We are often faced with the decision to entrust the care of our loved ones to the staff of a nursing home. You are not alone in this decision; approximately 1.3 million American seniors resided in nursing homes as of 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unfortunately, as the number of residents in nursing homes increases, instances of elder abuse become more common for residents and their loved ones.
If you believe your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in their care facility, an Aventura nursing home abuse lawyer at Dolman Law Group can help you seek compensation.
Signs of Abuse Versus Signs of Aging
Studies indicate that in many cases, elder abuse goes unreported. In some instances, this may result from confusing signs of abuse with ordinary signs of aging. Since our loved ones change as they age, we may be missing signs of abuse, including:
- Withdrawal and depression: Seniors are at much greater risk of suffering from depression; their lifestyles often change dramatically when they are moved into a nursing home. Unfortunately, it is easy to attribute a change of moods to aging. However, if your loved one suddenly starts avoiding your hugs, seems to be more emotional than usual, or shows other signs of withdrawal and depression, you may want to consider talking to them. If they are being verbally abused or ignored when they need care or a nursing home staff member is trying to control them, these may be signs of psychological abuse.
- Bruising and abrasions: Seniors are more likely to have bruises and scrapes as they age, as their skin no longer has the same elasticity or thickness. However, if you regularly see bruises and scratches, it is a good idea to document these incidents to see if there is a pattern of excessive bruising or scratches that seem unusual. If nursing home staff members are handling your loved one in a rough enough manner to cause extended bruising, physical abuse is a possibility. Be particularly aware of bruising on the upper arms, wrists, and elbows.
- Torn clothing: Many of us are surprised to see ripped, torn, or worn-out clothing on our loved ones. Do not mistakenly think this is because the garments are worn out or getting old; instead, look for other signs such as bleeding or injury to the genital area. These could be early warning signs of sexual abuse.
- Personal appearance changes: If your loved one shows signs of being unclean or unkempt, including dirty hair, an unshaven face, or skin rashes, this could be a sign of neglect. You should also make sure they have access to personal care items such as dentures, eyeglasses, and hearing aids regularly. Should you notice anything that seems out of the ordinary, document it carefully, and make sure the signs are not a result of neglect of your loved one.
Steps to Ensure Your Loved One's Safety
Should you notice any signs of potential abuse or neglect, the first step is to discuss your concerns with them. Should your loved one refuse to discuss the matter or appear hesitant to speak openly, this could be a further signal there is something wrong.
The next step is to contact the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 to report suspected abuse or neglect. They will investigate the matter and attempt to follow up with you as soon as possible. In the meantime, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney who has experience dealing with nursing home abuse and neglect claims.
It is not typically advised to confront nursing home staff members on your own; speak with an attorney first. If you are concerned about your loved one's safety or well-being, you may need to consider moving them to another facility. An attorney can help you devise a safety plan for a loved one who may have experienced abuse or neglect.
Understanding the Long-Term Issues
Remember, if your loved one is suffering at the hands of nursing home staff members, they are at a greater risk of death. Physical abuse could result in serious injury, which can lead to sudden death. Psychological abuse is a dangerous condition as well; prolonged abuse can result in depression, anxiety, or trauma, and isolated elders frequently lack the support structure many of us take for granted.
We understand the costs involved in moving your loved one are substantial. It takes time to find another suitable facility. However, if your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect, it may be your only option. The party responsible for the abuse should bear the financial burden for this type of transfer, and therefore, you may want to work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation.
What to Prepare When Working With an Attorney
Whenever possible, you should document any suspected abuse or neglect. Many forms of abuse cannot be photographed, but a written record of your observations is helpful to have. In addition, any calls or online reports you have made to the Senior Abuse Hotline, discussions you have had with your loved one or nursing staff, and observations by other family members should be carefully documented. These types of records make it easier to explain your concerns to a nursing home abuse lawyer thoroughly.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Aventura
One of the key reasons nursing home abusers get away with their criminal activity is because there are so many different ways they can abuse their victims. You may have previously thought that nursing home abuse could only be physical, such as hitting, kicking, punching, scratching, spitting at, throwing objects at, or otherwise being physically violent with the victim.
However, nursing home abuse in Aventura can take many forms. Some of these might include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Financial abuse
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in their nursing home, do not be surprised if they are unwilling to discuss what they have been through. They may have genuine concerns regarding their safety and well-being around their abuser and the nursing home facility as a whole. A nursing home abuse attorney in Aventura can discuss your concerns further and plan how you will protect your loved one going forward.
How Long Do You Have to File Your Aventura Nursing Home Abuse Claim?
Under Florida Statutes § 95.11, you must file all civil personal injury claims, including nursing home abuse lawsuits, before the four-year personal injury statute of limitations expires. The date your claim will expire can vary depending on the specific details of your case.
If you are pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit instead of a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations could be reduced from four years to two years. Since the date the statute of limitations expires for your case may be unclear, it may be in your best interest to retain the legal advice and support of an Aventura nursing home abuse attorney.
This way, you can take steps to avoid losing your opportunity to bring the liable party to justice.
Who to Sue for Nursing Home Abuse in Aventura
Establishing liability is one of the most important responsibilities your Aventura nursing home abuse lawyer will have. You may think it is obvious who is responsible for the nursing home abuse your loved one endured.
In addition to the abuser, other parties may share liability. For example, other nurses, nursing assistants, physicians, surgeons, janitorial staff, and other nursing home or assisted living facility caregivers could each have contributed to the abuse your family member sustained.
Additionally, you may have the right to file a claim against the nursing home or assisted living facility as a whole. This may allow you to obtain the compensation your loved one is entitled to. Find out more about how much your Aventura nursing home abuse claim could be worth when you contact your attorney to discuss the specific details of your case.
Call Dolman Law Group Now to Protect Your Loved One
Florida has a high nursing home population, and it is expected to continue growing. Short staffing at nursing homes is a frequent cause of neglect, but this does not mean your loved one should be suffering because of the facility management's lack of concern for residents.
Contact the Aventura office of Dolman Law Group if you believe your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in their care facility. We can thoroughly review your information and help you determine if you have a case against the facility.
We can be reached by telephone at (727) 451-6900, or contact us using our simple online contact form for a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
20803 Biscayne Boulevard Suite 101,
Aventura, FL 33180
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