Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
At the Fernandez Firm, our Tampa nursing home abuse attorneys have been prosecuting negligent facilities and their staff for more than two decades. Over the years, our team of personal injury attorneys have recovered over $100 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients and obtained significant multi-million-dollar awards on behalf of victims injured by nursing home abuse and neglect throughout the State of Florida.
Have you or someone you love suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility in Tampa? If you suspect neglect or abuse, please fill out our free case evaluation form to see if our nursing home abuse attorneys can assist you in pursuing legal action against a negligent facility. Our goal as your attorneys is to not only to help victims of nursing home abuse to recover compensation when they have been wrongfully injured but is also to deter these healthcare facilities from engaging in negligent conduct in the future.
Nearly 72 thousand residents live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities in the State of Florida. Sadly, abuse and neglect in many of these facilities is on the rise. Some of the most common signs of abuse and neglect are:
- Bedsores (also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers)
- Falls, fractures or head injuries
- Bed injuries/asphyxiation
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Emotionally upset or agitated, extremely withdrawn or non-communicative
- Unexplained injury, such as wounds, cuts, bruises, etc
- Unexpected or unexplained death
Often family members are reluctant to question health care providers about signs of abuse or seek complete answers when an unexplained injury or death occurs. Over the years, managing partner, Tampa injury lawyer Frank Fernandez, has investigated hundreds of Tampa nursing home abuse claims. Through aggressive litigation skills he has successfully forced billion-dollar corporate-owned facilities to pay tens of millions of dollars to resolve such lawsuits.
Abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities can include deliberate acts or, most often, the failure to act in an elderly resident’s best interest. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the following are the most common forms of abuse and neglect:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional and verbal abuse
- Misapplication of physical restraints
- Misapplication of chemical restraints
- Medical or physical neglect
- Emotional or verbal neglect
- Abuse of the Resident’s Personal Property
Frequently, neglect and abuse occur when these long-term care facilities are understaffed and overcrowded with residents of varying medical problems and personal needs. Sadly, many victims are simply ignored and at the mercy of those entrusted with their care. If you have questions about an injury sustained by someone you know in a Tampa nursing home or assisted living facility, our attorneys are always available to answer your questions and an online case consultation or call are free.
Around 1.4 million people currently live in nursing homes across the U.S., with most of them between the ages of 75 and 94 years old and many of them choosing to live in Tampa. Many of those individuals have moved to long-term nursing care because they need assistance with personal care tasks, such as using the toilet, showering, cooking, managing medications, and mobility. Additionally, many of these individuals suffer from serious medical conditions, cognitive declines, and other issues that cause family members to turn to a nursing home to keep their loved ones safe.
Unfortunately, an estimated 90 percent of nursing homes hire too few staff to provide adequate care for all residents. This insufficiency leads to injuries, including falls, bedsores, fractures, or even unexplained deaths. Often these injuries go unreported, particularly if the victim cannot explain what is happening due to cognitive impairments or fear. Families can’t help, as they often do not know the warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Most studies indicate that only 20 percent of nursing home neglect and abuse is reported.
If your loved one has sustained injuries from nursing home abuse or neglect, or you believe your loved one is not receiving adequate care at a nursing home, read on for the answers to the questions that our Tampa clients ask us most often about nursing home negligence. For answers to questions about your specific case, contact Frank and Jennifer Fernandez, the experienced Tampa nursing home negligence attorneys at the Fernandez Firm.
How can the Fernandez Firm’s attorneys help my family with our Tampa nursing home negligence case?
Nursing home negligence is a serious issue that can change your loved one’s life forever. The individuals responsible for causing this injury should have to pay for the resulting damages, just as your loved one deserves compensation for the expenses and the impacts of the injury. Nursing home negligence attorneys can provide a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the laws that govern federally-funded nursing homes.
Some of the services that an attorney from the Fernandez Firm can provide to assist you with your case include:
- A free, no-obligation case evaluation, which provides you with time to talk about your specific case with an attorney, obtain answers to your legal questions, and learn more about the process of pursuing compensation for nursing home negligence through a civil claim.
- Determine all liable parties and all potential insurance resources that are accessible for compensation.
- A valuation of your loved one’s case that includes all past, present, and future expenses that stem from the injury. Your attorney will also factor in pain and suffering, along with other quality of life impacts caused by the injury.
- Timely filing of all court-required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction.
- Skilled negotiation aimed at obtaining maximum compensation on your behalf.
- The gathering of evidence and witness testimony necessary to prove your case.
- The use of medical experts to provide testimony, if needed.
- Guidance as to the pros and cons of accepting an offered settlement.
- Litigation, including making opening and closing arguments, examining witnesses, and presenting evidence.
- Assistance with collecting your loved one’s settlement or award.
Some results that Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at the Fernandez Firm have successfully recovered for past clients in nursing home cases include:
- $2.3 million for the wrongful death of an elderly nursing home resident who was dumped from her wheelchair by a negligent CNA who was attempting to push the wheelchair face-forward down a stepped embankment.
- $1.9 million for the wrongful death of an elderly nursing home resident who incurred several bedsores that became infected due to poor medical care.
Let our experienced Tampa nursing home negligence attorneys help you understand the process of recovering damages for your loved one’s injury. For your free case evaluation, contact Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at the Fernandez Firm today.
My mother is suffering from bedsores in a Tampa nursing facility. Does that constitute negligence?
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue because of pressure on the skin. The condition is a major concern in nursing homes, where residents are often immobile and require assistance to reposition their bodies to prevent bedsores from developing.
The symptoms of bedsores include:
- Unusual changes in skin texture in the affected area;
- Pus-like drainage from the wound;
- An area of the skin that feels cooler or warmer to the touch than other areas; and
- Tender places on the skin.
