Skilled Florida Elder Law Attorneys Assisting Victims of Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Negligence

There are currently 50 million people aged 65 and older, and as the Baby Boomer Generation continues to age, this figure will grow exponentially over the next few years. As individuals age, they encounter a host of health issues. Many of these health issues necessitate the need for hospice, nurse or nursing home care. A nursing home is a special residential treatment facility that provides short-term or long-term care for elderly patients suffering from medical or mental health issues like dementia. Nursing homes provide supervision and monitoring, as well as medical care, therapy, and treatment. Elderly individuals in nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to abuse because they are often too ill to defend themselves. In addition, many elderly residents do not understand they are being abused because they have cognitive defects, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

If you suspect that a loved one is being abused at a nursing home, you have several options, including criminal prosecution and pursuing damages for civil liability. Kaiser Romanello has spent the past 25 combined years working with families victimized by the negligent acts of others and will assist you with fighting for justice. Kaiser Romanello is a boutique personal injury law firm. We dedicate our skills, training, knowledge, and experience to handling personal injury cases, including elder abuse and neglect. For a free case evaluation, call Kaiser Romanello today at (855) 200-1000 to discuss your elder abuse suspicions.

What Is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is the mistreatment of elderly residents in nursing homes. The mistreatment can be due to intentional wrongdoing or misconduct or the result of carelessness. Elder abuse can take many forms, including:

  • Intentional physical assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Emotional or psychological harassment
  • Withholding food, water, bathroom, medical treatment, clothing, blankets, and more
  • Failing to follow doctors’ orders regarding care and treatment
  • Failing to properly supervise the resident
  • Stealing prescription medications
  • Financial fraud
  • Embezzlement

While family members can be guilty of elder abuse, the vast majority of instances occur inside of nursing homes. Family members are unable to watch over the loved ones 24/7 when the loved ones are being treated at a nursing home. While families attempt to choose ethical, sanitary, and caring nursing homes for their elderly loved ones, many nursing homes fall short of expectations. Whether due to a lack of funding or poor screening of employees, many nursing homes are sued for elder abuse each year. In order to pursue an elder abuse claim on behalf of your loved one, however, you have to be able to spot the abuse in the first place.

The most common form of elder abuse involves financial exploitation, trailed by emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

Signs of Elder Abuse

Approximately 10% of nursing home patients complain of elder abuse, though only 7% of victims report the abuse to the authorities. While the National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that females and older individuals are more susceptible to abuse, exact figures are unknown because elder abuse rates are underreported. Many instances of elder abuse go unnoticed because the signs are often hard to detect, and the victims are commonly either unable to communicate with loved ones or are unaware themselves of the abuse.

Common signs of elder abuse include:

  • Physical assault: Bruising, lacerations, scratches, swollen cheeks, burn marks, black eyes, bloodshot eyes, depression, anxiety, social and emotional withdrawal, fear or agitation experienced around nursing home caregivers, refusal to answer questions or complete denial, inability to coherently explain the cause of injuries
  • Sexual assault: Sexually transmitted diseases, torn clothing, bleeding around or infections of the genitalia, genital bruising, pain experienced when sitting or moving, withdrawal, depression, anxiety
  • Emotional abuse: Withdrawal, depression, anxiety, paranoia, stress-induced illness like high blood pressure, severe weight loss, insomnia, fear or agitation experienced around the caregiver
  • Negligence: Unsanitary room, soiled sheets, dirty clothes, unchanged bed pan, bed sores, poor hygiene, sudden weight loss, hair loss, sudden drop in blood pressure, sudden heart problems, recurring infection, untreated symptoms
  • Financial abuse: Unexplained bank withdrawals or transfers, caregiver has been granted power of attorney, forged signatures, new accounts opened in the elderly family member’s name, large purchases, strange names added to accounts or legal documents like wills, elderly individual’s desire to consult with the caregiver about all financial decisions, unpaid bills, missing valuables

Florida Laws Regarding Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is a criminal offense in Florida. Both abuse and neglect are criminally punished by 825.102 of the Florida Statutes. Abuse and neglect are felonies under Florida law. Penalties range from five to thirty years in prison.

The elderly resident or a loved one acting on behalf of the resident can also seek a civil order for protection through a Florida court. For physical abuse perpetrated by a non-relative caregiver, Florida courts will grant an order for protection against repeat violence if the caregiver has committed two acts of violence within the past two months. If the elderly resident is victim of financial exploitation, the court will appoint a monitor to oversee the victim’s financial situation.

Finally, the most effective way to fight elder abuse is to seek damages through the civil liability system. Elder abuse is also a tort. Therefore, the victim can seek compensation through a civil lawsuit against the caregiver and the nursing home. If the victim has passed away, the family can bring a lawsuit on behalf of the victim under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. For assistance with seeking compensation for abuse injuries, including medical expenses and pain and suffering, you need to speak with a skilled elder law attorney like Lorne Kaiser or Steven Romanello.

If You Suspect Elder Abuse, Call Kaiser Romanello Today.

Kaiser Romanello understands how painful and stressful elder abuse can be for your loved one and entire family. Our personal injury attorneys know when to provide compassion and understanding to our clients and when to aggressively and tirelessly fight for justice. To schedule a free consultation, call the elder law attorneys at Kaiser Romanello at (855) 200-1000.

Get your FREE CASE EVALUATION