South Florida, and Miami especially, is and always has been a popular place to retire. The Sunshine State lures in thousands of retirees every year with its low cost of living, beautiful beaches and warm weather. These new Floridians inevitably age, and over time, many of them require the care of a skilled nursing facility.
Nursing homes are notorious for their overworked and underpaid staff. This can make for a hostile work environment that is housing some of America’s most vulnerable citizens. There are not many acts more egregious than when staff members of a facility harm and neglect a person whose care has been entrusted to them. Prosper Shaked can offer the guidance and experience victims of elder abuse need to help get them the compensation they deserve.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse Injuries
Most of the injuries sustained by nursing home residents are the result of either neglect or by direct abuse. Some of the most common injuries suffered by victims of elder abuse and neglect include:
- Head injuries and fractures
- Bed sores and pressure ulcers
- Cuts and lacerations
- Severe infections
- Falls and accidents due to neglect
- Sexual abuse
- Illness due to medication errors
- Psychological damage
Causes of Action for Elder Abuse
When a nursing home resident has suffered injuries due to elder abuse in a nursing home, typically that victim or the family of the victim will pursue a claim on a negligence theory. To prove that a nursing home staff member was negligent, the plaintiff must prove that:
- The staff member had a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care to the victim;
- The staff member breached that duty; and
- As a result of the breach, the victim suffered damages.
In many elder abuse cases, victims and their families can hold the nursing home responsible for the negligence of a staff member based on a theory of vicarious liability. The Respondeat Superior Doctrine holds an employer liable for the negligent actions of employees. This doctrine applies when a plaintiff can show that the employee’s negligence took place while in the scope of his or her employment. Because employees are held to be agents of their employers, a court can find employers liable for their employees’ negligent acts. Nursing homes can also be found liable for the injuries of their residents when a court finds that the employer negligently selected equipment, negligently hired, and/or negligently maintained the premises.
Damages Recoverable For Elder Abuse
Similar to other personal injury lawsuits, there are two types of damages that a victim of elder abuse can recover: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories: monetary and nonmonetary. Some examples of monetary damages include:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Property damages
- Funeral and burial expenses (for wrongful death)
- Reimbursement for nursing home care and deductibles that were paid
Nonmonetary damages are more difficult to calculate, but they are still recoverable. Some examples of nonmonetary damages that are recoverable in an elder abuse case include:
- Loss of enjoyment
- Pain and suffering
- Phantom Pain
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where a court finds that the nursing home and/or the members of its staff behaved in a way that displayed complete indifference to the well-being of the victim. If the behavior was also found to be intentionally inflicted or particularly outrageous, a court may choose to award punitive damages. The purpose behind punitive damages is to make an example out of the defendant so as to deter people from committing similar acts in the future. This type of recovery is especially important in elder abuse cases because it creates an incentive for nursing homes to increase the quality of care that they are providing for their residents.
Miami Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
It is important to hire an experienced nursing home abuse attorney especially in cases where there is potential for recovery of punitive damages. Punitive damages are difficult to prove, and a skilled attorney can give an honest assessment and develop a plan of action that puts a victim in the best possible position to recover damages.
Neglecting and abusing people who many times are too ill and weak to defend themselves is an egregious and unacceptable act. If you or someone you love is a victim of elder abuse, Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA will zealously advocate for you every step of the way. Nursing homes need to be held liable not only so that you can recover for your injuries but so that this type of behavior does not continue to plague innocent and helpless people in the future. Call the Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676 today for a free consultation, and put your case in the hands of a lawyer you can trust to fight tirelessly for your legal rights.