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Although it seems straightforward, it can sometimes be difficult to define wrongful death. The simple wrongful death definition is when someone is killed or dies due to someone else’s misconduct or negligence, it is considered a “wrongful death.” This means that the surviving family of the person who died may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the person responsible. However, there are factors that must be present in order for someone to be found liable in a wrongful death claim. According to the Centers for Disease Control, accidents were the third leading cause of death in Florida in 2016 and firearm deaths accounted for 2,704 of the deaths in the state that year. These wrongful death statistics indicate how common claims may be after someone dies, especially if they are young.

Wrongful Death

Requirements of Defining a Wrongful Death Claim

There are some elements that must be present in order to seek and define a wrongful death claim, according to wrongful death attorneys in Florida. Of course, the first element is that someone must have died and this death must have been caused by someone else’s negligence. A wrongful death action may also be warranted if the person who caused the death intended to harm someone else, such as in the case of a murder. In addition, family members must be suffering monetary injury due to the death and a personal representative may need to be appointed as part of the estate of the person who has passed away.

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Florida’s state nursing home regulations are in place because residents of these facilities are among the most vulnerable in our population.state regulations for nursing homes

Although it might seem that providing high-quality care and treating elderly nursing home patients with dignity would be something facilities would inherently prioritize their safety on moral principles, the unfortunate reality is that far too many don’t. Even with the laws and regulations in place, patients still fall through the cracks when they aren’t consistently enforced or when penalties have no teeth. Criminal statutes against elder abuse were always in place, but with nursing home rights and standards also codified Chapter 400 of Florida Statutes, state authorities are given the power to impose fines on nursing homes that fail to follow the law and put patients at risk – even if no one was actually harmed by the violation. However, serious questions regarding the effectiveness of these state regulations for nursing homes have been raised.

Why Florida State Regulations for Nursing Homes May Not Go Far Enough

Many fines for regulatory breaches by nursing homes are ultimately negotiated down to a much lower sum. Most total just a few thousand dollars, making the penalty ineffective as an incentive to follow the law.  Continue reading →

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Identifying Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect during holidays may not be a pleasant thought when planning on visiting a loved one in a skilled nursing facility. It might seem such unpleasant observations/ topics shouldn’t mar what is supposed to be a festive time.nursing home neglect during holidays

Still, our Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury attorneys would urge loved ones to consider at least taking a moment to learn about potential red flags, given that:

  • Residents get more visitors over the holidays and for longer, so issues you may not have noticed before may become more glaring;
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Many times after a loved one is injures or dies as a result of nursing home neglect or negligence, our South Florida nursing home injury lawyers are asked how to get out of hospital medical bills. We have heard of instances wherein nursing home administrators have given families misleading or false information about recovering compensation for these bills.how to get out of hospital medical bills

Once, a nursing home administrator told the family of a patient who died of neglect that it would be a “waste of time” to file a lawsuit against them for medical bills because anything they won would go back to Medicaid and/ or Medicare (or whatever health insurer covered the patient prior to death). This is not so, though it’s impossible to say whether this advice was intentionally misleading or the result of a misunderstanding. When you ask “How to get out of hospital medical bills,”  realize that some of those bills have already been covered by the health care insurer. Usually, nursing home patients are covered by Medicaid, a health care plan for people in poverty, as opposed to Medicare, a federal health insurance program for older Americans that does not provide coverage for long-term care, only short stints between a hospital stay and returning home.

What this administrator was likely referring to is something called “subrogation.” This is a type of insurance principle, spelled out specifically with regard to Medicaid in F.S. 409.910, that bars plaintiffs (those seeking compensation) from “double-dipping,” or collecting from two different payers for a single injury. So if Medicaid foots most of the bill for your loved one’s nursing home injuries, you sue the nursing home for negligence that caused those injuries,  Medicaid’s contribution to those medical bills will need to be repaid from whatever amount you’ve been awarded for medical bills as part of the settlement or verdict. And of course, there may be some medical expenses you still paid out-of-pocket. Continue reading →

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If your loved one is residing in an assisted care or skilled nursing facility in South Florida, be mindful of the fact that a holiday nursing home accident in Fort Lauderdale could spell grave difficulties in 2019.holiday nursing home accident Fort Lauderdale

The winter holidays are often one of the best times for nursing home residents, frequently packed with parties, decorations, family visits and outings – maybe even the occasional visits home for special holiday celebrations. However, patients and residents can also be at heightened risk for injuries resulting from a fall, medication errors, improper lifting, carelessness in feeding/ observing dietary restrictions, fire hazards, negligence in transport, fewer physician hours (or substitute physicians filling in) and lower staffing (especially at facilities that can scarcely afford fewer workers on the floor as it is). In some instances, the steady stream of visitors in and out caused nursing home staffers not to carefully vet everyone entering or exiting – leading to patients either wandering out dangerously on their own or allowing potentially predatory visitors in who shouldn’t be.

Although these potential perils exist in nursing homes year-round, the holidays tend to be a particularly hectic time. Most of the time, a holiday nursing home accident could have been prevented with a little extra care and planning – something skilled nursing facility owners and medical staff have a responsibility to provide when such incidents are reasonably foreseeable.

