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Learn what signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for in Florida nursing homes

Millions of people in the United States reside in nursing homes and other types of skilled care facilities. Unfortunately, a considerable number of residents of these facilities end up victims of nursing home abuse.

If your loved one is living in a nursing home, you need to understand some of the basics of abuse and neglect at these centers. Based on these factors and the expertise of an experienced lawyer, you can determine if you have grounds for a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

Florida nursing home abuse

What is nursing home abuse?

Nursing home abuse occurs when a resident experiences any kind of intentional, harmful conduct by the staff of an assisted care facility.

Abuse isn’t the same as nursing home negligence. While nursing home abuse denotes harmful, intentional action, nursing home negligence is technically not intended action. Rather, it arises from a failure to exercise reasonable standards of care in the facility.

Nursing home abuse statistics

Nursing home abuse is a common problem in the United States, particularly in Florida. Nursing home lawsuit statistics and other related data underscores the scope of this type of abuse.

Law enforcement agencies and other organizations estimate that 5 million senior citizens are abused each year, including residents of nursing homes.

Many more are neglected in a myriad of different ways.

Just under 25 percent of nursing home residents suffer at least 1 instance of abuse. There is additional evidence to suggest that this number is low, and perhaps considerably so. Research suggests that only 1 in 14 cases of nursing home abuse is reported to authorities.

Common types of nursing home abuse

Nursing home abuse and neglect comes in many forms, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Resident on resident abuse (physical and sexual assault)
  • Psychological and emotional abuse
  • Gross neglect
  • Sexual abuse (by staff)
  • Financial exploitation (fraud)

Signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse

Because a resident of a nursing home may not report abuse, or may be unable to do so themselves, family members and friends of a resident need to be able to recognize the signs of this type of abuse.

Some of the more common signs of nursing home abuse are:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts or abrasions
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Silence around caretakers and staff
  • Bruises around genitals
  • Unexplained diseases or infections
  • Physical discomfort
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sudden financial problems
  • Bills not paid
  • Changes in resident’s will
  • Change in power of attorney

Who can file a nursing home lawsuit?

If a nursing home resident is mentally fit, they can pursue a nursing home lawsuit on their own. If the resident is mentally impaired in some manner and is not legally competent, a “conservator” is usually appointed. The conservator has the legal capacity to pursue a lawsuit of this nature on behalf of a nursing home resident.

Under Florida’s statute of limitations (429.296), a nursing home lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the date of the incident or incidents that resulted in injury.

There are certain rare exceptions that may extend this deadline. However, according to Florida law: “in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued.”

Wrongful death caused by nursing home abuse or neglect

Unfortunately, innocent nursing home residents die as a result of abuse every year. When that occurs, Florida law permits the pursuit of a wrongful death case. In Florida, a personal representative is appointed by the court to represent the estate of the deceased person and to pursue such litigation. Beneficiaries of a Florida wrongful death lawsuit include a spouse, parents or children.

A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within 2 years following the death of a nursing home resident.

How to pursue a nursing home abuse case

If you believe that a member of your family has suffered abuse or neglect in a senior care facility or nursing home and wish to pursue a nursing home lawsuit, seek legal assistance right away. The best way to protect your loved one’s rights is by promptly scheduling an initial consultation with an experienced, aggressive Tampa, Florida nursing home abuse attorney. The experts at the law firm of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos are ready to fight for your rights.

Contact us today for your free consultation.