4 Steps to Take If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you recognize any signs of abuse or neglect when visiting a relative who resides in a nursing home, it’s important to act fast. Depending on the circumstances, your loved one’s life—or the lives of other residents—could be in jeopardy.
Before doing anything rash, though, consider the potential implications. For example, if you were to report your suspicions to nursing home administrators, it could prompt an internal investigation. Evidence of negligence or abuse may then be covered up or destroyed.
To ensure your family member’s safety and protect your case, consider taking the following steps:
Call the Authorities
If the victim’s life is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, you can report your concerns to the Florida Department of Children and Families by visiting their website or by calling 1-800-962-2873. They have counselors available 24/7 to assist individuals who are worried about their loved ones. While reporting the suspected nursing home abuse is not a mandatory step in the claims process, doing so will alert local authorities of potential issues at the facility.
If it turns out that multiple complaints have been submitted, they may contribute to the strength of your own claim. And if you happen to be the first to raise concern, it could help prevent future abuse by prompting an official investigation.
Relocate Your Loved One
If the abuse or neglect appears to be systemic, it may be wise to move your relative to a different nursing home. If, on the other hand, a single employee committed the transgressions and he or she has since been terminated, your loved one’s health and safety may no longer be threatened. Should this be the case, relocation may not be necessary.
In order to build a strong claim against the facility, you will need sufficient evidence of liability, causation, and damages. As such, you should start gathering information to support your case as soon as you decide to take legal action. Documents worth saving include:
- Photographs of any bedsores, bruises, or lacerations;
- Diagnostic images;
- Hospital records; and
- Nursing logs.
Contact an Attorney
Even if you save all records diligently, they may not provide a clear picture of what happened. Unfortunately, additional pieces of evidence may be hard—if not impossible—to obtain without applying legal pressure. This is where a nursing home abuse lawyer can help.
A strategic attorney will know how to acquire evidence that implicates the facility such as security footage, hiring procedures, and training manuals. Your lawyer can also correspond with the insurer, interview witnesses, consult geriatric care experts, track damages, estimate a fair payout, negotiate for a settlement, and—if necessary—prepare your case for trial.
Call (727) 821-1500 to Speak with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in St. Petersburg
If you suspect your loved one was neglected or abused at a long-term care facility, contact Emerson Straw to determine the most strategic way to proceed and take the first steps. Our resourceful attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and gather evidence so your family can pursue the maximum payout possible. Call (727) 821-1500 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer.