselves deserve to appear in court. While a civil case won’t see the accused face criminal consequences, it can win your loved one financial compensation for their losses.
If it’s time for you to pursue a nursing home abuse case on your loved one’s behalf, call on Viles & Beckman. Our nursing home abuse attorneys in Lehigh Acres, FL, are prepared to help you present your loved one’s evidence of abuse to a civil court. You can contact us for a free case consultation by using our contact form or calling our office.