Nursing homes are meant to provide quality, competent care. Unfortunately, nursing homes do not always keep the people safe that they are meant to, and injuries result. 

Nursing home abuse is a form of elder abuse, which causes injury to a person over the age of 60. If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home, you could be entitled to compensation. 

Having a Vero Beach nursing home abuse attorney by your side will help to even the playing field so you recover the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.

Learn how a local nursing home abuse attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, & Fronrath can help with you or your loved one’s nursing home injury by calling (561) 655-1990 or visiting our site.

Nursing Homes in Indian River County

Within Indian River County Florida, the County Office reports that there are 28 assisted living and nursing homes. These nursing homes serve a population of 147,981 people living in an area spread over 503 square miles. 

Additionally, there is one assisted living and nursing home per 5,285 people, and one assisted living and nursing home per 17 square miles.

Nursing homes in Indian River County and Vero Beach include:

  • Angel Care at Vero Beach Inc.
  • Brennity at Vero Beach
  • Consulate Healthcare of Vero Beach
  • Dixie Oak Manor
  • Florida Baptist Retirement Center Inc.
  • Grace Rehabilitation Center of Vero Beach
  • Harborchase of Vero Beach
  • Oakbridge Terrace Assisted Living at Indian River Estates
  • Pelican Landing Assisted Living and Memory Care
  • Renaissance Senior Living
  • Sea Breeze Rehab and Nursing Center
  • Veta’s We Care Assisted Living Facilities
  • Willowbrooke Court at Indian River Estates.

Nursing homes can be the center of quality care, or the cause of injury that you can recover compensation from, as we’ll discuss.  

What counts as nursing home abuse?

Nursing home abuse is a form of elder abuse that has become an increasingly common problem in the United States, where more and more people live to older age and require assisted care services. 

Elder abuse is defined as an intentional act, or a failure to act, that causes harm or the risk of harm to an elder person. An elder person is defined as an individual who is over the age of 60. Nursing home abuse can take on a variety of forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial, as we’ll explore in the sections below.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse in a nursing home is particularly unfortunate, as elderly persons are often unable to defend themselves. Physical abuse can take the form of strikes or blows and other forms of physical assault as well as a variety of other actions.

Physical abuse includes:

  • Assault 
  • Neglect of essential physical needs like food and water, shelter, and essential medical care
  • Neglect leading to falls and other injuries.

Emotional Abuse

When the emotional needs of an elder person are not met, or when the elder person is ignored or disregarded, emotional abuse may occur. Other forms of emotional abuse include:

  • Insulting and verbally abusing the elder person
  • Telling the elder person lies about their loved ones or other important life aspects
  • Denying the elder person access to emotional support from their friends and family
  • Preventing the elder from socializing with their community.

When a person’s mental state shifts and they are more depressed or less social than before, emotional abuse may be occurring.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse in the nursing home environment is when an elder person is forced to engage in or watch a sexual act that they have not consented to. 

Signs of sexual abuse can include emotional and social withdrawal, as well as physical injuries as a result of the abuse.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse of the elderly is an especially common problem. When an elder is being financially abused, their resources are being taken from them by a member of the nursing home or their support staff. Signs of financial abuse include:

  • Irregular changes in account balances
  • Lost personal property
  • Check fraud and/or identity theft.

How are nursing homes regulated in Florida?

Nursing homes are regulated in Florida by the Agency for Health Care Administration, specifically the long-term care services unit. 

The purpose of the long-term care services unit is to ensure that health care providers comply with the standards of safety and quality that have been established by federal and state regulations. 

Among the many types of facilities regulated by the administration are nursing homes, and they provide strong regulations that your attorney can rely on to support the recovery of compensation in your nursing home injury case.

How will an attorney help me?

When you have an attorney on your claim, you can step back and focus on moving past your or your loved one’s injuries.