Scheduling Problems, Short Staffing, Can Lead to Holiday Nursing Home Accident in Fort Lauderdale Continue reading →

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Nursing home care is often viewed as a sort of moral obligation, a duty to one’s elders. Still, absent federal and state regulations for nursing homes, this care can fall short, leaving the ill and elderly vulnerable to neglect and abuse. In fact, it was widespread nursing home abuse and neglect in the 1980s that led to the federal  Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987. state regulations for nursing homes Florida

Nursing homes that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid (which is virtually all of them) are required at minimum to follow federal nursing home standards. However, state regulations for nursing homes, such as those adopted by Florida, must also be followed if facilities want to continue to receive this funding.

Florida State Regulations for Nursing Homes

Continue reading →

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Recently the family of a Leesburg man who died of sepsis, allegedly developed after negligence on the part of the assisted living home staff, filed a Florida nursing home wrongful death lawsuit against the facility. Decedent’s estate alleges facility owners failed to properly fund it, in turn improperly staffing the site and leaving residents vulnerable to inadequate supervision and poor care, in this case resulting in a fatal sepsis infection. Florida nursing home wrongful death lawsuit

Sepsis is a serious and often fatal blood infection. There are many infections that can lead to sepsis, especially in someone who is elderly. Within Florida nursing home wrongful death lawsuits, it’s often indicated to be a result of:

  • Catheter use;
  • Bed sores/ open wounds;
  • IV use;
  • Poor hygiene.

Although sepsis is often treatable, it must be identified and addressed swiftly. Failure to do so often results in wrongful death.

A recent report from Kaiser Health News reveals that while no one tracks sepsis cases close enough to know how often they spiral into severe infections that become fatal, the human and financial toll is believed to be enormous. A federal analysis conducted by Definitive Healthcare (a private health care information company) ascertained that between 2014 and 2016, an estimated 25,000 nursing home patients a year suffer from sepsis, are transferred to hospitals and ultimately die. This amounts to a cost of $2 billion a year. Continue reading →

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Florida nursing home arbitration agreements have become increasingly the norm for most for-profit centers that care for the aging, making them a central point of contention in many nursing home injury and wrongful death lawsuits. The law is not exactly settled, but a few Florida Supreme Court decisions in recent years have provided guidance upon which many Palm Beach injury lawyers have relied in determining whether it’s worth fighting to invalidate an arbitration agreement or instead work within that system. Florida nursing home arbitration agreement attorney

Arbitration agreements fall under contract law, which as long as both parties are able, willing and not coerced or defrauded, have almost always been ruled valid. However in recent years, Palm Beach injury attorneys have noted a number of reasons Florida nursing home arbitration agreements are problematic. Among those:

  • Residents must choose between their legal rights and proper care.
  • Residents may not always be fully aware of what they are signing or the fact that the arbitration process usually favors nursing homes.
  • Arbitration allows nursing homes to keep shameful acts and incidents out of the public eye.
  • Discovering the outcome of an arbitration is tough if not impossible, as they are confidential and no database stores them.

In general, our Palm Beach nursing home injury and wrongful death lawyers don’t recommend signing an arbitration agreement if it can be avoided. If a client has one in place in a nursing home abuse case, we’ll generally explore our options to determine if there is a way to invalidate that agreement.  Continue reading →

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The potential for an accident resulting in serious injury is possible anytime a nursing home patient is lifted, repositioned or transferred, whether manually by staffers or via a mechanical lift. Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury lawyers have seen case after case where an immobile nursing home patient has suffered serious and sometimes fatal outcomes as a result of nursing homes and staffers that were negligent in their moving or patients or in their poor planning in doing so. Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury lawyer

Lifting and transferring mishaps occur every day in Florida – even though federal regulators have clear guidelines and numerous healthcare providers know they need to follow them. One of the biggest problems is manual handling of patients, which most health care personnel recognize as problematic. Nonetheless, these problems are ongoing, sometimes because facilities don’t invest in adequate pieces of proper equipment to alleviate the need for nursing home aides and nurses to move patients themselves. Lack of training too is also too often a problem.

Fort Lauerdale nursing home injury lawyer complaints have focused on injuries during transfers and lifts most especially at times involving:

  • Transfers to and from bed to chair, chair to toilet, chair to chair or car to chair;
  • Transfer to and from chair to stretcher;
  • Bed repositioning (side to side/ up or down);
  • Chair repositioning;
  • Patient transfer from sitting to standing or standing to sitting;
  • Weighing;
  • Bathtub, shower, toilet activities.

Continue reading →

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The decision place a loved one in an assisted living or nursing home facility is a difficult one with many factors to weigh. When choosing a nursing home in Fort Lauderdale, our South Florida injury attorneys advise not overlooking the facility’s smoking policy and enforcement.Choosing a nursing home in Fort Lauderdale

Recently, The Sun Sentinel reported two nursing home resident injuries at a facility in Plantation following a fire that broke out after a resident was allegedly smoking in his bed. The man, in his 70s, was badly burned and had to be flown to a trauma center burn unit in Miami. His roommate suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation, as did a staff nurse, both treated at a closer Broward County hospital. Some 55 other patients in that wing of the facility had to be evacuated, though were allowed to return a short time later.

This may seem like a “freak accident,” but the reality is nursing home injuries stemming from failure to supervise smoking patients is an ongoing problem that has cropped up repeatedly in Florida and other states. It’s a factor you should especially consider when choosing a nursing home in Fort Lauderdale if your loved one is a smoker or uses electronic cigarettes or vaping devices.

Smoking Standards to Understand When Choosing a Nursing Home in Fort Lauderdale Continue reading →

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