St. Petersburg Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

St. Petersburg is a popular retirement destination, and the prevalence of nursing homes across the state is no surprise. Nursing homes are trusted to take care of some of the most important, but also most vulnerable, members of society. There are more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States with an estimated 1.3 million residents. Nursing home residents depend on their care providers to meet their medical, physical, and emotional needs.

An unfortunate number of elders suffer injuries due to abuse, neglect, or negligence at the hands of a care provider or due to a lack of quality management of the facility. If you believe that a loved one is receiving negligent care or suffering from abuse at a nursing home facility in St. Petersburg or the surrounding area, they should be entitled to quality care and compensation for injuries they have suffered.

Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman are proud of our history protecting the most vulnerable members of our St. Petersburg community: Contact our St. Petersburg Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers at Dolman Law Group today to schedule a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman’s History of Success

Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman are staffed with highly skilled attorneys who have graduated from top law schools and gained experience through involvement in complex cases.

The work of Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman attorneys has brought us numerous awards, including:

  • Lawyers of Distinction
  • Florida Legal Elite
  • Super Lawyers
  • America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

In addition to strong legal advocacy, our lawyers treat each client with the attention and compassion they deserve. We know this is particularly important for sensitive matters involving injuries to elders. We work with clients to develop a customized strategy to secure the results the client wants and deserves.

How Does the Law Define Nursing Home Negligence?

Nursing home negligence occurs when any caregiver or nursing home operator fails to live up to the required standard of care. Establishing negligence requires an understanding of the standards nursing homes are held to as well as common negligent actions that can cause injury.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations

For nursing home operators, living up to the required standard of care means complying with all federal and state laws and regulations meant to ensure the safety of the residents. In Florida, the Agency for Health Care Administration is responsible for oversight of nursing homes.

The state has issued a law and regulations to ensure all nursing homes comply with certain minimum standards, including:

  • Provision of a safe, clean, comfortable, and home-like environment that enables residents to use personal belongings as appropriate;
  • Appropriate medical staffing, including a physician, medical director, a director of nursing, and sufficient nursing staff 24-hours a day to provide services allowing for the “highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident;”
  • A plan of care for each resident reviewed no less than once every three months;
  • Private communication, including receiving and sending unopened correspondence;
  • The right to participate in social, religious, and community activities;
  • The right to manage his or her own financial affairs;
  • The right to be informed of any medical condition and proposed treatment; and
  • Adoption of procedures that ensure accurate receipt and administration of medication

The above list is certainly not exhaustive but does demonstrate the types of standards placed on nursing, necessary to receive and maintain state licensing. If a nursing home fails to meet the standard, it is placed on conditional status and documented on a public watch list—unless the failures pose a threat to resident health or safety, in which case immediate action can be taken. Currently, there are nearly 200 nursing homes included on the watch list.

Care providers must follow any laws and regulations, but must also live up to the standard of care placed upon medical providers. Health providers must act at the same level as an average, prudent provider in a similarly situated profession or practice area. For example, if most providers would not have prescribed a certain course of treatment due to associated risks, a doctor who opts for that treatment may be acting contrary to the established standard of care.

To build a case of negligence against the nursing home or a specific care provider, you will need to understand the relevant laws, regulations, and standards of care. Additionally, you will need to secure evidence that demonstrates the negligence and resulting injuries.

Causes of St. Peterburg Nursing Home Negligence

The root of many cases of nursing home negligence lies in the lack of resources and ineffective professional management.

Some top factors resulting in cases of nursing home negligence include:

  • Staffing shortages: If a nursing home is under-resourced, staff cannot operate at their best. Staff members will prioritize certain responsibilities, which means that others are likely to get dropped or receive less attention. Issues are more likely to go overlooked or unnoticed. Understaffing can also affect the morale of staff which can alter the level of care and attention they provide to residents.
  • Lack of training and experience: Even when a nursing home is fully staffed, it does not operate as effectively with untrained or under-trained staff. Training gaps are especially concerning when they relate to nursing home policies, resident rights, or training on day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Underpaid staff: Most nursing homes are privately run and set their own pay rates. If staff feel underpaid and undervalued, they will not feel motivated to provide a high level of service and support to the residents.
  • Ineffective supervision and management: Staff is a critical component of quality nursing home care, but so is the management of the nursing home. Without quality leaders who focus on accountability and quality care, a nursing home is more susceptible to conditions that result in neglect.
  • Caregiver issues: Even the most effectively run nursing home can have bad actors. In the absence of any institutional issues, a bad hire can create an unsafe atmosphere for the residents they attend.
  • Increased resident risk factors: If a nursing home has a high population of high-needs residents, negligence is more likely because these residents demand extra time, attention, and care. Conditions that lead to increased rates of neglect include cognitive illness, mental illness, physical disabilities, or any condition that requires special or additional attention.

