Frequently Asked Questions about Nursing Home Cases
Most people considering bringing a Florida nursing home case have never been involved in a lawsuit before, not to mention a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit. With that in mind, we created this short list of common questions along with answers below (click the question to skip to the answer below):
Questions About Recognizing Nursing Home Abuse:
- What Qualifies As Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
- What Are Common Causes of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
- What are Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
- What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
Questions About Nursing Home Lawsuits:
- How Do I Hire a Nursing Home Attorney for a Florida Case?
- How Much Does It Cost To Hire Your Law Firm?
- How Long Does It Take To Resolve (via Settlement or Trial) a Nursing Home Case?
- What is My Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Case Worth?
- How Long Do I Have (aka Statute of Limitations) to File a Florida Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Case?
- Information about Nursing Home Abuse in Miami
Q: What Qualifies As Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
A: The definition of neglect, is the failure to provide services necessary for a persons health and safety. This includes adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, supervision, hygiene and health care. This broad definition covers a lot, but in general if there is a service that a nursing home is supposed to be providing, such as keeping the patient clean, well fed, or free from infections or wounds, and the nursing home is not providing that service adequately, it is nursing home neglect or abuse.
Q: What Are Common Causes of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
A: The underlying cause to most nursing home neglect or abuse cases is that nursing home owners care often care more about making a large profit than in caring for patients. This manifests itself in them not having enough staff, not paying for training for staff, not paying for good staff, having outdated equipment, inadequate supervision or precautions, etc. All of these are examples of ways that some nursing homes cut corners in order to increase profits, but end up hurting patients.
Q: What are Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
A: Most of the time, a family member will not actually witness the abuse or neglect, so the only way they notice it is by recognizing the signs of abuse or neglect. These include:
- Bedsores, also called decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers.
- Falls with injuries
- Unexplained injuries
- Rapid weight loss or malnutrition
- Cracked lips or dehydration
- Unsanitary conditions
- Inadequate staffing or poor quality of staff
- Overmedicating patient
- Sudden changes in patient behavior or prognosis
- Signs of sexual abuse, venereal diseases or genital infections
- Staff refusing or delaying visits by family to see resident
- Transfer to hospital for infection, wound care, or malnutrition
- Transfer to wound care clinic for wound care, debridement, or flap surgery
- Unexplained death
Q: What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
A: At the bare minimum, each resident is guaranteed the following rights:
- Reasonable access to health and legal services
- Transfer or discharge for medical reasons
- To be free of physical, sexual, verbal or mental abuse
- To be free of physical punishment, or chemical restraints
- To be treated fairly, courteously, and in a dignified manner
- Reasonable privacy
- To receive adequate and appropriate health care based on the patient’s needs
Q: How Do I Hire a Nursing Home Attorney for a Florida Case?
A: After you have decided you want to hire a specific attorney, you will need to contact him / her, discuss your case. If he / she is willing to take on the case, they will send you an attorney contract along with some other authorizations. Once signed, you have hired your attorney.
Q: How Much Does It Cost To Hire Your Law Firm?
A: $0 out of pocket. Our law firm works exclusively on a contingency fee arrangement. That means that unlike an attorney that you have to pay hourly, we only get paid when and if we recover money in your case, and we take a percentage of what we win. If we recover money in your case, we will take a percentage of what we recover plus any money we had to spend to pursue your case, such as court fees, testifying expert fees, fees to obtain medical records. We’re proud of our reputation as a firm that works to keep our client’s costs as low as possible so as to maximize their take home amount. You won’t get nickel-and-dimed with charges like long distance telephone charges or similar things that some firms do.
But the bottom line is, if we don’t recover money for you, you don’t pay us anything at all.
Q: How Long Does It Take To Resolve (via Settlement or Trial) a Nursing Home Case?
A: Brown Wharton & Brothers focuses on nursing home cases, so we’re able to work far faster than most firms that handle a wider variety of case types. Our fastest cases resolve in approximately four months, whereas the longest cases approach two years. The difference in time depends a lot on whether the other side wants to settle quickly or wants to fight us to the bitter end.
Q: What is My Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Case Worth?
A: Florida nursing home cases range in value from zero to millions. That dramatic difference in value depends on a great number of factors. They include, how clear the liability is, the extent of the harm, the venue of your case, how sympathetic the plaintiff is, the solvency of the defendant, whether you want to settle your case or want to see it through trial, along with other factors. The truth is, there is no good easy formula for determining your own case’s worth, but if you call our office we’ll be happy to walk you through the factors so that you can get a rough estimate.
Q: How Long Do I Have (aka Statute of Limitations) to File a Florida Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Case?
A: Generally, Florida Statute Section 400.0236 requires that a nursing home abuse or neglect case be filed within 2 years or 4 years from the date of the negligent incident, or within 2 years from the time you knew or should have known about the negligent act. This is a very complicated area of the law that can change without notice, so please speak to an attorney about the applicable statute of limitations in your case.