Were You or a Loved One Harmed Because of Nursing Home Negligence?

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Have You Been Involved In Nursing Home Abuse?

Florida is home to many retirees. What is less well known is that many people who retire to Florida eventually need living assistance and move into Florida nursing homes and assisted care facilities. With more than 4.8 million residents who are 60 years old or older, Florida ranks first in the nation in percentage of citizens who are elders, according to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Inspectors with the department’s Long-term Care Ombudsman Program performed annual assessments and visitations in more than 6,000 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes in 2013-14.

The Ombudsman program says it investigated more than 8,860 complaints from residents of nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities in our state from 2013-14. The nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers of the Disparti Law Group in Tampa can help if you or an elderly loved one of yours has suffered from abuse or neglect in a Florida nursing home or another long-term care facility. Our legal team can investigate your loved one’s treatment and our attorneys can work to protect your loved one’s legal rights and dignity. We may be able to obtain compensation for medical care they need and losses they have suffered.

“Focusing attention on suspected neglect or abuse can protect your loved one and prevent others from being harmed. Please contact us for assistance today.”

Florida’s Elderly and Nursing Homes

More than 1.6 million Floridians are 75 years old or older, and the 85-and-older age group is the fastest growing by percentage in our state, the Department of Elder Affairs says. Florida’s senior population is expected to increase from 4.8 million today to 7.1 million by 2030. Florida’s top 10 most populous counties for residents age 60 and older as of 2014 were:

  • Miami-Dade
  • Palm Beach
  • Broward (Fort Lauderdale)
  • Pinellas (St. Petersburg)
  • Hillsborough (Tampa)
  • Lee (Fort Myers)
  • Orange (Orlando)
  • Sarasota
  • Duval (Jacksonville)
  • Brevard (Titusville).

Most nursing homes are for-profit (68.2 percent), while slightly more than a quarter are non-profit (25.1 percent) and some are run by the government or other entity (6.8 percent), the CDC says. How our elderly family members, friends and neighbors are treated in Florida nursing homes, assisted living facilities and similar group home situations is going to be an issue for many years to come.

Once liability is established, the at-fault party and their insurance companies must compensate victims for their losses. Our attorneys may negotiate a settlement with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. When insurance companies refuse to provide a fair settlement, Disparti Law Group will pursue a jury trial to help our client obtain justice.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Federal definitions of elder abuse, which includes abuse of elderly nursing home residents as well as individuals living in the community, first appeared as guidelines in the 1987 Amendments to the Older Americans Act. Each state defines elder abuse in its state statutes, and definitions vary. Under Florida law, abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult means:

  1. Intentional infliction of physical or psychological injury upon an elderly person or disabled adult;
  2. An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological injury to an elderly person or disabled adult; or
  3. Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological injury to an elderly person or disabled adult.

Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult occurs when a person:

  1. Commits aggravated battery on an elderly person or disabled adult;
  2. Tortures, maliciously punishes, or unlawfully cages, an elderly person or disabled adult; or
  3. Abuses an elderly person or disabled adult and causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the elderly person or disabled adult.

The federal Nursing Home Reform Law requires nursing homes to promote and protect the rights of each resident. The law states that each person has the right to:

  • Be fully informed of the nursing home’s services, costs, rules and regulations, and changes in the resident’s room or roommates.
  • Dignity, respect and freedom, including freedom from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints.
  • Complain without fear of reprisal and with assurance of prompt response.
  • Participate in one’s own care, including being advised of changes in their condition and the right to refuse any treatment or medication.
  • Maintain privacy and confidentiality about medical, personal or financial affairs and interpersonal communications.
  • Remain in the nursing facility unless a transfer or discharge meets legally defined health, safety or financial conditions.
  • Visits or to decline such visits by relatives, friends, doctors, service organizations and others.
  • Make independent choices regarding clothing, free time activity, participation in community activities, choosing a physician and managing one’s financial affairs. Residents also have a right to reasonable accommodation to help them meet their needs and preferences.

In its annual report, the Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program says the top five complaints in nursing homes pertain to:

  • Dignity, respect and staff attitude
  • Medication administration
  • Discharge and eviction
  • Personal hygiene assistance
  • Failure to respond to requests for assistance.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys urge families of Florida seniors to be alert for signs of elder abuse.

Legal Help for Abused Nursing Home Residents

Anyone who knows that an elderly person in a nursing home or elsewhere is being abused or neglected has a legal duty to report it to authorities. Officials can investigate complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect, and punish those who violate residents’ rights. If the elderly person in question faces immediate danger, you should dial 911 to summon local law enforcement and/or emergency medical care. Otherwise, the Florida Abuse Hotline can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week by: 800-96-ABUSE (800-962-2873).

In the Tampa area and throughout Florida, you can also contact the Disparti Law Group for assistance if you suspect that a loved one of yours is being abused in a Florida nursing home, assisted care facility or other long-term residential care facility. We can discuss your situation with you in a free initial legal consultation, and assist you with contacting state authorities as well as the facility in question. Our legal team investigates cases of neglect and abuse, and seeks financial restitution for those who have been harmed, as well as immediate changes to enhance the health and well-being of the nursing home resident.

How Can I Afford to Hire a Nursing Abuse Lawyer?

During an initial consultation, which is free, we will review the specifics of your accident and discuss your legal options. If we determine that we can handle your case, we will represent you on a contingent fee basis. You will not be charged for legal fees or costs unless we obtain compensation for you through a settlement or court award. At that time, the fee for our legal representation will come from a percentage of the final award.

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