Evidence of the above activities or behaviors helps establish a case of negligence against the nursing home or care provider.

Injuries Resulting From St. Peterburg Nursing Home Negligence

The term injury often brings to mind a physical injury like a broken bone or laceration. The types of injuries a nursing home resident can suffer, however, are much more wide-ranging.

Common injuries resulting from nursing home neglect include:

  • Physical injury: Nursing home negligence can certainly result in physical injuries. If patients don’t receive the proper medical care, their injuries or conditions will get worse. Additionally, if residents aren’t receiving proper care, they can suffer from bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, sepsis, and infections.
  • Emotional injury: Lack of quality care and social interaction alone can cause emotional distress for elders. Often the neglect is taken a step further with acts intentionally meant to cause emotional distress, such as issuing threats, yelling at the patient, shaming or mocking the patient, or insulting or blaming the patient.
  • Financial injury: Nursing home residents are also susceptible to financial abuse. If they don’t have strong familial connections, they could create strong connections to a caretaker. The caretaker may take advantage of this by securing access to the patient’s assets or other financial instruments.

It may be difficult to identify if a loved one is suffering from neglect, especially if you can’t visit regularly.

Keep an eye out for the following common signs of elder abuse and neglect:

  • Fearful behavior or other notable changes in mood
  • Refusal to allow visitors
  • Unexplained injuries including bed sores
  • Appears to be malnourished or dehydrated
  • Unpaid bills or inability to explain how financial assets are being handled
  • Soiled clothing or bedding
  • Inadequate access to medical treatment

It is especially important to monitor the health and well-being of loved ones in a nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The elderly are particularly susceptible to COVID-19, and many nursing homes have been found failing on their responsibility to keep residents safe.

Once you think your loved one is a victim of neglect or abuse, you may wish to seek recovery from the responsible party. Consider all the ways the perpetrator harmed your loved one so that you can include your comprehensive damages claim in your lawsuit against the responsible party or parties. This amount will drive settlement discussions. Your nursing home attorney will work with you to calculate the damages claim, coordinate with any experts, and consider any settlement offers.

Who Is Responsible for St. Peterburg Nursing Home Negligence?

If a loved one has suffered an injury due to nursing home negligence, neglect, or abuse, they are entitled to recover for those injuries under the law. You will need to identify the responsible party to pursue recovery.

The entity that owns and controls the nursing home is the most likely party responsible for injuries. The nursing home owes a strict duty of care to all residents and is required to comply with all laws, regulations, and licensing requirements. The nursing home is also responsible for acts committed by an employee in the course of their employment for the nursing home. If a particular caregiver caused the injury, the nursing home itself will still be responsible for the injury.

In less common scenarios, a third party may be responsible for some or all of the damages. Examples include:

  • Nursing home equipment that was improperly designed, tested, or manufactured. In this situation, the equipment manufacturer is responsible for injuries caused by faulty equipment.
  • A third party contractor acted in a way that caused the injury. If an outside contractor is on the nursing home property, their actions could cause injury. For example, if a landscaper is on the grounds and fails to properly mark a hazard, causing injury, the landscaper is responsible.
  • A visitor caused an injury. If a visitor or trespasser directly harms a resident or creates a situation that causes injury, they can be held responsible for their acts.
  • Another resident caused the harm. If the harm was caused by another resident, the nursing home is not responsible unless they failed to intervene or take other reasonable actions to prevent the injury.

Depending on the extent of the negligence or abuse, the responsible party may be subject to criminal and civil penalties. A prosecutor will decide whether to pursue criminal charges, but the injured individual or their guardian is responsible for bringing a civil action. Once you have identified the responsible party, be sure to take action promptly. Any action for nursing home negligence must be brought within two years of the incident giving rise to the injury or the time when the incident should have been discovered with appropriate due diligence. In no instance can an action be brought more than four years after the injury-causing incident occurred.

The responsible party will attempt to delay your decision to file an action in hopes that you will miss your window of opportunity. An attorney can help you manage these delays. If your loved one’s injuries occurred more than two years ago, work with your attorney to determine if you can still pursue legal action.

St. Petersburg Nursing Home Negligence FAQ

Nursing homes serve an important function in our society, entrusted with protecting and caring for a large portion of the United States elderly population. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes or nursing home caregivers live up to their responsibility, and residents suffer as a result.

If you have a loved one who is the victim of negligence or abuse in a St. Petersburg nursing home and need to advocate for their rights, read on for answers to commonly asked questions regarding nursing home negligence.

Q: What is nursing home negligence?

Nursing home negligence occurs when any caregiver or nursing home operator fails to meet the standard of care placed upon them through various federal and state laws and regulations, as well as the standards of their profession.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) are responsible for the rules that nursing homes must comply with to qualify for participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Residents are entitled to receive the care and services necessary to attain and maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being. Facilities are required to investigate and report all allegations of abusive conduct and cannot employ individuals who have a disciplinary action related to abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or misappropriation of property on their record.

