Many Tampa families depend on nursing homes to administer quality care on a permanent or rehabilitative basis for their elderly loved ones. When a nursing home fails to protect its vulnerable residents, seniors may be injured, defrauded, or severely neglected. Pervasive nursing home negligence has threatened the lives and well-being of too many elderly Tampa residents who rely on the services of nursing homes for meals, medical care, and shelter.
When you engage the services of a Tampa nursing home, you should be able to expect skilled, compassionate care. Seniors have the right to be treated with dignity free from any form of abuse, rather than being taken advantage of because they are mentally or physically debilitated.
KMW Legal Can Help With Your Nursing Home Negligence Claim
During our decade of practicing law, the attorneys of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh have aided many Tampa families in recovering fair settlements when their elderly family members have endured neglect or abuse in a nursing home. With 106 nursing homes in the immediate Tampa area, the opportunity for nursing home neglect abounds.
After losing a loved one, attempting to negotiate a settlement with a negligent nursing home by yourself can result in you receiving less compensation for damages than you are entitled to. Even if your elderly loved one is able to recover from the physical trauma or emotional distress, the neglect may have long-term implications for your family’s financial future and your loved one’s health.
The best way to protect yourself and your loved one from being further taken advantage of is by contacting a capable legal advocate. You need a tenacious litigator who won’t be intimidated by the prospect of proving allegations of neglect at trial or in settlement negotiations. KMW Legal offers a cost-free, commitment-free strategy session to begin planning an approach for a successful nursing home settlement.
Signs Your Loved One is Experiencing Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
Neglect can look like failure to provide adequate food and water, necessary medical attention, or hygiene practices like supplying clean clothes and showers. Nursing home staff may use an elderly person’s diminished cognitive capabilities or reliance on their care to intimidate them into silence if they are being neglected or abused, which is why it’s important for families to monitor their elderly loved ones’ care closely.
Florida Law defines elder abuse as the “intentional infliction of physical or psychological injury upon an elderly person”, the deliberate provocation of another party to commit harm against an elder, or restricting access to family in order to inflict harm or conceal abuse. Negligent nursing homes can be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit for the harm that occurs under their care.
Warning Signs of Physical Abuse in a Nursing Home
Families of seniors in nursing homes may be alerted to physical abuse if they notice bruises, cuts, or more serious injuries like broken bones. This may occur in tandem with other intimidation tactics and abuse.
Negligent nursing home staff may attempt to explain away bruises or a change in temperament, temporarily restricted access to the senior until the physical signs of trauma have faded, or cover up injuries with clothes. If a senior has a difficult time explaining the origin and extent of an injury or invents an unlikely reason, it may warrant concern.
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes Goes Underreported
The tell-tale signs of sexual abuse, such as bleeding and contusions around the pelvic area or genitals, UTI infections, and newly acquired STDs may be accompanied by behavioral changes. A nursing home resident who is being sexually abused may lash out and exhibit a fear of being placed in vulnerable situations like showering.
They may also avoid certain residents or staff, or attempt to isolate themselves, which puts them in further danger of being exploited. Even seniors who have the mental capacity to understand the violation of their bodies may fear that they will be retaliated against by the nursing home staff or other residents who committed the abuse, meaning that some cases go unreported to authorities as the abuse continues.
Indicators of Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
Emotional abuse in nursing homes includes threatening, manipulating, isolating, or psychologically tormenting elders, either by other residents, or more commonly by staff members. This can lead to serious consequences for the physical health and mental well-being of abused seniors.
Elderly nursing home residents may lose weight, exhibit poor hygiene habits, social withdrawal, and show additional signs of depression and anxiety. The inherent imbalance in the power dynamic of nursing homes, where residents depend on staff to monitor and treat their health, provide them with nourishment and mental stimulation, and maintain a clean, safe living environment can create the potential for staff to abuse their power.
Recognizing Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes
Perpetrators of financial scams and theft often prey on seniors, especially those who are isolated from family. Unfortunately, nursing homes are a prime hunting ground for those who want to steal from the elderly. Seniors may have cash, credit cards, or valuables stolen from them while they are residents, or be coerced into funding schemes to enrich staff or other residents.
Family members may notice low account balances and unusual charges without corresponding goods or services provided to their loved one. Like the other forms of abuse, seniors may not admit that they were the victims of financial exploitation due to shame or fear of retaliation, or because they no longer have the cognitive capabilities to recognize they are being taken advantage of.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence
If you believe that your loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect a the hands of a Tampa nursing home, contact law enforcement and notify the nursing home facility that the neglect has occurred. Maintain a record of any medical information, photographs, or conversations available to you.
