When we put our loved ones in a nursing home or assisted living facility we are trusting the hospital or agency will follow the standard of care prescribed by the law. Unfortunately, too often that trust is broken when a loved one is injured due to the negligent care, or lack of care, given by the hospital and its employees. An experienced Jacksonville, Florida nursing home accident and abuse lawyer can help you go after the negligent parties when you or a loved one has been injured due to improper care or intentional injury.
Potential nursing home negligence includes, but is not limited, to: not adequately protecting against falls, improper medical care or medical referrals, excessive sores or injuries that are left untreated, inadequate training of personnel, and/or negligent hiring of personnel. Left untreated, these injuries can lead to lifelong or even fatal injuries to residents of the assisted living facility or hospital. It is hard to fathom how a hospital, often times a corporation, could leave an elderly patient riddled with untreated bed sores, ulcers, or general lacerations. Unfortunately, many times the injury to a resident comes at the hands of a facility employee who negligently, or even intentionally, abuses or batters the patient at the assisted or independent living facility.
In addition to the common law, nursing home injury victims will also have the benefit of specific state statutes that govern the appropriate levels of care that must be maintained by hospitals and facilities that cater to the long term residential treatment of the elderly. This standard of care is usually higher for the independent or assisted living facility and is designed to protect those under the care of hospital. We know these statutes well and will use it to your full advantage. Unfortunately, many attorneys take on Jacksonville nursing home accident cases and do not even know, or understand, the Florida Statutes that regulate elderly care providers.
In the late 1970’s it became clear that the State of Florida was behind in its attempts to clean up and improve the standard of care in hospitals providing care for elderly residents. This ultimately led to a 1980 Dade County Grand Jury investigation into negligence and abuses in nursing home faculties. The Florida Legislature took note and carefully examined the results of the Dade County Grand Jury investigation. Importantly, the legislature found that sixty percent of the nursing home facilities investigated were found to provide “unacceptable or consistently very poor care” for residents. The grand Jury report concluded that the state inspection and enforcement was very poor at addressing the problem of sub standard care. Against these findings, the Florida Legislature amended and adopted the “Nursing Home Residents Rights Act” (“The Act”) in 1980. The purpose of this Act was to create a list of rights belonging to residents and a remedy for enforcing violations of those rights. The Act itself is cited at Florida Statutes § 400.022, and is explained in more detail in the Nursing Home Residents Rights Act section of this website.
Similarly, Florida Statutes § 400.023 defines the mechanism for civil enforcement of a violation under the Act. This section of he statute gives the resident a civil cause of action against the care facility if the hospital violates any of the rights outlined in the Act itself. Specifically, one may bring a lawsuit, often called a civil action, against the negligent nursing home to recover compensatory damages and, if appropriate, punitive damages for any infringement of the rights of the resident. A claimant who prevails in a lawsuit may be entitled to recover costs of the action, reasonable attorney’s fees, and damages. Significantly, the court may award punitive damages if there is a finding that the hospital or residential care provider engaged in conduct which is “willful, wanton, gross or flagrant, or reckless.” This discussion of these sections of the Florida Statutes is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without the assistance of an experienced attorney or law firm.
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