Contact Our Team Today:

What is the Role of an Attorney in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

Placing a loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult decision, but it's often made with the hope that they will receive the care and respect they deserve. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a disturbing reality for many seniors. 

If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected, navigating the legal system to seek justice can feel overwhelming. This is where an experienced elder abuse attorney becomes invaluable.

Understanding Nursing Home Abuse

It is always difficult to see a loved one suffering but at what point is that suffering considered abuse? The older our bodies get, the more health issues we are likely to see but issues caused by others neglecting or intentionally harming their elderly patients is something else entirely. Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including:

  • Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, pushing, or other forms of physical harm.
  • Emotional Abuse: Yelling, humiliation, threats, or intimidation.
  • Sexual Abuse: Any unwanted sexual contact or harassment.
  • Neglect: Failing to provide basic needs like food, water, hygiene, or medication.
  • Financial Abuse: Misusing a resident's money or belongings.

The signs of nursing home abuse can be subtle, so it's important to be vigilant. Look for changes in your loved one's behavior, physical appearance, or emotional well-being. Some red flags include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or broken bones
  • Withdrawal or depression
  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Unsanitary living conditions

Why You Need an Attorney

While the emotional toll of nursing home abuse is significant, the legal complexities can be even more daunting. Navigating this unfamiliar landscape on your own might seem like a good idea in the beginning, but the legal process is long and intricate if you do not have experience with these types of cases. There are several ways that an experienced elder abuse attorney can help you with your nursing home abuse case. 

Gathering Evidence

Building a strong case requires gathering evidence of abuse. Oftentimes, an elderly person’s testimony alone is not enough to convict. Other times your loved one might not be able to testify at all, whether because of problems with their speech, memory, or something else. An attorney will know how to:

  • Review Medical Records: These can reveal signs of neglect or injuries
  • Interview Witnesses: Staff members, other residents, or family members may have valuable information
  • Collect Photographic Evidence: This can document injuries or unsanitary conditions

Understanding Complex Laws

The legal landscape surrounding elder abuse can be a complex labyrinth, with state-specific regulations and federal guidelines creating a maze for anyone unfamiliar with the system. Florida has its own intricate web of laws governing elder abuse and nursing home care.  Understanding these complexities is crucial to building a strong case for your loved one.

Florida Statute Chapter 415.102 defines "abuse" as any intentional or negligent act or omission by a caregiver or household member that causes harm. This harm can be physical, emotional, or financial. An attorney will have a clear grasp of these definitions and more as well as how they apply to the specific circumstances of your loved one's situation.

Negotiating with the Nursing Home

While litigation can be a powerful tool, Steve Watrel Elder Abuse Attorney also prioritizes exploring alternative solutions through negotiation with the nursing home. After all, the foundation for successful negotiation lies in a meticulously built case. 

Our attorneys will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and analyze medical records to document the abuse and its impact on your loved one to best demonstrate the seriousness of the situation and strengthen our bargaining position.

Before entering negotiations, we will work with you to define your desired outcome. This could involve financial compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, or emotional distress, or a change in care plan to ensure your loved one's safety and well-being going forward.  Having clear goals guides the negotiation process and ensures we fight for what truly matters to you and your family.

Representing You in Court

If a fair resolution cannot be reached, one of our experienced elder abuse attorneys will represent you in court. This includes filing a lawsuit, presenting evidence, and negotiating a settlement or arguing your case before a judge or jury. 

Court is an intimidating place, especially for those not experienced in the courtroom. Going into these proceedings without legal representation is not recommended in any kind of case but especially when you are seeking something as important as justice for an abused loved one. 

Protecting Your Loved One

It’s important to keep in mind that the first priority for you, your case, and any potential legal team should be defending the rights and well-being of the victim. The best way to ensure that you are doing just that is by consulting with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. 

An attorney can help ensure your loved one's safety by getting them removed from an abusive environment and advocating for their best interests in settlement negotiations or in court. They can also help you navigate options for alternative care in the interim and after. 

Holding the Facility Accountable

When negotiation fails to achieve a just resolution, you need an attorney who is prepared to take decisive legal action. At Steve Watrel Elder Abuse Attorneys, we understand the importance of holding negligent nursing homes accountable for their actions. 

A lawsuit can secure financial compensation for the harm your loved one endured. This compensation can cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and potentially punitive damages to deter future abuse. Holding the facility financially responsible for its actions and deter future abuse. This can provide a sense of closure for you and your family, while also potentially helping to protect other residents.

What to Look for in an Attorney

Deciding on the right attorney for you and your loved one is a huge decision and could make or break your case. When choosing an elder abuse attorney, look for someone with:

  • Experience in Handling Nursing Home Abuse Cases: Experience specific to elder abuse is crucial, as these cases often involve complex legal and medical issues.
  • A Track Record of Success: Ask about the attorney's past results in similar cases. This can give you an idea of their ability to navigate the legal system and achieve positive outcomes.
  • Compassion and Understanding: Working with families of abuse victims requires sensitivity and a genuine understanding of the emotional toll such situations take.
  • Clear Communication: Look for an attorney who clearly explains the legal process and keeps you informed throughout the case.

Steve Watrel Elder Abuse Attorney: Fighting for Your Loved Ones

At Steve Watrel Elder Abuse Attorney, we understand the devastating impact of nursing home abuse. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of seniors and holding negligent facilities accountable. We offer compassionate and experienced legal representation to families throughout Jacksonville and surrounding areas.

If you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We will help you understand your legal options and guide you through the process of seeking justice.

Share This Story

If you find this topic intriguing, it is likely that your friends will too! Why not share this story on your social media platforms?

Need Help? Contact Steve.

Steve Watrel, P.A. is the only accident and injury law attorney that has been personally fighting against nursing home abuse for 30 years in Jacksonville. Contact us and see the difference today.

136 East Bay St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202
uploadmagnifiercrossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram