If you think your loved one is the victim of elder abuse by a caregiver, such as staff in a nursing home, contact the St. Petersburg personal injury attorneys of Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers immediately. We could review the circumstances of the incident and determine whether you have a case you can pursue. Your relative might be entitled to compensation for their medical bills and other expenses.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals. Additionally, the federal law protects people with disabilities from neglect, discrimination, and abuse. Older adults who depend on others for daily assistance and medical care are vulnerable to neglect and abuse. Elder abuse frequently happens in community settings, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The elderly can sustain debilitating injuries when a caretaker, family member, or nursing home staff abuses them. Many residents don’t have the physical ability to protect themselves. Others have cognitive impairments and can’t remember what happened. Unfortunately, this results in a significant number of abuse and neglect cases going unreported.
Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers is ready to represent your family member in an insurance claim or lawsuit against the negligent nursing home or individual responsible for causing the injury. Someone took advantage of a person they were supposed to care for and should face the consequences of their misconduct. Our legal team can provide the guidance and assistance you need to seek legal action for your loved one.
We know some residents in nursing facilities are unable to advocate for themselves. They can’t meet with attorneys, gather evidence, and discuss what happened in detail. It’s up to you to be their voice and pursue justice and compensation on their behalf. You can hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm they caused so your family member can pay for the treatment they need to heal.
Since 2007, the St. Petersburg elder abuse lawyers of Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers have fought for the rights of abused older adults. We take pride in the level of service we offer to our clients. When you hire us, we will create a personalized plan to meet the unique circumstances of the case and try to reach the best possible result.
Call Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers at (727) 605-1100 for a free consultation today and learn more about the available legal options for pursuing compensation.
Common Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse refers to a caregiver or any person’s intentional, negligent, or knowing act that causes a serious risk of harm or actual harm to a vulnerable adult. Different forms of elder abuse can occur, such as:
- Financial exploitation – Financial exploitation involves improperly or illegally using or taking someone else’s money, personal property, or assets.
- Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse refers to the nonverbal and verbal actions used to intentionally cause mental anguish, pain, or distress.
- Neglect – Neglect happens when a caregiver fails or refuses to fulfill their obligations and duties to provide for a person’s basic needs, such as water, personal hygiene, and food.
- Abandonment – It is considered abandonment when the person who assumes the role of caregiver for an older or disabled adult leaves them for long periods of time.
- Physical abuse – Physical abuse is the use of physical force to inflict physical pain or injury.
- Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse involves coercion, force, or threats to engage in non-consensual and unwanted sexual activity.
Sometimes, accidents happen. Caregivers aren’t always to blame for nursing home resident injuries. An older adult could fall out of bed, trip while walking to the bathroom, or drop a heavy object on their foot. The resulting injuries were not necessarily caused by the staff not doing their jobs.
However, there are scenarios when it’s clear that the nursing facility or a specific employee is at fault. It’s imperative that you look for the warning signs of elder abuse. Unexplained physical injuries, sudden changes in mood, and other unusual circumstances could indicate abuse or neglect. You should seek immediate legal action and get your loved one the medical attention they need if you believe they are the victim of abuse.
Common Causes of Elder Abuse
Abuse rates are high in community settings, including long-term care facilities and nursing homes. According to the World Health Organization, roughly one in six people 60 years of age and older experienced some type of abuse within the last year in a community setting. Additionally, two in three staff admitted to abusing a resident in the past year.
Elder abuse often occurs in nursing homes because of factors such as:
- Negligent hiring – Sometimes, the facility will hire staff members that don’t have the necessary experience or qualifications. The owner or manager might also choose not to perform a background check, which could result in hiring a new employee with a criminal past or history of violent behavior caring for residents.
- Understaffing – Errors are more likely when a nursing home doesn’t have enough nurses and other staff to provide the necessary care and assistance to the patients. Long hours and additional responsibilities can prevent employees from fulfilling all their duties and obligations. Someone might forget to check on an immobile resident, or they could administer the incorrect medication while rushing to get their job done.
- Inexperience – Nursing home staff must have experience caring for older adults. Knowing how to handle unruly residents, the disabled, and people with cognitive impairments is especially critical. Inexperience can lead to mistakes and injure the patients.
- Low wages – Many employees in community settings don’t think they make enough money. Staff often have a range of tasks to complete during a single shift. Sometimes, they don’t have enough time to get everything done. Other times, managers expect extra work that isn’t in the job description. When people don’t earn the wages they believe they deserve, they might take out their frustrations on their patients.
- Inadequate training – Training is essential to ensure every employee knows the proper protocols and procedures. They should understand how to interact with the residents, what to do in an emergency, and where to report problems. Without the appropriate training, staff members are more likely to make mistakes that risk the residents’ safety or health.
No matter the cause of your family member’s injury, you should reach out to Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers. Our elder abuse lawyers in St. Petersburg, FL, can investigate the incident and advise whether we can represent your loved one in a case against the negligent party.
Common Injuries from Elder Abuse
The type of injury an older adult sustains typically depends on the type of abuse. Injuries can range from minor to debilitating. Some are even fatal.
The most common injuries from elder abuse or neglect include:
- Bedsores and pressure ulcers
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cognitive decline
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues
- Missing or broken teeth
- Malnutrition or dehydration
Prompt medical treatment of an injury is critical. If you suspect abuse, you should immediately bring your family member to the doctor. Some injuries can lead to long-term complications if left untreated.
Compensation in Elder Abuse Cases
Even a minor injury might deserve some form of compensation. If abuse or neglect occurs, the at-fault party should be held liable. The nursing home should have liability insurance. You could file a claim and pursue a settlement that compensates your loved one for losses, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Damage to personal property
You also have the option to file a lawsuit directly against the facility or individual responsible for the injury. You might be eligible to recover punitive damages in the lawsuit. This form of compensation is available if you can provide clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
If your loved one died due to someone’s negligence, you could recover compensation in a wrongful death case. Only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation you receive might cover losses, such as:
- Loss of parental guidance, companionship, and instruction your parent can no longer provide
- Medical and funeral costs
- Lost services and support the deceased provided to family
- Mental pain and suffering
Statute of Limitations for Elder Abuse Cases
The Florida statute of limitations for elder abuse allows a four-year timeframe to file a lawsuit. That means you have four years from the date of your family member’s injury to initiate your lawsuit against the at-fault party.
However, if your loved one died as a result of someone else’s actions, you must adhere to a different statute of limitations. The wrongful death statute of limitations provides a two-year period for filing suit.
At Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers, we have a team of award-winning St. Petersburg elder abuse lawyers. We have received recognition from various organizations, such as Super Lawyers and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Several of our attorneys also have a top rating from Avvo. Our track record of success shows the level of legal representation and service we provide to every client.
If a caregiver abused or neglected your loved one in a nursing home, contact Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers right now. We are available 24/7 to speak with you, so you can reach us whenever you need us. Call (727) 605-1100 for your free consultation today.