Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia are prone to wandering or elopement. When they leave the facility’s safe areas, they face an increased risk of injury or fatality. That is why long-term care facilities must have precautionary measures in place to prevent such incidents.
However, some nursing homes in places like Jacksonville, Florida cannot adequately monitor cognitively-impaired residents, causing them to suffer injuries. If your elderly loved one got hurt after wandering off, you could take legal action against the nursing home. Call (800) 842-6336 to get a free case evaluation with a Jacksonville wandering and elopement lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
Wandering and Elopement Are Examples of Neglect
Older adults with cognitive disorders tend to wander, which is commonly observed in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. Wandering may be either purposeful or accidental and often traced to many factors, including disorientation, memory loss, or a strong desire to go “home.” Such a habit becomes dangerous when they leave the safe areas or the supervised facility altogether.
Nursing homes recognize the hazards of wandering and elopement, which is why they have protocols, interventions, and other precautions to minimize these incidents and the risk for injuries. However, lapses may still exist and present opportunities for elderly residents to wander or elope. Understaffing, lack of employee training, and defective alarms are some of the possible reasons.
Incidents involving unsafe wandering or elopement are examples of nursing home neglect—the care facility failed to keep their elderly residents protected and within the confines of the supervised premises. If your senior loved one had injuries due to their wandering, you could seek compensation from the parties that caused the mishap. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC to see if a wandering and elopement lawyer can help you with your case against the nursing home.
Pursuing a Case Against the Facility
If your senior loved one had injuries after getting out of the nursing home unnoticed, it was the facility’s fault. However, the burden of proof lies with the victim’s family. As with most personal injury cases, the court will only award compensation if you can demonstrate that the nursing home acted negligently.
When pursuing a negligence lawsuit, an injury does not equate to an actionable claim—you must establish the link between the harm done and the nursing home’s actions or lack thereof. You can prove your case by presenting evidence like photos, videos, and witness statements, all of which could help reconstruct what happened on the day of the incident. Testimonies from recognized experts will also bolster your case. For example, they may identify lapses in protocols and systems that led to wandering or elopement and the resulting injuries.
Before bringing forth a case to seek compensation, you can hire a Jacksonville wandering and elopement lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to handle the case for you. They will help investigate and gather evidence to support your claim. To initiate a lawsuit, call a team member today.
For a free legal consultation with a Jacksonville Wandering and Elopement Lawyer serving Jacksonville, call (800) 794-0444
Nursing Home Liability for Your Loved One’s Injuries
Nursing homes are primarily responsible for their residents’ overall well-being. That is why they are held to the highest standards of caring for the elderly, and failure in this aspect makes them responsible for injuries suffered. Their liability stems from being unable to provide the standard of care owed to their patients. For a negligence claim to stand, it must have the four essential elements.
The law requires nursing homes to have adequate staff at all times to handle the basic needs of residents and keep them safe. The long-term care facility is also responsible for developing an extensive care plan that caters to an individual’s particular needs. So if your elderly relative has a cognitive disorder or is a flight risk, the nursing home must take these into account as part of patient management. For instance, it may include continuous supervision to prevent them from leaving the facility and its safe areas.
Breach of Duty
The nursing home breached its duty if there was an opportunity for elderly residents to wander outside the safe areas or leave the premises altogether. For instance, the care facility did not replace defective alarms or faulty door locks, or the nursing staff failed to notice immediately that a resident went missing.
When seeking damages, you have to show that the nursing home’s breach of duty caused your elderly loved one’s injuries. Your senior relative suffered an injury because the care facility failed to secure the premises to stop them from wandering or eloping.
Bear in mind that your claim will only be actionable if the elderly victim suffered actual harm. Damages often include medical costs incurred in treating injuries and other related expenses. Sometimes, it may also cover fair compensation for pain and suffering experienced.
A wandering and elopement lawyer can help you determine and prove who is liable for the incident.
Jacksonville Jacksonville Wandering and Elopement Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Time Limits in Taking Legal Action
If your elderly relative suffered injuries following a wandering or elopement incident, you have the legal right to seek compensation from liable parties on their behalf. However, you can only do so within the state-imposed time limit.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a negligence lawsuit is two years from the date of injury or its discovery, according to Florida Statutes §400.0236. After the deadline expires, victims can no longer recover their losses, even if they have an actionable claim. Those who choose to self-represent often overlook this detail, leading to the case’s early termination.
Remember that you can file a lawsuit, even if you are still in the middle of settlement negotiations with the nursing home. A lawyer will advise you to file with plenty of time left.
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Call Us If You Want Legal Support
Incidents of elderly neglect are challenging to prove, especially if victims are cognitively impaired. They may have forgotten what had happened, but that does not mean you cannot prove your case. A Jacksonville wandering and elopement lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will help you establish the facts, collect substantial evidence, and build a strong case to recover damages.
Reach out at (800) 842-6336 for an initial consultation.