Nursing home abuse is one of the most serious crimes in our society because it puts our vulnerable loved ones at risk. Often, seniors in nursing homes have health issues or memory problems like dementia that leave them unable to defend themselves or report what is happening to them. When this happens, it’s time to hold the facility accountable.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Tampa, Florida, you probably have many questions. A Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer can answer your questions, help you file a claim, and negotiate a settlement that will help your family and prevent other vulnerable seniors from being hurt.
For a free legal consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer serving Tampa, call (813) 259-0022.
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions our clients ask our nursing home attorneys in Tampa, FL:
What Can You Do If Your Loved One has Suffered Nursing Home Abuse?
After you have made sure your loved one’s issues have been addressed, you should seriously consider hiring a nursing home abuse attorney from our Tampa-area law firm to bring a lawsuit against the facility. A nursing home abuse lawyer can hold the nursing home accountable for what they have done and help ensure no other nursing home residents suffer from the same type of abuse or neglect.
You can read our client testimonials to learn more about how our nursing home abuse attorneys in Tampa have helped other people to see that justice is served.
Should I Get a Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
You should absolutely get a lawyer, but before you hire an attorney, you need to make sure they are rated by a respected independent unbiased rating system. You shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best when it comes to getting justice for your elderly loved one. Tampa nursing home abuse attorney Scott Distasio has an “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.
Most cases of nursing home abuse in Florida will settle without ever being heard before a jury. However, if your case does need to go to trial, it’s important to hire a law firm that has the experience and ability to try your case. As a board-certified civil trial lawyer, Scott Distasio has the resources you’ll need to successfully represent you in court.
What Should You Ask Your Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
You’re going to want to come to your initial consultation with one of our nursing home lawyers in Tampa prepared with a list of questions. This will help you to remember to ask anything important you needed to know. Some of the most common questions our lawyers are asked include:
- How do I make sure this does not happen to anyone else?
- Can I hold them accountable for what they have done?
- Can I move my loved one to a different nursing home?
We have the knowledge and experience to hold nursing homes accountable for their abuse and neglect. We believe holding nursing homes financially accountable when they provide bad care will motivate them to improve, and our lawyers are passionate about doing so. For a free consultation, give us a call at (813) 259-0022.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
If you or your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home facility, an attorney with our team can review your situation to assess your damages and determine who you can seek compensation from. We can also investigate to decide who to hold responsible for the abuse or neglect that took place.
If you suffered injuries, your damages would likely include any medical treatment you received and related expenses. You could also collect damages for property that was damaged or stolen.
Your attorney can also calculate and seek to recover damages that do not have a dollar amount, such as pain and suffering or loss of life enjoyment. Both damages are common in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Together, they determine the value of your case.
What is the Average Settlement a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Get?
Each case is unique, and therefore, there is no “average” settlement. However, the following are some of the results of cases the Distasio Firm has settled for our clients:
- $1,700,000.00 for the family of an elderly woman who choked to death after not receiving pureed food
- $750,000.00 for the family of an elderly man who died as a result of dehydration and gangrene after receiving inadequate post-amputation care
- $450,000.00 for an elderly woman who developed a Stage IV pressure sore after negligent nursing home staff repeatedly failed to reposition her in a wheelchair
- $450,000.00 for an elderly woman with dementia who developed Stage II pressure sores and required her shoulder to be permanently fused after many falls from a wheelchair
- $225,000.00 for an elderly woman with dementia who ended up with a broken femur after nursing home staff repeatedly failed to use a Velcro belt to keep her from falling
Our nursing home abuse attorneys will go over your evidence and give you an estimate of the type of settlement you may be able to get in your claim or lawsuit. We will ensure you seek compensation for all damages you are entitled to receive.
How Long will it Take my Lawyer to Settle a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?
On average, it will take 18 to 24 months to settle a nursing home abuse claim, but this figure can also vary greatly depending on the specifics of your case. Your nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement in less time than this, and a case can also be drawn out for much longer.
We will manage your case entirely and handle all communications with all involved parties. We will keep you informed about any developments in your case, answer your questions, and explain how state laws affect your case.
How Long do I Have in Florida to Sue for Nursing Home Abuse?
Per Florida Statutes 429.296, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit for nursing home abuse. In some instances, the statute of limitations could be extended. The deadline for filing your case begins two years from the date of:
- When the abuse or neglect occurred; or
- When the incident that caused the injury was discovered; or
- When the victim or their representative should have reasonably discovered the incident that caused the injury.
Our law firm can advise you on whether circumstances in your case give your more time to file a lawsuit. We will ensure that your lawsuit is filed by the deadline, provided we have enough time to work on your case.
Can I Afford a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for my Tampa-Area Case?
Hiring a lawyer to take on your case is a personal decision, and for many, it is a considerable investment of time, money, and resources. Our firm works on contingency, meaning we take no money up front from you to start working on your case. We receive our payment if you receive a settlement offer or a court award. If we do not win compensation for you, you won’t owe us for our services.
We find that this arrangement helps us and our clients move forward on their cases. We can answer any questions you have about the cost of hiring an attorney during a free consultation.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Florida Statutes § 415.102(1) defines abuse as any willful act by a caregiver which causes or is likely to cause significant impairment to a vulnerable adult’s physical, mental, or emotional health. Abuse includes acts and omissions. Florida nursing homes engage in abuse in many subtle ways.
