Although Hurricane Irma made landfall nearly a month ago, Floridians are still feeling her effects. The storm exposed many of the weaknesses in our state’s infrastructure, most notably, the power grid. Millions of Floridians lost power after the storm passed but were able to endure the heat; others were not as fortunate. News broke after the storm that many nursing homes and assisted living facilities had lost power, subjecting their residents to the grave dangers of heat exhaustion and dehydration. With no backup generator or backup plan, these facilities reached out to state officials but received little help, and now the death toll continues to climb.
Two women who lived at one of these affected Florida nursing homes that lost air condition during Hurricane Irma have died, bringing the death toll to 14 just for this one home. “’The residents died from ailments suffered when the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills lost power September 10, 2017, during the hurricane’s passage’, Hollywood police spokeswoman Miranda Grossman told The Associated Press on Monday.” “On September 13, 2017, eight residents died and other residents were evacuated from the sweltering facility after the electric transformer that powered the facility’s air conditioning was damaged during the storm.”
This is an obvious injustice.
These nursing home residents and their families entrusted their safety to these facilities and paid a premium for housing, care, and a sense of security. Fortunately, Florida law imposes some of the strictest elder laws in the country, and these individuals and others that have become victims of nursing home abuse, neglect, or negligence may have recourse.
Under Florida law, nursing homes in Florida are required to have at least one nurse, one physician, and one dietician on staff. In addition, nursing home residents have basic rights to healthy meals, social activities, exercise, emergency care, mental health counseling, and medication. Other basic necessities mandated by Florida law include air conditioning, heat, and proper lighting.
Under Florida law, you can make a claim for violating a nursing home resident’s rights, personal injuries and / or death stemming from such a violation of rights. You can also make a claim for medical malpractice if the nursing home did not adhere to the acceptable standard of care for patients. In order to pursue a claim against a nursing home for any of these violations, you must take the following steps:
- Notify the facility by certified mail of an alleged violation;
- Identify the specific rights that you allege have been violated;
- Identify the negligence that is alleged to have caused the injuries and / or wrongful death;
- Describe the injuries sustains; and
- Include a certification from an attorney alleging that there exists a belief that the claim is being made in good faith.
This notice must be mailed 75 days before a claim is filed. This allows an insurance investigation into the incident to be conducted in order to determine liability. The purpose of the notification and subsequent investigation is to assist the settlement process without the need for formal judicial proceedings. Whenever an insurance company is involved, adjusters will do everything in their power to limit the liability and news exposure of both the nursing home and the insurance company. Insurance companies are never on your side, and their primary goal is to avoid compensating you for the personal injuries and damages you sustained.
Another important aspect to filing a successful claim against a nursing home or assisted living facility is the statute of limitations. In Florida, a victim must bring a claim against one of these facilities within two years of the date of abuse, or two years from the date of its discovery. Due to this short timeframe, if you suspect you or a loved one have been injured by a nursing home, you should contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney immediately. The attorney will be able to evaluate and better investigate your claim, and if substantiated, seek proper compensation for the harm caused. The knowledgeable Clearwater nursing home abuse attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can negotiate with the nursing home’s insurance company on your behalf and assist you with maximizing the value of your case. If the insurance company refuses to place an acceptable settlement offer on the table, our attorneys are fully prepared to litigate your case through the Florida court system.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, contact us using one of the methods below:
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765