FAQ: ALF & Nursing Home Abuse Questions

Are nursing homes liable if a resident is injured by another resident?

They certainly can be. Especially if the nursing home had knowledge that resident had a propensity to act our or be aggressive and didn’t do anything about it. It’s important to contact an experienced attorney, who can conduct a thorough investigation needed to prove this out.

Are nursing homes required to keep records of the care provided?

Absolutely they are. The statutes actually guide exactly what they’re required to keep in their records, and these records actually become the main evidence in a nursing home case, proving both care that was provided and the absence of care based on what’s documented.

Are there time limits to sue for injuries in a Florida nursing home abuse case?

Most definitely. The statutes provide a 2-year statue of limitations from the date of the incident, so it’s very important to start your investigation as quickly as possible as soon as you know something has happened. You certainly don’t want to go beyond that 2-year period or you will be barred from bringing your claim.

Are witnesses important in a Florida nursing home abuse case?

Witnesses are incredibly important in nursing home cases. Many times the resident is either deceased or is unable to testify as to what happened to them. It’s important to hire an attorney to look through the records, have their experts look through the records, identify all potential witnesses in the case, both employees and past employees of the home, as well as possibly other family members or family members of other residents who may have witnessed what occurred.

Can any attorney effectively review and handle a medical malpractice claim?

The key word in that question is “effectively.” Quite frankly, there are not that many firms that can effectively handle a medical malpractice claim. They are really detailed, they have specialized statutes and procedures. If you’re going to proceed one or you want to check on one, you need to go to a qualified law firm.

Can any attorney handle a Florida nursing home abuse case?

In Florida, any attorney can legally handle any case they choose; however, nursing home cases are guided by the Florida statutes with very specific procedures that must be followed to protect your rights. It’s important to hire an experienced attorney who’s knowledgeable about that statute and can follow those procedures to protect you.

Can I inspect the records of a nursing home?

You can, and by records depending on what you’re referring to, you can certainly look online to the AHCA website to check the surveys of the nursing home. You can actually look at the nursing home’s most recent survey at the facility as well as their current license. If you would actually like to look at a resident’s records if you have power of attorney or healthcare surrogacy for that resident, you’re entitled to view those records as well.

Can I still sue a nursing home on behalf of my loved one if they passed away?

Yes, you can. Depending on the circumstances of the death, it could be either a wrongful death case or it could be a survivor ship action. It’s a complicated issue and you do need an experienced attorney to look at that and explain those rights to you.

Do I need an attorney for my Florida nursing home abuse case?

I would certainly recommend that you hire one, yes. The Florida statutes are very particular and specific as it pertains to nursing home cases and what must be done in order to pursue the claim. It would be extremely difficult to prosecute a case of this nature without legal help.

How can I find out what the state says about a particular nursing home?

The most important way is to look at the state surveys. These can be found on the OHCA website, which is the Agency for Healthcare Administration. You can check up on any particular facility and review several years worth of surveys to see what’s happened in that facility.

How can I tell if a few bedsores or injuries are really due to nursing home abuse?

As a layperson, you may not be able to determine that. It would require an investigation of the medical chart to see exactly what’s been happening to the resident while they’ve been at the facility. You can assume, however, that if your family member entered the facility without bedsores, and without injuries, and subsequently developed those, there may be some liability on the part of the nursing home.

How much will it cost to hire an attorney for my Florida nursing home abuse case?

Firms handle matters differently. However most firms including ours handle cases like this on a contingency fee basis. What that means is if we are successful in making a recovery for you, our fee is a percentage of that recovery. Additionally we do fund the cost on your case for example getting a nursing home chart, hiring the investigators and the experts and again if we are successful we would recover those cost. There should not be any out of pocket cost to you in pursuing a nursing home case.

If we are suing the nursing facility of our loved one, should we move them to another facility?

That is a very personal decision that needs to be made between the resident, the family members, caregivers and doctors. We generally recommend if at all possible that the resident be moved from that facility. It avoids two different issues. First of all, to the extent that there could be some retaliation against the resident for the fact that a lawsuit’s being brought, but also the argument from the defense that if the nursing home is so bad, why is the resident still there. Certainly we would recommend that if all possible the resident be moved, but again that depends on what the medical condition and needs of the resident are.

Is it worth pursuing a nursing home abuse or neglect case even if the patient was old or sick?

Each case is different but keep in mind that most residence in nursing homes are there because they’re elderly and perhaps ill. That certainly doesn’t mean they’re entitled to any less care or respect than a younger or healthier resident. It’s very important that you contact an attorney to discuss these issues to evaluate the merits of each case.

It breaks my heart to see the care that my mother-in-law is receiving in the assisted living center. What can I do now?

I would recommend you contact an attorney to discuss your concerns. Assisted living facilities actually operate under a different stature than nursing homes, and the standards and the care they’re required to give are also different. It’s important that you discuss your concerns with an attorney who understands the distinctions between these two statutes.

What should I do if I am not happy with my attorney in my Florida nursing home abuse case?

The clients are always able to change attorneys, just as if they would change healthcare providers if they’re not happy with their doctor. You should feel free to contact a new attorney and discuss the case with them. If that new attorney takes the case, they should handle any communication with the prior attorney, and even there’s something owed to that prior attorney, again, your new attorney should be able to assist with that.

Should I be concerned if I notice bed sores on a family member in a nursing home?

Absolutely. With proper care, bed sores should not occur on most cases. It’s important to look at what’s happening to your resident and your family member and talk to an attorney to find out what can be done.

What can I do if I suspect nursing home abuse or neglect?

There are several things you can do if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect. Certainly I would recommend contacting an attorney to discuss your concerns. You can also raise some of those concerns with the nursing staff themselves as well as your local ombudsman, which is the liaison between a nursing home and a family member. If you do have concerns that rights have been violated, you certainly should contact an attorney.

What if my attorney tells me that I do not have a good nursing home case?

If you’ve been told you don’t have a case, get a second opinion. Each firm evaluates their cases differently and chooses to accept or decline cases for a variety of reasons. My firm has taken on cases that other firms have declined. It’s always worth making that call.

What if someone dies as a result of abuse in a nursing home?

That resident’s family may have a claim for wrongful death. Wrongful death cases involve setting up an estate so that the estate can make the claim on behalf of the family members. Certain important to contact an attorney to discuss these issues and help determine the proof that in fact the resident’s death was caused by the abuse.

Will I need expert witnesses for my Florida nursing home abuse case?

In all likelihood, you will need expert witnesses. That’s why it’s critical to hire a law firm that has the financial resources to move your case forward to retain these experts and to ensure that your rights are protected.

Will my Florida nursing home abuse case settle out of court?

In all likelihood, yes, your case will settle. Most cases do settle. A small percentage go to trial, probably 3%. However it’s still important to retain a law firm that has experience trying these cases and the financial resources to do so should it go that far.

Will I have to pay to speak with an attorney about my Florida nursing home abuse case?

The first thing you should do is call the police. The second thing you should do is go get medical treatment as soon as you can. Then you better seek some legal advice for the simple reason that you’re going to be contacted by insurance companies and other people to give statements. The other side will be working up their case to try and make sure you get very little in compensation. Those are the three things: call the police, get your medical treatment, and then seek legal advice.

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