In addition to federal regulations, the Florida legislature and Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) have created specific laws, regulations, and rules governing the administration of nursing homes.

The following are representative of the requirements placed on nursing homes in Florida:

  • Provision of a safe, clean, comfortable, and home-like environment that enables residents to use personal belongings as appropriate;
  • Appropriate medical staffing, including a physician, medical director, a director of nursing, and sufficient nursing staff 24-hours a day to provide services allowing for the “highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident;”
  • A plan of care for each resident review no less than once every three months;
  • Private communication, including receiving and sending unopened correspondence;
  • The right to participate in social, religious, and community activities;
  • The right to manage his or her own financial affairs;
  • The right to be informed of any medical condition and proposed treatment; and
  • Adoption of procedures that ensure accurate receipt and administration of medication

If a nursing home employee or the administrator of the nursing home failed to ensure that the necessary standards are met, this is strong evidence of negligence.

Q: What types of injuries result from St. Peterburg nursing home neglect?

The term injury often brings to mind only physical injuries like a broken bone or laceration. The types of injuries a nursing home resident can suffer, however, are more diverse than a physical injury alone.

Common injuries resulting from nursing home neglect include:

  • Physical injury: Nursing home negligence can certainly result in physical injuries. If patients don’t receive the proper medical care, their injuries or conditions will get worse. If they are given improper medication or receive an inaccurate diagnosis, this can add to their existing medical complications. Additionally, if residents aren’t receiving proper care, they can suffer from bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, sepsis, and infections.
  • Emotional injury: Lack of quality care and social interaction alone can cause emotional distress for elders. Often the neglect is taken a step further with acts intentionally meant to cause emotional distress, such as issuing threats, yelling at the patient, shaming or mocking the patient, or insulting or blaming the patient. Already an at-risk population, this type of neglect and abuse can have significant effects on emotional well-being.
  • Financial injury: Nursing home residents are also prime targets for financial abuse. If residents don’t have strong familial or other personal connections, they may depend on their caregivers for this social support. The caretaker may take advantage of this by securing access to the patient’s assets or other financial instruments.

What are the common signs of St. Peterburg nursing home negligence?

It can be difficult to recognize the signs of nursing home neglect, especially if the neglect starts small and slowly increases over time.

Common indicators of neglect are:

  • Increased and/or unexplained injuries, especially those occurring from falls
  • The appearance of bedsores
  • Medication mix-ups
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Substandard living conditions
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Increased psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, fearful behavior, or other mood changes
  • Refusal to allow visitors
  • Unpaid bills or inability to explain financial decisions

Even if you can’t pinpoint the exact indicators of neglect, trust your gut and pursue an additional investigation as needed.

What happens if a St. Peterburg nursing home does not meet the required state or federal standards?

Nursing homes in Florida are subject to regular inspection, and additional inspections are completed in response to certain complaints. If a nursing home is found to be non-compliant, they could be punished through fines or by being placed in conditional status. The current average fine is approximately $5,000 for a severe violation. While federal fines are more significant, they aren’t often wielded as an enforcement tactic.

A Statement of Deficiencies is issued for any facility that has violated a regulation, and a list is published containing all facilities either under bankruptcy protection or in conditional status. This list currently includes almost 200 facilities.

While this transparency helps, insufficient penalties are one primary driver of continued elder abuse and neglect. An investigation found that in 32 of 43 cases of identified neglect in Florida, the government issued no fine or penalty.

If you are aware of abuse, neglect, exploitation, mistreatment, or any other adverse incident occurring at a nursing home, you should report it immediately to the AHCA through this form.

Q: How can I research St. Peterburg nursing homes?

The AHCA provides a HealthFinder website with the option to compare different facilities. You will also identify facilities that meet the ACHA’s Gold Seal standards. Gold Seal facilities are those that have demonstrated excellence in care over a sustained period of time. The factors considered when awarding a Gold Seal include long-term operation without severe deficiencies, financial stability, and consumer satisfaction.

The investigative journalism non-profit ProPublica maintains the Nursing Home Inspect website, which collects and organizes information about nursing homes. It also offers tools for comparing different facilities. This valuable tool can confirm the data provided by the AHCA and also help you research facilities in other states.

Q: What factors or circumstances lead to St. Peterburg nursing home negligence?

