When the older adults we love reach a certain age, many of us need to help arrange care for them. For some elderly Floridians in the Orlando area, care involves minor assistance with routine daily tasks. Others need around-the-clock nursing care at one of the many long-term care and rehabilitation facilities that dot Orange County and the greater Central Florida region. Although nursing homes are not always our preferred choice for caring for aging family members, a skilled, quality facility can ensure they live in a dignified, respectful setting while having access to necessary medical treatment. For many aging Orlando residents and their families, nursing homes and the aides they employ deliver on the promise of attentive, supportive care. Unfortunately, some nursing care facilities in the greater Orlando area do not rise to that challenge. Some fall so short that their carelessness or inattention—their negligence—causes physical, emotional, and/or financial harm to residents and their families. Florida law protects nursing home residents against these harms by entitling them to seek compensation from anyone whose careless or reckless actions hurt them. The compassionate, hard-working Orlando nursing home negligence attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman represent clients in holding negligent nursing home management and staff legally and financially accountable. Contact us today for a free case evaluation if nursing home negligence in Orlando has harmed you or someone you love.
Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA’s Dedication to Justice and Client Advocacy
The personal injury attorneys at the affiliated law firms of Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman have extensive experience representing clients who have suffered harm as a result of negligence in Florida nursing homes and long-term care settings. With offices on both coasts, we advocate for clients throughout the Sunshine State, from Kissimmee to Key West, and from Destin to Daytona. Our firms’ dedication to seeking justice and compensation for Floridians harmed by the wrongful conduct of others has resulted in tens of millions of dollars of financial recoveries through settlements and jury verdicts. We cannot guarantee favorable outcomes for our clients, but we can promise to commit our considerable skills and resources to fighting for our clients’ legal and financial interests, and to making sure those who live in Orlando area nursings receive the dignified, skilled care they deserve.
Florida’s Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights
Florida’s Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights gives nursing home residents specific and valuable protections designed to ensure their wellbeing. Negligence on the part of an Orlando nursing home and its staff frequently violates these rights, which include the right to:
- A safe and decent living environment without abuse or neglect;
- Be treated with respect and dignity, including respect for individuality and privacy;
- Use their personal property as long as it doesn’t threaten the safety of others who live in the nursing home;
- Use a telephone whenever requested with privacy;
- Receive visitors between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.;
- Participate in all nursing home activities and maintain as much independence as possible;
- Manage their own financial affairs;
- Share a room privately with their spouse;
- Spend time outdoors and regularly exercise;
- Practice their religion and attend service;
- Assistance with obtaining needed healthcare or dental care; and
- Make a complaint or request policy changes without fear of revenge or retaliation.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, we fight to make sure Orlando nursing homes and long-term care facilities abide by their solemn obligation to protect and promote residents’ rights under Florida law. If a nursing home, a staff member, or a caregiver violates any of the rights above, the law allows courts to impose a $2,500 fine. This fine is hardly enough to compensate a resident for the results of serious negligence or abuse, and in any event, the fine goes to the state, not the victim. However, the law allows abused or neglected residents to take legal action in a Florida court against the offending parties to recover damages.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Negligence in Orlando?
Nursing home negligence typically refers to any action or inaction that causes physical, emotional, or financial injury to a nursing home resident. Individual nursing home staff members and other caregivers can engage in negligent conduct, and so can an entire nursing facility. Examples of nursing home negligence that lead to viable lawsuits include:
- Physical, verbal, and emotional abuse;
- Enabling other caregivers to abuse or neglect a resident;
- Leaving residents in soiled clothing;
- Failure to assist with or provide personal hygiene to residents;
- Failure to supervise nursing home residents;
- Failure to provide healthy meals and adequate water resulting in malnutrition and hydration;
- Stealing personal property or money from nursing home residents;
- Failing to conduct background checks and properly screen new employees;
- Inadequate training of new caregivers;
- Refusing to take action regarding complaints against caregivers or the facility;
- Failure to hire or schedule enough staff to provide adequate care to residents;
- Failure to assist residents in obtaining needed dental or medical care; and
- Failure to maintain a clean facility allowing disease and infection to spread to residents.
These are just some examples, of course. Virtually any unreasonably dangerous decision or action on the part of a nursing home can constitute negligence if it leads to harm for a resident. At Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our personal injury lawyers hold Orlando nursing homes accountable for any wrongful action that injures a resident.
