West Palm Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
The decision to move an aging family member to a nursing home or assisted living facility can be one of the most difficult decisions that a family makes. The decision is made with the assumption that their loved one will be provided with the dedicated care and attention that they need and deserve.
Sadly, reports of abuse, neglect, and medical malpractice in these types of facilities are all too common, exposing vulnerable individuals to deplorable conditions that can result in serious injuries, illnesses, emotional trauma, and even death.
At Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck P.A., our West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyers understand firsthand how widespread this kind of abuse is in Florida and across the United States.
The state of Florida alone has more than 250,000 individuals living in care facilities, and that number is only likely to grow as medical care advances expand lifespans and the elderly population grows. As inexcusable as care facility abuse is, it’s important to know that victims and their families have legal options to take action against it.
By filing a lawsuit against the responsible staff member or care facility, you can protect your loved one and other residents from suffering further harm and send an important message to this industry that abuse and neglect will not go overlooked and unpunished.
If you or someone you love suspects that care facility abuse or neglect is occurring, don’t hesitate to call Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck P.A. today at (561) 689-8180. We’ll set up a free consultation with a skilled member of our legal team, so we can review your case and determine the appropriate actions to pursue just compensation.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Nursing Home Abuse Case
If you believe your loved one is suffering abuse from care facility staff members, you may have difficulty getting the evidence you need to protect them. Often residents aren’t able to act when they’re being abused. Many residents may be unaware that they are being abused. Even when the abuse is obvious, residents don’t always know how to seek help.
If you suspect that someone you know is being abused or neglected while living in a care facility, a competent lawyer can help hold the care facility and its employees accountable for the abuse or neglect.
Care facility abuse and negligence cases can be extremely complex. Seeking compensation may involve laws from numerous jurisdictions, detailed medical investigations, the use of expert witnesses, and considerable research. Lawyers have the resources, skills, knowledge, and experience needed to hold abusive caregivers accountable through the legal system.
To win a care facility abuse or negligence case, you must show that injuries were caused by negligence or an intentional abuse. The first step in your claim will be to investigate the potential abuse or negligence and to understand all the relevant facts.
An experienced attorney will be familiar with how to gather and present relevant evidence that supports your claims to the court. They will hold interviews to gather all the facts and get statements from potential witnesses such as the victim, family members, friends, other residents, and anyone who may have witnessed illegal behavior.
The lawyer may also interview former employees who can attest to the care facility’s practices and treatment of residents in general.
Attorneys can also review different documents for evidence of misconduct. This may include medical records, care facility inspections, reports made by care facility staff, and care facility financial records. These may support evidence of misconduct, including failure to provide for a loved one’s needs, violations of the law, theft, and more.
Once sufficient evidence has been gathered, your lawyer may file a complaint against the nursing home or assisted living facility to try settle your compensation claim out of court. If this fails or time is expiring to take a claim to court, your lawyer can help file a lawsuit on your behalf.
A skilled attorney will use the evidence they’ve gathered to craft a compelling argument detailing why you or a loved one are entitled to compensation. They will also handle communication on your behalf and keep you informed of your legal rights.
Care facility abuse claims are very difficult to win without legal counsel. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this process alone.
Why Choose Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck P.A. to Handle Your Nursing Home Abuse Case
At Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck P.A., our highly skilled and experienced lawyers are committed to serving Floridians by holding those who have wronged others accountable for their actions. For the past four decades, our firm has focused on seeking justice for victims in personal injury cases. Our highest priority will always be to get our clients the maximum possible compensation for their case.
In pursuit of this goal, we will clearly communicate with you often, keeping you in the loop, provide legal services tailored to your exact situation, and put our years of experience in settlement negotiations and litigation to work for you.
We have spent decades fighting for our client’s rights and will vigorously fight to get compensation for the wrongs that have been suffered by you or a loved one. We have made many multi-million dollar recoveries for our clients. Our firm’s track record speaks for itself.
Some of our notable settlement awards and jury verdicts can be found on our Results page, including a nearly six and a half million dollar verdict for a nursing home wrongful death claim.
At Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck P.A. we understand that one of our perspective clients’ biggest concerns is how they’ll pay for our legal services. Our firm operates on a contingency basis. This means that we will only be paid if we win your case. By using this contingency payment system, we give our clients to have access to world-class legal representation without worrying about money.
Care Facility Neglect and Abuse Cases We Handle
It can be very disconcerting and worrisome to suspect or know that your loved one is being abused and mistreated by the people that you entrusted their lives and well-being with. We aim to bring down these abusers and fight to end the mistreatment of care facility residents.
There are many forms of abuse and neglect that can be occurring at your loved one’s facility. Some of these are easy to spot, while others may be subtle and hard to see or to convince others that it’s happening.
Knowing the different types of abuse and neglect, and how to spot potential abuse will allow you to safeguard your loved ones and prevent abuse from occurring and or continuing. Let us take a brief look into some of the common types of abuse that can occur in care facilities.
Some reports have stated that as many as 33% of all care facilities in America have been cited for some type of abuse or mistreatment.
At Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck P.A., we want to help you take aggressive action against abusive or negligent care facilities and end this epidemic of mistreatment. As such, we are prepared to put our years of experience to work helping victims and their families in cases involving:
We never want to suspect that our loved ones could be in danger with people or a care facility that we entrust them with. Unfortunately, mistreatment that leads to abuse does occur. Physical abuse can be a wide variety of actions such as slapping, hitting with a closed fist, using a weapon or similar method of harm, pushing, kicking, and shoving, restraining improperly. One type of illegal physical abuse is using restraints on residents when not medically necessary or for too long.
This type of abuse can be easily noticed in some situations if you notice bruising, scratch marks, burns, broken bones, restraint marks around wrists or ankles, fear and intimidation of others, your loved one becoming withdrawn around staff, and unusual behavior when you start asking questions about their injuries.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
When people who should be providing care instead cause their patients emotional or psychological harm, their actions may qualify as emotional abuse. Unfortunately, this problem is quite common. It is also one of the most difficult forms of abuse to identify.
Emotional abuse may go unreported since it does not leave physical signs, unlike most other forms of abuse. Emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal emotional abuse may involve the following:
- Insulting the resident
- Making threats of physical harm
- Intimidating the resident
- Embarrassing the resident in front of others
- Talking down to the resident
- Unnecessarily blaming the resident
Non-verbal abuse may include:
- Refusing to speak with the resident
- Isolating the resident
- Restricting the resident’s access to food, water, and other necessities
- Withholding belongings from the resident
Emotional abuse can be very difficult to spot. Some signs that residents are being emotionally abused include the resident becoming withdrawn or quiet around staff, acting fearful or nervous, exhibiting unexplained behavioral changes, and developing nervous habits.
Of all forms of abuse, neglect is perhaps the most common and is not always intentionally malicious. Neglect occurs when care facility residents are routinely not receiving adequate care and nutrition.
Nursing home and assisted living facility neglect often falls into a few broad categories including, medical neglect, neglect of basic needs, and neglect of hygiene or sanitation.
Medical neglect can be very serious as it involves not adequately caring for a patient’s medical needs. For example, medical neglect could be failing to provide medications or allowing medical conditions, such as bed sores, to develop without treatment.
Neglect of hygiene or sanitation can be poor sanitary conditions in living areas, such as failing to help clean a patient’s room or sheets. In many cases, residents require assistance in maintaining their personal hygiene. A lack of care in this area would be considered neglect if the residents are not receiving the help they need to stay clean.
Malnutrition / Dehydration
This is a type of abuse that can be a form of neglect because it can result from inadequate amounts of food and water to maintain a resident’s health. The symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry Mouth
Dehydration can lead to other serious health problems, or even death, and should be investigated, even if you’re unsure that is the problem. It is best to be safe and is never too late to seek a professional opinion if you are concerned for a loved one.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall injuries can also be categorized under neglect sometimes. If slip and fall injuries occur frequently at your loved one’s care facility, however, the reason for them should be investigated. Some conditions make falls more likely:
- Poor balance
- Weakened muscles
- Medication changes
If facility staff members aren’t vigilant about watching and/or helping residents with greater fall risks, then they may be guilty of negligence.
If the care facility doesn’t provide accessibility equipment such wheelchairs, handlebars (showers), and rails for their residents that can prevent falls, they may also be held liable for negligence.
If warning signs that would notify residents to avoid areas that are wet (inside) or icy (outside) are not at the facility, not used, or not visible, and people fall, then the facility is guilty of negligence.
Theft or Fraud
This form of abuse can come in a variety of ways:
- Theft of money and valuables in the resident’s room
- Facility employee manipulation to gain power of attorney for the resident
- Facility employee manipulation to gain ownership of resident’s assets
- Theft of credit and debit cards
- Facility employee blackmail
- Theft of medication
In some cases, theft can be easily identified (personal belongings or medications), but others are usually well under way before they are noticed (financial and asset theft of any kind).
Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility Wrongful Death
When a care facility’s neglect or abuse results in a resident’s death, their loved ones may be eligible to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Care facilities are responsible for caring for their residents. When staff members abuse residents or fail to provide a safe environment for them, residents may die. Staff members, in turn, may attempt to hide the cause of death.
If you suspect your loved one died as a result of abuse or neglect in a care facility, an experienced lawyer can help investigate your case and pursue damages.
The residents in these facilities often cannot stand up for their own rights. People who take advantage of such a vulnerable population deserve to be held accountable. At Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck P.A., we have the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to pursue any care facility abuse case. We’re prepared to help you take legal action to defend the rights of those you care about.
Contact a West Palm Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for Help
If you or a loved one has been forced to endure mistreatment of any kind in a care facility, it is imperative to take legal action against those responsible for such inexcusable actions.
Learn how we can help you in this fight by contacting the West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyers of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck P.A. today at (561) 689-8180 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact us through our website’s live online chat feature. Whether you’re in West Palm Beach, or elsewhere in Florida, we’re committed to helping you seek justice for your loved ones.