Vero Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
It’s an appalling fact that numerous elders and disabled adults suffer some form of abuse when entrusted to nursing homes. In Florida, nursing home neglect and abuse have repeatedly made headlines after they caused injuries and deaths. Our nursing home abuse lawyer in Vero Beach out that statistical records do not even include numerous unreported cases where residents do not recognize they are being harmed or are unwilling to report it.
If you suspect that your loved one was abused, mistreated, or neglected in a Florida facility, get the help of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney. The DeBerard team is a highly reputed firm serving people throughout the Treasure Coast & South Florida, and can help protect the rights of your loved one, as well as yours. We ensure the resident is safe as we find the optimum strategies to hold the abuser accountable and get monetary compensation for you.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in Vero Beach?
Under the Statute of Limitations in Florida, you have a two-year time limit to sue for abuse or neglect at a nursing home, beginning on the last known date of abuse. While this sounds like ample time to bring a lawsuit, it’s important to take action early by getting an attorney to preserve evidence.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Could your family member be abused while staying at a facility? Check for the following common red flags that may indicate the resident has been abused or neglected (We expound more on various types of abuse further below):
- Unexplained bruises, abrasions, marks on skin, burns, or broken bones
- Multiple falling accidents
- Bed sores or other infections
- Poor hygiene
- Weight loss
- Withdrawing from usual activities
- Sudden unexplained changes in properties.
When you notice these indicators of nursing home abuse, it’s wise to contact an attorney right away. Here at Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, we first help determine whether your loved one has to have urgent interventions, and if so, we’ll make sure your loved one gets those. We’ll also guide you on your lawful remedies to demand accountability from the nursing home management or staff, and to seek the compensation for your family’s losses. Call us today for your free consultation.
How Do I Report Abuse in a Vero Beach Nursing Home?
If the victim needs urgent medical care or police intervention, don’t hesitate to call 911.
In Florida, we have the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to regulate, inspect, and license nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs), and other long-term care facilities. If you wish to file a complaint involving a Vero Beach facility, you may do so with AHCA by through their phone number 800-955-8771 or 1-888-419-3456, or through their online complaint form.
Florida also has a state-run volunteer service called the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which investigates and resolves complaints about nursing homes. You may contact them at 1-888-831-0404 (toll-free) or 1-850-414-2323.
While it’s useful to raise a complaint with these agencies, they are not the legal means to get compensation for your medical costs, therapy costs, pain and suffering, and related losses. To demand compensation, you’ll need to bring a civil matter against the abuser. Let DeBerard help you with this case. Our experienced Vero Beach nursing home abuse lawyers can be your champion to help you recover what you deserve.
Categories of Elder Abuse
There are physical, emotional, sexual, and financial types of abuse. It can also take the form of neglect. Here’s how these forms of abuse can occur at nursing homes, and what signs to watch out for.
Examples are striking, slapping, punching, or kicking a resident. Restraints that are injurious may also be considered this category. Note signs such as:
- Unexplainable bruises, scars, welts, or cuts
- Fractures or sprains
- Injuries or illnesses that the staff can’t properly explain.
Even without physical contact, a resident may still suffer emotional trauma from personnel’s shouting, swearing, humiliation, or intimidation. Some substandard facilities may also use confinement or isolation to punish a resident’s behavior. Indicators of emotional abuse will be harder to notice. Be aware of your loved one’s:
- Sudden behavior changes
- Lack of interest in usual activities or hobbies
- Anxiety or irritability
- Withdrawn personality
- Depressive moods.
This encompasses not just sexual assault or rape but also non-consensual touching of intimate body parts, showing of sexual media, and forcible nudity. Indications of sexual abuse often include physical and emotional clues such as:
- Odd bruises or markings
- Genital sores
- Suddenly contracting sexually transmitted diseases
- Recoiling when being touched
- Becoming unsociable.
This type of abuse is when a caregiver exploits a vulnerable adult’s assets for personal gain. This often involves manipulation or coercion of the resident. Signs of financial abuse include:
- Strange transactions using the resident’s money account
- Lost cash or possessions
- Sudden signing over of assets
- Unpaid bills
- Sudden amendments in the resident’s will or estate plan.
Nursing Home Neglect
This is the deficient or improper care of the nursing home’s residents. Examples are lack of mobility assistance for impaired residents, not administering medication as required, too little cleaning or sanitation, lack of response to falling accidents, and not calling a doctor when necessary. If your loved one is being neglected, they may show symptoms like:
- Bedsores (residents with mobility issues can develop these skin lesions if staff fails to reposition them regularly)
- Untreated infections
- Several falls that stay unaddressed (nursing homes and ALFs must update a resident’s care plan once they suffer a fall, in order to prevent subsequent falls)
- Weight loss, dehydration, or malnutrition
- Bad hygiene or unkempt living quarters
- Elopement (resident leaves the nursing home without supervision).
Some Face Higher Risk of Nursing Home Abuse
Sadly, certain groups of persons could be more at-risk of abuse precisely because they have a vulnerability. One study discovered that older adults having dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognitive disorder are the most at-risk – their abuse rate is nearly five times that of people their age without dementia. The same study also showed that individuals older than 80 have a higher risk of suffering abuse than younger individuals.
In addition, there is plenty of research highlighting how social isolation can increase the risk of adult abuse. Without the constant company of family around them, people in nursing homes find very little support network to help recognize when abuse is occurring. And when family does visit, abuse victims tend to feel too embarrassed, ashamed, or intimidated to tell someone about their experiences.
It’s crucial for family members to be perceptive of the signs of elder abuse. Even if you are unsure about what’s happening, it’s prudent to consult a knowledgeable attorney to help you see your best next steps.
Who Could Be Responsible in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Various parties may be responsible for nursing home abuse. In many cases, several parties are found liable to pay for the injury or death they caused. Below are persons or entities that may be answerable in elder abuse cases:
- The staff or personnel at the nursing home
- Nurse’s aides
- Business owner
- The administrator of the facility
- The licensee of the specific branch
- A supplier or contractor of the nursing home
- Doctors or therapists.
When you’re making a claim against well-resourced defendants, pursuing a nursing home abuse claim can be extremely challenging. You can expect to face major insurance companies and even defense lawyers shielding the responsible party. Get the help of a reliable nursing home abuse lawyer in Indian River County with proven experience handling such claims. Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney is highly experienced and reputable in South Florida, and we are ready to serve you.
Call Philip DeBerard, Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Indian River County
Chosen as the Best Personal Injury Attorney on the Treasure Coast by TCPalm, Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney is consistent as an effective fighter for South Floridians. The DeBerard office has been serving Vero Beach for 40 years, winning millions of dollars for individuals and families who suffered because of the fault of others. Tell us about your potential case of nursing home abuse. Schedule a no-cost consultation by contacting 1-800-299-8878 today.
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