Nursing Home Abuse in Florida
Under Florida law, if you know or suspect that a "vulnerable adult" is being abused, you have a legal obligation to report that abuse to authorities. If you or a family member is the victim, a Florida nursing home abuse attorney can help you stop the abuse and take legal action against the abuser.
Florida Agencies Addressing Elder Abuse & Nursing Home Abuse
You can bring suspected nursing home abuse to the attention of several government agencies in Florida:
- The Florida Abuse Hotline at 800-962-2873 (if the abuse occurs in the home) or 888-831-0404 (if the abuse occurs in a Florida long-term care facility)
- Police or law enforcement in the town in which the nursing home is located or the victim lives
- The Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
- The Florida Department of Children & Families
Florida defines a vulnerable adult as someone who is at least 60 years old or someone at least 18 years old who suffers from a disability.
Florida nursing home abuse attorneys can also help you report actual or suspected abuse to the legal authorities.
What Is Florida Nursing Home Abuse & Elder Abuse?
Abuse comes in many shapes and forms, and can include physical abuse, mental or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, harassment and neglect. The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas Inc. says that visual signs of potential elder abuse include:
- "Physical indicators such as bruises, burns, unexplained fractures, bedsores, being dirty and unkempt, inadequate clothing, showing evidence of malnutrition.
- Behavioral indicators such as being nervous or agitated, avoiding eye contact, hesitant to talk openly, depressed or despairing, feeling hopeless, withdrawn, denying problems, covering up for caregiver, confused or disoriented, suspicious.
- Environmental indicators such as dirty, cramped, unsanitary living space with inadequate light, heat, or cooling; health and safety hazards such as doors with no locks, rodents or insects, open space heaters, broken plumbing, no water or electricity, fire hazards, repairs needed to roof, stairs, railing; and questionable care as evidenced by lack of food, medicine not managed, soiled bedding, or patient is restrained."
How Can a Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help?
There are a number of ways in which Florida nursing home abuse lawyers can help you address suspected elder abuse and take legal action against the abuser.
- A nursing home abuse lawyer in Florida can work with law enforcement authorities (on behalf of the victim and his or her family) to ensure that the suspected abuse is being investigated. The lawyer can help coordinate interviews between the police and the victim, as well as between the police and other witnesses. Your attorney can also help the victim prepare for interviews and explain what they can expect during the process.
- If the investigation seems to have stalled, a Florida elder abuse attorney can help ensure that police continue to stay on top of the case. Finally, if the abuser is criminally charged, the attorney can help the victim prepare for depositions and testifying in court, if necessary.
- Even if the abuser pleads guilty to criminal charges, serves jail time or pays a fine, the nursing home victim will not receive a share of this fine—the money goes to the government. For this reason, nursing home abuse victims and their families should also consider taking civil legal action against an abuser. Because there are different standards for civil cases, it's also easier to win a lawsuit in civil court. Your legal action against the abuser may be successful even if the abuser was found not guilty in criminal court or law enforcement authorities declined to press charges.
- Your Florida elder abuse attorneys can explain in more detail the difference between criminal and civil cases. Your lawyers can also review the specifics of your case and offer an assessment on its likely success.
Find out more information about nursing home abuse frequently asked questions on Lawyers.com.
Find & Hire Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Florida
If you or a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse in Florida or elder abuse, you must take immediate action. One of your next steps is to find and hire a nursing home abuse attorney in your area.
Attorneys.com can connect you with Florida elder abuse attorneys across the state—from Tampa to Miami, from Jacksonville to St. Petersburg. To use our free service, complete the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222. We'll ask a few simple questions, then quickly connect you with an attorney in your area.