Bedsores are classified by their depth and severity, and can range from red, unbroken, slightly sore skin to a deep wound that has affected not only the skin, but the muscle and bone beneath it.
Generally, bedsores appear on parts of the body most susceptible to pressure when sitting or laying down, such as:
- The tailbone and buttocks;
- The shoulder blades and spine; and
- The backs of the arms and legs where they rest on a chair.
Bedsores that worsen or occur in a nursing home facility very often indicate nursing home neglect, because they’re easy to prevent through repositioning the body of an immobile resident regularly and ensuring that the resident is clean and dry. Nursing home staff must provide appropriate care to regularly reposition residents to prevent bedsores, but the staff also must monitor and treat existing bedsores to prevent them from worsening or becoming infected.
My loved one suffered a broken hip due to a fall in a Tampa nursing home. How should I pay for the expenses of his injury?
As noted by the National Floor Safety Institute, over 60 percent of nursing home residents will fall each year. One of the biggest risks from falling is the risk of fracturing a hip, which is an extremely serious injury that often results in significant loss of mobility for the resident. Fall injuries are not always a sign of neglect, but they may constitute neglect depending on the circumstances of the fall.
As individuals age, their strength and balance lessen, increasing the risk of a fall. Facilities should create a care plan that includes fall prevention for residents at a high risk of falling, such as those who have previously fallen or who are on a medication that affects strength and balance. Facility staff needs to assist these residents when they get into or out of bed, use the toilet, shower, or complete other tasks where the resident could fall and become injured. Failing to follow prescribed fall prevention procedures in a care plan may place liability on the nursing home.
Liability is another form of legal responsibility. If your loved one’s fall resulted from nursing home staff negligence, you can obtain compensation from the liable party through a civil lawsuit. This includes medical and other expenses associated with the injury, and compensation for the pain and suffering that your loved one has experienced from the injury.
If my mother files a nursing home lawsuit, will she need to testify against the Tampa facility staff in court?
Not necessarily. The vast majority of nursing home lawsuits, like other types of claims, resolve outside of court. A negotiated settlement between the liable party’s insurer and the claimant’s attorney will resolve most cases. However, if the case does proceed to trial, your attorney will determine whether your mother’s testimony is needed. Rest assured, experienced attorneys understand how difficult it is sometimes for people to testify at trial. Your attorney will properly prepare your mother if she does need to testify.
My father has suffered several unexplained injuries since he entered a Tampa nursing home. What should I do?
Florida law requires anyone who knows of or suspects elder abuse to file a report.
There are a few different methods for doing so, such as:
- Calling 911, if you have reason to believe that your father is in immediate danger of injury.
- Reporting the abuse to Florida’s Department of Children and Families, Adult Protective Services Division, online or by calling 1-800-96-ABUSE.
- File a complaint against the nursing home facility through Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.
Once you have filed a report of suspected abuse, the Florida Department of Children and Families is required to conduct an investigation. A representative from that organization will arrange to have face-to-face contact with the victim within 24 hours. The facility must make the resident available for this investigation.
We can help you file this report and investigate. If we find the facility or staff culpable for the injuries, we can file a claim for compensation on your or your loved one’s behalf.
Is a Tampa nursing home required to tell me if my mother sustains an injury?
If your mother’s nursing home is certified to accept Medicare and Medicaid residents, she has rights granted by federal law. Among those rights is the right for her personal representative to receive notification if she becomes injured or an existing condition worsens.
Other rights conveyed by federal nursing home regulations include:
- The right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation;
- The right to be treated with respect;
- The right to have access to medical care;
- Protections against involuntary transfer or discharge; and
- The right to have visitors at any time, so long as they do not disrupt other residents.
Who is liable if another resident deliberately causes an injury to my loved one in a Tampa nursing home?
The nursing home resident who caused the injury may face liability, depending on the circumstances. Additionally, the nursing home may face liability as well, as it is required to provide residents with an existence free from abuse. If the staff at the facility knew or had reason to know that the resident who caused the injury was capable of violence, that may constitute negligence on behalf of the facility due to its failure to adequately protect your loved one.
Are medical providers required to report suspected Tampa nursing home abuse?
In Florida, anyone who knows about or suspects elder abuse must file a report with Florida’s Adult Protective Services Division which will promptly investigate the situation. In particular, mandated reporters include physicians and other individuals that provide medical care and treatment to the elder, as well as any mental health providers, religious or spiritual healers, and nursing home staff.
Are Tampa nursing homes required to have a specific amount of staff?
Under-staffing is one of the main issues that leads to instances of nursing home neglect.
To prevent this, Florida imposes minimum staffing requirements that include:
- A minimum weekly average of 3.6 hours of direct care per resident per day by certified nursing assistants and licensed nursing staffing combined.
- A minimum certified nursing assistant staffing of 2.5 hours of direct care per resident per day, with the facility not allowed to staff below one CNA per 20 residents.
- A minimum licensed nursing staffing of one hour of direct care per resident per day and no less than one licensed nurse per 40 residents.
My loved one died because of neglect at a Tampa nursing home. What can I do?
If you wish to recover damages related to your loved one’s death, you can do so through a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact an experienced Tampa nursing home abuse attorney to determine if you qualify to pursue compensation through such a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for nursing home claims in Florida that involve nursing home abuse is generally two years from the date on which you discovered or should have discovered the injury, and no longer than four years after the date on which the injury occurred.
Are you or someone you love the victim of nursing home abuse in Tampa, Florida? If you suspect abuse or neglect and have questions, please contact a nursing home lawyer at the Fernandez Firm today at 1-800-222-8163. There is no charge for our legal consultation and, if there is no recovery, there are no attorneys’ fees or costs due.
At the Fernandez Firm, we don’t get paid unless we win… and we want to win!