Recovering compensation for your nursing home injury requires the collection of evidence, the drafting of a claim, the filing of the claim with the appropriate insurance company, then related communications and negotiations to determine a fair and appropriate settlement.

If a settlement cannot be reached, your nursing home abuse attorney will bring a lawsuit on your behalf to collect the full compensation you are entitled to. The insurance company of the nursing home that caused the injury does not work for you. The insurance company puts their claim analysts and attorneys to work to reduce or deny whichever claims they can. Working with an attorney helps to even the playing field.

Your attorney will collect the evidence you need to prove your present and future damages, and collect the full amount of compensation you deserve.

4 Steps to Take If You Suspect Abuse

To protect against nursing home abuse, it is important to watch out for the signs. You might not know that what you or your loved one is going through is a form of abuse. 

Common signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Concussions and other physical injuries – when someone experiences a bump, blow, or penetrating wound to their head, they may experience traumatic brain injury, which can have long-term implications and become worse without treatment.
  • Bruises, broken bones, and bedsores – bruises and broken bones can be the result of physical assault or falls that happen as a result of neglect, while bedsores are a sign of neglect as they develop when an elder who is unable to move is not provided basic medical care.
  • Changes in mental state – when you or your loved one are feeling differently than in the past and exhibiting signs of depression or social withdrawal, this could be a sign of abuse.

If you have noticed any physical indicators of injury, or changes in mental state or social involvement, the following four steps will help you start moving toward justice and compensation.

1. Speak with the victim.

It is important to speak with the victim first; this is helpful to ensure that their recollection is not countered or overlooked if you were to go to the caregiver or nursing home first. 

The employee or employees who are responsible for the abuse do not benefit by talking to you about it, so learning what happened from the victim first provides an important foundation. 

We understand that in some instances you might not be able to collect the opinion directly from the victim, which is where evidence comes into play. Speaking with the caregiver or supervisor about the abuse is the next step.

2. Speak with the caregiver and/or supervisor.

While talking to the individual directly responsible for the abuse might not lead to honest information, it is important to speak with the caregiver or the supervisor. 

Speaking with the management of the facility will help to address the problem immediately while also creating a record of the abuse to be used later as evidence in support of your case.

3. Contact the authorities.

In the State of Florida, the Florida Department of Children and Families is in place to protect elders and other vulnerable adults from abuse. Under Florida law, it is required that if someone knows about or even suspects abuse or neglect, the abusive behavior should be reported to the authorities.

Victims and families of victims of nursing home and elder abuse are encouraged to contact the Florida Abuse Hotline to file a report. 

Additionally, if you have been the victim of nursing home abuse or you suspect one of your loved ones has, contacting the authorities as soon as possible is also recommended. 

4. Speak with a Vero Beach nursing home abuse attorney.

Recovering your damages unfortunately is not automatic, but rather, is only possible by filing a claim with the insurance company of the party that caused the injury. Insurance companies make greater profits when they deny as many claims as possible, and pay as little as possible on those claims that they approve. 

Your Vero Beach nursing home abuse attorney steps into your shoes and helps you collect the evidence you need to put together a claim that the insurance company must pay attention to. 

We collect evidence, draft your claim, submit it to the insurance company, and handle all negotiations and communications so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. In the event the insurance company will not offer a fair settlement, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf to collect the full amount you are entitled to.

If you lost a loved one due to nursing home abuse, you could be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. These are often complex legal matters, so it’s best to work with an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney.

Fighting for Your Family When You Need It Most

When a nursing home responsible for keeping you or your loved one safe causes injury, you could be entitled to compensation. Whether or not you have a case, and how much it might be worth, depends upon how the law and case precedent applies to the unique facts and circumstances of your injury. 

The best way to determine the value of your injuries and claim them from the responsible party is by working with a nursing home abuse attorney.

Schedule a consultation with one of the experienced Vero Beach nursing home abuse attorneys from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, & Fronrath, or call (561) 655-1990.