Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to the negligence of their caregivers. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, a recent study reported that 95 percent of nursing home residents reported either experiencing neglect themselves or witnessing it. If you or a loved one have been mistreated at a nursing home, the Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect attorneys of Cecere Santana, PA may be able to help you. You have a right to hold negligent nursing homes accountable for their actions.
Nursing Homes That Harm Their Residents May Be Liable for Damages
In many cases, it may be difficult to know when a nursing home is guilty of neglecting its residents. Some signs of nursing home neglect are bedsores, unmet medical needs, bruises, and the resident’s withdrawal from normal activities.
A resident harmed by a negligent nursing home may file a lawsuit against the nursing home. There are three basic elements of a nursing home neglect case in Florida:
- The nursing home owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
- The home breached that duty; and
- The breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Nursing care facilities owe their residents a duty of reasonable care. This requires them to simply avoid unreasonable behavior that would endanger their residents. This duty extends to all of the employees of the facility because Florida law allows employers to be held responsible for employees’ behavior at work.
A breach occurs when the defendant fails to abide by its legally assigned duty. Some signs of a breach may be the development of bed sores, malnutrition, or medication administration errors. These neglectful behaviors would unreasonably endanger the residents’ health and safety.
Causation is proven by establishing that the defendant’s breach was a substantial contributing factor of the plaintiff’s injuries. In many nursing home neglect cases, causation may be straightforward. The cause of malnutrition is a nursing home’s failure to adequately feed residents. A resident may develop bed sores because of the staff’s failure to properly turn her. So long as the resident would have avoided injury if the nursing home had acted reasonably, the facility will likely be a proximate cause.
There may be circumstances that warrant pleading other causes of action. Most notably, if a doctor is responsible for the neglectful behavior, the plaintiff may consider filing a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and/or nursing home. This can be done with in tandem with a traditional negligence claim or on its own.
Negligence Claims Must be Filed Within Four Years
Because of the difficulty of detecting some types of neglectful behavior, especially when the victim may not be able to voice her own concerns, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as you suspect nursing home negligence. Fortunately, Florida law provides a generous four-year statute of limitations on negligence claims. This means that a negligence action must be filed within four years from the date the plaintiff discovered her injury. For medical malpractice claims, the window to file a claim is two years. Likewise, a suit alleging the wrongful death of a resident also has a two-year statute.
Help Stop Nursing Home Neglect
Whether it is a case of premeditated abuse or simply incompetence, nursing home negligence is a serious problem that plagues many Florida care facilities. If you suspect a loved one is experiencing nursing home neglect, a Fort Lauderdale injury attorney at Cecere Santana can help. Whether you live in Hollywood, Miami, or elsewhere in Florida, we can investigate your claim, explain your options, and help put a stop to the neglectful or abusive behavior. To schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers, email our office or call 800-753-5529.