If your loved one was neglected or abused by nursing home staff, your family deserves justice, and a local nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer could help. In addition to pursing medical bills and other compensatory damages, it may also be possible to obtain compensation for punitive damages, depending on the nature of the mistreatment. Punitive damages in St. Petersburg nursing home abuse cases are meant to serve as a deterrent to any further actions like the defendant allegedly committed.
What Rights do Nursing Home Residents Have in St. Petersburg?
Pursuant to Florida Statute 400.023, nursing home residents—or their surviving relatives—can seek punitive damages if their rights were violated by the facility’s staff or administrators. While not an exhaustive list, Florida Statute 400.022 identifies residents’ rights as the following:
- The right to be informed of their diagnoses and treatments;
- The right to receive adequate medical attention, protective services, and support consistent with both their care plan and established standards in the field;
- The right to be free from mental and physical neglect and abuse; and
- The right to be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect.
If any of these rights are deprived or infringed upon in a willful, wanton, gross, flagrant, reckless, or consciously indifferent way, the victim—or those taking legal action on his or her behalf—may be entitled to a punitive award. However, in order to recover such damages in a St. Petersburg nursing home abuse case, the plaintiff must make a reasonable showing of evidence supporting the claim.
Collecting Evidence to Pursue a Punitive Damage Award
Since every case is different, there’s no single test to perform to determine whether the family might have grounds for a punitive award. However, plaintiffs may find help by consulting a knowledgeable nursing home abuse injury attorney. After evaluating the circumstances, a lawyer in St. Petersburg could help determine the most strategic way to pursue the punitive damages the victim’s family may be entitled to in a nursing home abuse case.
If it turns out that the situation warrants a punitive award, the strongest evidence that the victim’s rights were violated will depend on the facts of the case. An attorney could apply legal pressure as needed to gather evidence, which may include some combination of the following:
- Medical records;
- Photographs of any visible injuries;
- Security footage;
- Nursing logs;
- Standard operating procedures;
- Hiring practices;
- Eyewitness deposition; and
- Deposition from relevant experts.
Under What Circumstances Might Punitive Damages Be Available?
There are many circumstances when it might be advisable to seek a punitive award in a nursing home abuse or negligence case in St. Petersburg. Common examples of these scenarios include:
- The victim was physically restrained without just cause;
- The victim was physically beaten;
- The victim did not receive basic medical, nutritional, or hygienic needs for an extended period of time;
- The victim was sexually abused; or
- A caregiver financially exploited the victim.
Learn If You Are Entitled to Punitive Damages with an Attorney Today
If your family intends to bring a claim against a long-term care facility after they provided substandard care to an elderly relative, turn to Emerson Straw. Your loved one’s harms may only be part of a pattern of abuse, and a deterrent may be necessary. By seeking punitive damages in a St. Petersburg nursing home abuse case, you may help prevent these injuries to other residents. Our attorneys have more than 70 years of combined experience in legal practice.
We combine the knowledge and resources of a large firm with the personal touch of a small practice. Call or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in St. Petersburg.