Nursing home administrators who deliberately understaff are actively engaging in nursing home abuse. Nursing home staff members engage in nursing home abuse when they verbally and physically abuse residents. Both of these forms of abuse are very common. Some examples of abuse include the following:
- Hitting uncooperative residents
- Twisting resident’s limbs when repositioning them
- Yelling at residents
- Teasing and/or calling residents names
A seasoned nursing home abuse lawyer in Tampa can gather the evidence necessary to hold these wrongdoers accountable. If you suspect that your loved one may be suffering from abuse and need help identifying the signs, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team today.
What is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is another form of nursing home abuse. Florida Statutes § 415.102(16) defines neglect as the failure or omission on the part of a caregiver to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of a vulnerable adult. Some examples of nursing home neglect may include the following:
- Failure to help with hygiene
- Failure to supervise residents that are at risk of falling
- Failure to change bedding
- Failure to change clothes
- Failure to feed the person
- Failure to hydrate the person
- Allowing incontinent residents to lay in their waste
- Some examples of medical neglect may include:
- Failing to provide proper medical attention
- Failing to provide prescription medication
- Over-medicating a person
- Under-medicating a person
- Failure to diagnose symptoms
- Failure to treat evident symptoms
- Failure to send ill residents to the hospital
If you notice any of the above issues with your loved one, it’s time to take action. This means notifying the nursing home’s administration in writing, filing a formal complaint with your state’s regulatory agency, and hiring a Tampa nursing home abuse attorney.
What are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse and neglect come in many forms, but they all end the same way: injury and/or death to vulnerable nursing home residents. The most common types are:
- Bed rail entrapment
- Combative residents
- Dropped patients using a Hoyer Lift
- Elopement and wandering
- Feeding tube neglect
- Impacted bowels
- Insect bites
- Medication errors
- Poor hygiene
- Pressure sores
- Sexual assault
- Slip and falls
- Smoking accidents
- Ventilator neglect
Why does Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Happen?
Most nursing homes provide good care to their residents, but some are so driven to make as much money as possible that they intentionally sacrifice the care of their residents to increase profits. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making a profit, but when profits are put ahead of providing resident care, nursing home abuse and neglect occur.
These nursing homes literally make a conscious decision to put profits over people. They know that the largest cost of running a nursing home is the cost of paying the employees. They willfully understaff their facility by reducing the cost of paying staff members so that they significantly increase profits.
There are two ways nursing homes reduce staff costs:
Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Near Me (813) 259-0022.
The first way is to purposely have fewer employees than is necessary to meet the needs of the residents. They reduce the number of staff members per shift so that the employees on duty do not have time to care for all the residents. Those with the most needs often get the least help. In fact, some residents that need extra assistance simply do not get it.
They may need help with basic things like:
- Turning and repositioning residents at risk of developing pressure sores
- Cleaning incontinent residents
- Feeding and providing water to residents incapable of caring for themselves, and
- Supervising residents at risk of falling do not happen
The end result is an increase in pressure sores, falls, injury, and even unnecessary death.
The second way nursing homes decrease the cost of staff is by hiring under-qualified employees for less money than other facilities. They have nursing assistants do the job of LPNs, and LPNs do the job of registered nurses.
These employees are so under-qualified and underpaid that they do not know how to handle older residents that are set in their ways and/or suffering from dementia. These employees take out their frustration on their residents in the form of mental and physical abuse.
How do You Identify Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Identifying elder abuse and elder neglect is not always easy. It will take careful observation on your part, but it will pay off in the end. If you keep your eyes open and are aware of potential signs of elder abuse and elder neglect, you can prevent it from occurring. Some signs to watch out for may include the following:
- Unexplained bruises
- Sudden changes in personality
- Fear of a caregiver
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Fainting, tiredness, or other symptoms of malnutrition
- Unclean environment
- Excessive restraints
- Recurring injuries
- Injuries that cannot be easily explained
- The caregiver will not let you be alone with your loved one
- Withdrawal or depression
- Strange financial transactions
Who Can I Hold Liable for Nursing Home Abuse and/or Neglect?
While nursing home facilities owe their residents a duty of care to look out for their health, safety, and well-being, they are not the only parties who can be liable in cases of senior abuse and neglect. Other parties that could be named in a legal action include:
- A facility that failed to keep out unauthorized persons
- A nurse who failed to give a resident the right medication or the right dosage of medication
- A nursing home staff member not trained on facility procedures, including how to use medical equipment
- A manufacturing company responsible for a malfunctioning assistive device, such as a walker or wheelchair
- A vendor that delivered food that made residents ill
- An outside contractor that failed to maintain facility equipment
If the facility where you or your loved one was harmed is in the Tampa area, our nursing home abuse attorney can look at your case and help you determine who you should hold liable for your injuries.
You Need to Hire a Lawyer Who has Experience Handling Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Your lawyer should not only know Florida nursing home law. They should also have years of experience handling abuse and neglect cases. Scott Distasio has been handling nursing home abuse cases for over 28 years. His years of experience investigating, negotiating, settling, filing lawsuits, taking depositions, and going to trial may make a difference in your case.
Call Us Today to Start Your Case with a Free Consultation
At Distasio Law Firm, our nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers have the experience in getting to the truth of what happened. Many times when we investigate these claims, we find the facility employees’ stories just do not make sense.
We will get to the bottom of what happened and settle your claim, and if the defendant won’t settle, we’ll see them in court. Call us at (813) 259-0022 to review your legal options with a team member during a free consultation.
Call or text (813) 259-0022 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.