In addition to insufficient penalties for non-compliant nursing home facilities, these factors make nursing homes prime locations for abuse and neglect:

  • Staffing shortages: If a nursing home is under-resourced, staff can’t operate at their best. Staff members will prioritize certain responsibilities, which means that others are likely to get dropped or receive less attention. Issues are more likely to go overlooked or unnoticed. Understaffing can also affect the morale of staff which can alter the level of care and attention they provide to residents.
  • Lack of training and experience: Even when a nursing home is fully staffed, it does not operate as effectively with untrained or under-trained staff. Training gaps are especially concerning when they relate to nursing home policies, resident rights, or training on day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Underpaid staff: Most nursing homes are privately run and set their own pay rates. If staff feel underpaid and undervalued, they will not feel motivated to provide a high level of service and support to the residents.
  • Ineffective supervision and management: Staff is a critical component of quality nursing home care, but so is the management of the nursing home. Without quality leaders who focus on accountability and quality care, a nursing home is more susceptible to conditions that result in neglect.
  • Caregiver issues: Even the most effectively run nursing home can have bad actors. In the absence of any institutional issues, a bad hire can create an unsafe atmosphere for the residents they attend.
  • Increased resident risk factors: If a nursing home has a high population of high-needs residents, negligence is more likely because these residents demand extra time, attention, and care. Conditions that lead to increased rates of neglect include cognitive illness, mental illness, physical disabilities, or any condition that requires special or additional attention.

Evidence of the above issues or concerns is valuable in providing support to claims of negligence.

Q: Who is responsible for the neglect of my loved one in a St. Peterburg nursing home?

The entity that owns and controls the nursing home is the party most likely to be responsible for your loved one’s injuries. The nursing home is required to comply with all federal and state laws and regulations and owes a duty of care to each resident. The nursing home is also responsible for any negligent or intentional act committed by an employee during their employment.

There are, however, some scenarios where another party could be responsible for the injury, including injuries that occur from:

  • Improperly designed, tested, or manufactured equipment. If the equipment manufacturer failed to produce a safe product, they are responsible. If, however, the injury occurred because the equipment was improperly maintained, this would still be the fault of the nursing home.
  • Actions of a third party contractor. If a third party contractor (not an employee) caused the injury, they are responsible. Examples include a landscaper on the grounds who failed to mark a hazard or a food vendor who provided food that caused food poisoning.
  • Actions of a visitor. If a visitor or trespasser harms a resident or creates a situation that causes injury, they are responsible for their actions.
  • Actions of another resident. Any injury caused by another resident is their own responsibility unless the nursing home failed to provide proper supervision to a resident known to be violent or otherwise failed to intervene or take reasonable actions to prevent the injury.

Depending on the nature of the negligence and the extent of the injury, the responsible party may face criminal and civil penalties. A prosecutor will decide whether to pursue criminal action, but it is your responsibility to pursue civil action.

Be sure to take action as soon as possible. If you wait longer than two years from the date of the injury, you are at risk of violating the statute of limitations, which would bar your ability to bring a claim. A negligent party often attempts to delay the filing of a lawsuit to bar your ability to pursue recovery.

Q: What should I do if I believe my loved one is the victim of St. Peterburg nursing home negligence?

The first thing you should do is report the nursing home negligence to the AHCA. If you believe your loved one will suffer imminent harm, consider removing them from the nursing home if at all possible. Once you have ensured that your loved one is safe, contact an experienced attorney to assist you in securing recovery for their injuries.

An attorney can help you identify the responsible party, analyze the extent of the injuries, prepare a damages claim, consider any settlement offers, and represent your loved one in court. Working with a lawyer will also relieve you of the burden of handling any investigation, gathering evidence, and sorting through paperwork.

If you or your loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence in St. Petersburg, FL or the surrounding area, consider speaking with an experienced St. Petersburg nursing home negligence attorney as soon as possible.

Q: How common is nursing home negligence?

More than 15,000 nursing homes operate in the United States, with almost 700 licensed nursing homes in Florida. An estimated 1.3 million residents live in nursing homes nationwide, with 71,000 in Florida. Nursing homes will continue to be a critical component of elder care in Florida given that 20 percent of Florida’s population is age 65 and older.

Studies show that at least 10 percent of elders suffer from elder abuse, and the percentages are even higher for nursing home residents. Neglect is one of the most common types of elder abuse with studies showing that over 20 percent of nursing home residents were neglected in a 12-month period.

Based on these statistics, you should know about nursing home negligence if you have a loved one in a nursing home.

Contact Our St. Petersburg Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys Today

The lawyers at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman are here to help victims of nursing home negligence in St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas. Our firm has an impressive success record in helping clients pursue recovery for nursing home negligence. We provide timely and compassionate communication, helping clients assess the strength of their case, secure evidence of the other party’s negligence, consider settlement offers, and prepare case strategy.

Our firm is committed to our clients, and we do not collect any fees unless we secure a recovery on your behalf. Contact our St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers today at 833-552-7274 or through our website to schedule a free case consultation. Consistent with CDC guidelines, we offer free phone and video consultations with our attorneys, as well as digital signup packets.


Dolman Law Group – St Petersburg Office
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
833-552-7274