You should also report it immediately to the Florida Department of Children and Families as well as the Agency for Healthcare Administration so they can initiate a formal investigation into your complaint.
Their findings can provide valuable evidence if you decide to pursue a nursing home negligence lawsuit to recover the expenses of the hospital bills resulting from the abuse, therapy bills for rehabilitation, and the cost of emotional distress to your elderly loved one.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit?
When a nursing home fails in their duty to take care of their elderly resident, they can be held financially responsible for a myriad of costs. If they neglected to rehabilitate an injury that resulted in a loss of function, allowed an infection to fester and escalate into sepsis, or provide basic care like baths and adequate meals, they can be found liable for the subsequent costs of care and the toll on the resident’s mental health.
Examples of Damages in a Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit:
- Medical bills
- Lab Tests
- Ambulance Rides
- Transportation to Appointments
- Hospital Stays
- Mobility Aids
- Physical or Occupational Therapy
- Pain and Suffering
- Wrongful Death
- Funeral and Burial Costs
- Loss of Companionship
If you are looking to allege nursing home abuse to recover damages on behalf of yourself or a loved one, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim in Florida is 4 years, and for a wrongful death lawsuit, the time frame is only 2 years after the time of death. A qualified nursing home negligence lawyer can help ensure you met appropriate deadlines and account for the full range of expenses your family may ultimately be responsible for.
Medical Malpractice in Nursing Homes
In some nursing home negligence cases, the neglect or abuse can constitute medical malpractice, such as disregarding allergies during treatment or administering an incorrect diagnosis.
When negligence is perpetrated by health care professional that fails to provide treatment that follows the accepted standard of care, the negligent party can be held liable for the medical expenses and emotional consequences in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice cases have different filing requirements, so it is critical to consult an experienced attorney to give your lawsuit the best chance of resolving in a fair settlement.
How Can a Tampa Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Help Me?
Nursing home facilities may become overwhelmed and neglect or abuse their residents, leaving vulnerable seniors without clean facilities, consistent medical care, and basic necessities. They may try to keep the families of seniors ignorant of the extent of their loved one’s neglect or suggest the senior’s complaints are exaggerated.
KMW Legal is Prepared to Protect Your Rights
You need a seasoned personal injury lawyer on your side who has experience specifically handling nursing home neglect cases. These types of cases can be complicated to settle and benefit from the assistance of someone familiar with the nuances of negotiating settlements for those harmed by nursing home negligence.
The nursing home resident who has been neglected may not be able to testify to the neglect or abuse they have endured, which means the case will lean heavily on documented evidence like medical reports and the results of our attorney’s investigation.
KMW Legal is familiar with the strategies insurance carriers and nursing homes use to minimize the value of claims of neglect, but we won’t let that impede our pursuit of a fair settlement that recognizes the true cost of the nursing home’s negligence.
We will be steadfast protectors of your senior’s right to dignity and quality care, ensure critical paperwork deadlines are met, and line up the medical evidence and witness testimony necessary to validate your nursing home negligence claim.
KMW Legal is Proud to Represent Neglected Nursing Home Victims in Tampa, Florida
The Tampa Bay Times reports that one in five Tampa residents is over the age of 65, and this number is growing. With a population of 387,916 people Tampa has seen many seniors suffer terrible abuse in these institutions. KMW has in turn assisted these members of our community in taking legal action via a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
As this age cohort matures, the need for quality nursing home care will continue to rise, making accountability for negligence in this system all the more paramount.
The nursing home negligence lawyers of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh have cultivated a reputation in Hillsborough County over the past decade for our eye for detail and relentless approach to advocacy. Our clients know that they are heard and valued by our team when they seek our legal expertise, which is how we’ve grown our firm’s reputation for excellence.
Contact a Tampa Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Today
When a senior has been neglected or abused by the staff entrusted with their care, the victim and their family are owed compensation for the physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens they have shouldered as a result of the nursing home’s failure to perform their duty.
The attorneys of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh have the trial experience and financial resources to successfully settle a nursing home negligence lawsuit. Our case results testify to our ability to consistently and expeditiously recover compensatory damages for our clients.
We encourage you to reach out for a free, no-obligation strategy session with our legal team to discuss the specifics of your nursing home negligence claim and begin the process of rectifying the trauma your family has endured.