If you decided to move your family member to a nursing home, you did so because you wanted to make sure that he or she received quality care from compassionate and competent staff. You probably never imagined that your loved one would be mistreated, but unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a widespread problem.
Physical abuse of vulnerable adults in a nursing home can lead to serious injuries and medical complications. If your loved one was a victim, you and other members of your family may be feeling shocked and outraged. You may be trying to figure out how to seek justice.
A Jacksonville physical abuse lawyer may be able to assist you. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has represented families in Florida and across the United States whose loved ones suffered abuse while living in long-term care facilities. We may be able to pursue financial compensation for your family. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 to speak with a member of our staff about what happened to your relative and how we may be able to help.
Forms of Physical Abuse that Can Occur in Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents may be subjected to numerous types of physical abuse. According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, those types may include hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, and hair-pulling. Force-feeding patients who do not want to eat or who are unable to do so is another form of abuse.
At nursing homes across the United States, the overmedicating of residents is a serious problem, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Nursing homes are often understaffed, which can leave employees feeling stressed and overwhelmed. They may give antipsychotic drugs to patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to make them docile and easier to manage, even if patients do not have psychiatric conditions that would make those medications appropriate.
Antipsychotic drugs can have dangerous side effects and can interact with other medications that senior citizens take. In some cases, those unnecessary drugs can lead to serious health problems and even death.
Liability for Abuse in Nursing Homes
In many cases, the people who are responsible for abusing vulnerable adults are the very same people who are supposed to care for them. Workers who are struggling to cope with the demands of the job may overmedicate residents or may lose their patience and lash out.
Sometimes patients in nursing homes are abused by others who come to the facility from time to time. Those may include people who make deliveries or perform repairs, as well as individuals who come to visit other residents.
Patients in long-term care facilities may even be abused by fellow residents. People who are suffering from various medical problems may become frustrated and angry and may harm each other. Individuals with dementia may be confused and may harm others that they perceive as threats. Often, in those cases, an abuser will not understand what he or she is doing or the fact that it is wrong and will not remember it afterward.
For a free legal consultation with a Physical Abuses Lawyer serving Jacksonville, call (800) 794-0444
Nursing Home Abuse Is Underreported
Some victims of abuse do not speak out because of fear. If the abuser is a staff member, a victim may think that no one will believe the allegations, especially if the abuser is generally well-liked and respected.
A person who has suffered abuse may also fear retaliation. A victim may be afraid that reporting physical abuse will cause it to become more severe and more frequent.
A victim may fear that he or she may be punished in other ways. Nursing home residents are often isolated and completely dependent on staff members. A victim may be afraid that he or she may not be permitted to visit or speak with family members or friends, may have food and water withheld, or may face other forms of punishment.
If the abuser is another resident, a victim may be afraid that others will not believe that abuse really occurred. A patient who has been victimized may also fear being ostracized and bullied by other residents and staff.
A person who has been abused by someone who visited the facility, such as a family member of another patient, may be afraid of the potential implications of speaking out. A victim may fear that coming forward could jeopardize his or her relationship with the other patient, as well as the patient’s relationship with his or her family member.
In many cases, nursing home employees and administrators actively attempt to cover up alleged abuse and to intimidate victims. They may refuse to file reports and conduct investigations, or they may claim that an investigation revealed no evidence when, in fact, they made no real effort to get to the truth. Nursing home employees may threaten or intimidate residents to get them to keep quiet. If someone comes forward with an allegation of abuse, employees may make an example of that person to get other victims to stay silent.
Jacksonville Physical Abuses Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
How a Jacksonville Physical Abuse Lawyer Can Help Your Family
Abusing an elderly or disabled adult is a violation of Florida Statutes §825.102. If you suspect that your loved one has been abused, the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can investigate to figure out what happened and who was responsible.
We can interview you, other members of your family, and your relative (if possible) to gather more information. We can also speak with staff members, fellow residents, and others who may be able to tell us about events they witnessed, signs of physical abuse they saw, and changes they noted in your loved one’s physical appearance and mental and emotional state.
Our team can review documents to find out if the facility properly investigated the allegations. We can also look into whether the nursing home conducted appropriate background checks and provided adequate training for staff members.
We may then be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the facility. We may pursue a financial award to cover medical bills for care that your loved one needed to treat injuries that were caused by physical abuse, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
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Work with a Jacksonville Physical Abuse Lawyer
Your family does not have much time to seek justice. According to Florida Statutes §429.296, a lawsuit for nursing home abuse must be filed “within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence,” and no later than four years from the date of the occurrence.
Time is of the essence, especially if your loved one is in poor health. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 so our team can get to work as soon as possible.