Florida Nursing Home Negligence Statute of Limitations
If an elder you love has suffered injuries as a result of nursing home negligence in Orlando, you have limited time to take legal action. The exact time period can vary. In most Florida nursing home negligence cases, the injured resident or someone on their behalf must take legal action against the nursing care facility within four years of the date the injury occurred. However, that rule has exceptions. For example, sometimes nursing home residents do not have the ability or capacity to communicate or report their injuries to others. It may take days, weeks, or months before family members, caregivers, doctors, or others notice signs or symptoms of neglect or abuse. In such cases, Florida law may give nursing home residents, or someone on their behalf two years to take legal action from the date their injuries were discovered (or reasonably should have been discovered). In rare circumstances, the court might provide an extension, up to an absolute time limit of four years from the date of discovery. If Orlando nursing home negligence results in the tragic death of a resident, family members or legal representatives of that resident typically have the right under Florida law to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. The statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years, in most cases. The experienced nursing home negligence attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman place high importance on making sure that Orlando nursing home residents and their families meet the time limits for taking legal action. Our teams cannot help, however, until clients reach out to us. If an act of nursing home negligence in Orlando harmed you or a loved one, contact us as soon as possible to protect against losing your rights because of the statute of limitations.
Signs of Orlando Nursing Home Negligence
It is not always easy to spot harmful negligence at an Orlando nursing home or long-term care facility. Family members sometimes misinterpret warning signs as mere symptoms of a nursing home resident’s normal, age-related decline. Nursing home residents also may not report negligence actions or conditions for fear of retaliation from staff members. And, of course, not all injuries or poor health outcomes result from negligence on the part of a nursing home. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, we urge family members and friends of Orlando nursing home residents to trust their gut when it comes to suspecting negligence or wrongdoing. If something seems off about a loved one’s situation in an Orlando nursing facility, then negligence could have occurred. Some potential warning signs include:
- Bedsores, and unexplained wounds, bruises, or welts;
- Excessive weight loss;
- Change in skin color to increased redness or ghostly pale;
- Sunken eyes and cheeks;
- Poor personal hygiene and soiled clothing and bedsheets;
- Increased anxiety and/or depression;
- Disorientation or confusion;
- Withdrawal from nursing home activities;
- Reluctance to speak when staff or caregivers are present;
- Talking about self-harm or death;
- Missing personal property such as cash, jewelry, checks, and family heirlooms;
- Unexplained charges or changes in the address on bank or credit accounts; and
- Newly opened bank, brokerage, or credit card accounts in the resident’s name that family members did not authorize.
Reporting Orlando Nursing Home Negligence
If you suspect a nursing home resident you love has suffered injuries as a result of nursing home negligence, then it is important to report your concerns. However, the way that you report your concerns, and the authorities to whom you report them, can impact your loved one’s legal and financial rights. Of course, safety is the top priority. If you suspect an Orlando nursing home resident faces immediate threats to health and safety because of nursing home negligence, report your concerns immediately to law enforcement and take any steps you believe reasonably necessary to get the resident out of harm’s way. If, however, you do not believe the situation constitutes an emergency, then the teams at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman strongly encourage you to contact them as soon as possible, before you take any other step to report the suspected negligence. Our team can often assess the situation quickly and guide you through when and how to complain to state regulators, or to the nursing home directly, about suspected negligence. Official complaints to regulators or management can have a significant impact on a nursing home resident’s legal rights to seek compensation for injuries and losses. Rather than risk making a well-intended but costly mistake, it is often best to plan how to raise your concerns to authorities or nursing home management with the help of an experienced nursing home negligence attorney.
Seeking Compensation for Florida Nursing Home Negligence
Florida law permits an Orlando nursing home resident injured by acts of negligence, or someone acting on the resident’s behalf, to seek compensation by taking legal action for damages. Every case is different, but residents can often seek payment for:
- Medical expenses for physical injuries related to the negligence, including ambulance services if applicable, hospital stay, rehabilitation, physical therapy, radiology, and medication;
- Costs of mental health services to address the trauma of suffering harm from negligence at a nursing home;
- Expenses for assistive devices like walkers, wheelchairs, and canes;
- Estimated future medical expenses when nursing home negligence leads to a permanent injury, disability, or condition;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Emotional pain and suffering;
- Cost of transfer to another facility if applicable;
- Punitive damages when the nursing home or its employees intentionally harmed a resident, fraudulently tried to cover up neglect, or acted out of gross negligence.
If Orlando nursing home negligence leads to the tragic death of a resident, the resident’s family or legal representative may have the right to take legal action through a wrongful death lawsuit, which can recover many of the categories of damages listed above, as well as funeral and burial costs. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, we handle all aspects of representing nursing home residents injured by acts of negligence. Our mission is to recover maximum compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial harm done to a resident, and to ensure the resident’s safety and wellbeing.
Experienced, Caring Orlando Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys
Orlando nursing homes are supposed to provide outstanding care for our aging loved ones. Those that instead harm the residents in their care through acts of negligence should face legal and financial accountability. The skilled, compassionate nursing home negligence injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman advocate for Orlando nursing home residents and their families. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, at 833-552-7274, or you can write to us using our contact page for a free consultation to discuss how negligence at an Orlando nursing home has harmed you or a loved one.
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