When getting older, one of the things that happens is you become consistently more dependent on other people. Unfortunately, for many people, that means a nursing home is the only viable solution. It is important to remember, elder abuse often occurs in nursing homes in Miami and around the nation. When this tragedy occurs, those who experience the abuse and their loved ones should be able to obtain justice. The first step is to contact a Miami personal injury attorney experienced in nursing home abuse cases and hold the guilty party responsible for the injuries they have caused. The owners or companies behind these nursing homes are responsible when abuse happens and often the only way to obtain justice is by filing suit.
Situations Where a Nursing Home is Liable for Abuse
There are many situations where a nursing home is held liable for abuse. Nursing homes are liable for abuse if it is proven that any of the owners of a nursing home or the employees that work there acted negligently. If this is the case, then the nursing home can be held accountable for any damages that occurred. This includes payment for pain and suffering, additional medical bills, disfigurement and corrective surgeries, as well as disability. In some states, the law even allows for punitive damages, allowing a judge to further punish the liable party by forcing them to pay additional money to the victims.
There are many factors that must be assessed when trying to determine whether a nursing home is liable for abuse. There are several reasons that a nursing can be held liable for injuries sustained by a patient. Some examples include:
Negligent Hiring: When a nursing home fails to follow proper hiring practices and hires someone that has a history of abuse in the past or hires someone that is not qualified to do their job. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to ensure that all employees are properly qualified and trained to provide the standard of care that is expected of the facility. For example, if someone does not have the required academic credentials or experience, and someone gets hurt as a result, then the nursing home may be held liable.
Being Understaffed: Another example is that nursing homes are sometimes understaffed, which means that residents do not get the care that they need. The CDC estimates that the average across is the nation is less than 1 staff member to 2 residents. If there is not enough staff hired to care for a loved one, this can be considered abuse and the nursing home may be liable.
Not Enough Training/Equipment: Finally, staff members may not be adequately trained, or may have had so much work required of them that they were not able to adequately perform their duties. In addition, if the staff members were not given the proper equipment to do their jobs, then the nursing home can be held liable.
Other Factors: There are other reasons that fall outside of these three main situations. An example being when a nursing home breaches the rights of residents, who are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity and are required to maintain autonomy and privacy.
Types of Abuse Cases
Let’s discuss some of the common types of abuse cases. Unfortunately, this problem is more prevalent than anyone would like to acknowledge. A Miami personal injury lawyer can advise you as to the strength of your elder abuse or nursing home claim.
Physical abuse is a problem within nursing homes. Battery can be an issue, as can rough physical contact, although one of the most common forms of physical abuse involves the force-feeding of medications – and even overmedicating – as well as using physical restraints. Sometimes, drugs are used to control residents, such as keeping someone subdued so that the staff does not have to do as much work.
Neglect is another form of physical abuse that you will want to discuss with a Miami nursing home abuse lawyer. Neglect is when staff members simply do not meet the needs of the resident. This is quite common. Nursing home staff members may not even be doing it on purpose. If the company behind the nursing home does not hire enough staff, then the staff that is there cannot be expected to perform all their duties.
Emotional abuse happens quite often as well. Employees of the nursing home may act in abhorrent ways towards the residents, sometimes threatening them or manipulating them. For example, nursing home staff have been known to threaten to take away meals, bathing, or other care actions that the resident cannot do for themselves. One of the most insidious things that can happen is a nursing home resident threatened with harm if they speak out about the abuse that is going on within the nursing home. This can make it very difficult to determine when abuse is happening.
Sexual abuse is also common in nursing homes. For example, a resident may be threatened or manipulated into having unwanted sexual contact with a staff member, or they might be sexually assaulted because they have no ability to resist. But, it isn’t just staff members that can be guilty of this. Other residents may be exhibiting this behavior as well. Often, it may be determined that this abuse could have and should have been prevented by nursing home staff.
Financial abuse is very common in nursing homes. Staff members know about resident finances, and sometimes, unscrupulous staff members will take advantage of their position or exploit the resident for financial gain. This may include spending money, bank accounts, property, stocks, bonds or getting them to turn over a power of attorney to that staff member. They might even be forced to change their will if they have money that they will be leaving behind.
How to Know When Your Loved Ones Are Being Abused
Sometimes, family members do not take stories of abuse from residents seriously, instead choosing to chalk them up to dementia, paranoia, or old age. However, family members should take stories seriously and investigate them thoroughly, including talking to a Miami nursing home abuse attorney, because abuse does happen. There are certain signs that you will want to look for to help you determine if abuse is occurring. Some of these include bruises, bedsores, emotional withdrawal, malnutrition, not wanting to talk in front of staff members, pain and much more.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that you should contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Miami if you suspect nursing home abuse. A Miami personal injury attorney can investigate the case and help you and your loved ones obtain compensation. A person injury attorney in Miami is the best equipped party to deal with this horrible situation.