According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, hundreds of thousands of seniors are intentionally neglected by family members and caregivers each year. These seniors often suffer permanent physical, financial, and emotional damages from the neglect they were subjected to by their trusted caregivers.
Neglectful caregivers could face criminal charges, and Florida law gives the impacted individuals the right to file a civil lawsuit as well with the assistance of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. While a Florida elderly neglect lawyer cannot change the past, they can help an elderly individual seek the compensation they may be entitled to under Florida’s neglect laws.
Defining the Neglect of Florida’s Elderly
Elderly neglect is different from abuse in that it involves a typically inadvertent denial of needed and deserved care for mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being, rather than overt and intentional harmful actions. Neglect can happen in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, a hospital, or in the elderly individual’s own home by a care provider. Possible examples of neglect include:
- Withholding medication, food, or medical attention
- Not helping with toileting or hygiene needs
- Forcing the individual to live in unsafe or unsanitary conditions
When Should a Lawyer Be Contacted?
If an elderly individual or someone close to them believes they are suffering from neglect, it is usually a good idea to consult with an elderly neglect lawyer in Florida. Failure to contact an attorney promptly could result in poor treatment continuing and a plaintiff missing out on monetary compensation that they are entitled to receive. It is also important that the elderly individual or their family member contact an attorney as soon as possible for two additional reasons.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
Florida has a deadline known as the statute of limitations that establishes when potential elderly neglect plaintiffs can file their case. Under Florida Statutes §95.11(3), this deadline is four years from the date of the incident or from the date of discovery of the neglect. If the case is not filed within this deadline, the potential plaintiff may give up their right to seek compensation for their injuries.
The longer a potential plaintiff waits to contact an attorney, the higher the likelihood that evidence vital to the success of their case is lost. When a potential plaintiff hires a Florida elderly neglect attorney, their lawyer can go to work preserving any evidence that would be needed to prove their case. Evidence may include witness accounts or physical evidence on the elderly individual or their place of living.
Proving the Neglect of an Elderly Plaintiff
No matter who neglects an elderly person, chances are good that their care provider did not act in a way that a reasonably prudent caregiver would have acted. This is a breach of duty and the legal definition of negligence.
Although neglect is illegal, it is not necessarily grounds for a civil lawsuit alone. Injuries and damages must accompany the neglect for a civil lawsuit to have merit. Compensable injuries and damages may include pain and suffering, medical expenses, and emotional distress.
Consult with a Florida Elderly Neglect Attorney
Sometimes neglect can go undetected or ignored for far too long. If you or someone you love is not receiving the care they deserve, it may be time to consult with a Florida elderly neglect lawyer. For a case evaluation, contact an attorney today.