In 1964, almost a third of the U.S. population was under the age of 18. The first of these post-World War II ‘baby boomers’ began turning 65 in 2011, and as they grow older, they present challenges in terms of how to care for this aging population. According to U.S. Census reports, Americans age 85 and older are currently the fastest growing segment of the population, and nursing homes have become an increasingly viable option for many families. Unfortunately, as the number of people living in nursing homes has risen, so have cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. Under Florida law, this type of abuse is considered assault, and it’s punishable by heavy fines as well as jail time. Unfortunately, getting victims of elder abuse to speak up can be a challenge. Here’s what you need to know about nursing home abuse and neglect, and the legal remedies that may be available.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Elder abuse and neglect is defined as intentional actions that cause harm or the threat of harm to elderly individuals. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), as part of the U.S. Administration on Aging, researches, reports, and raises awareness on the following types of nursing home abuses:
- Physical abuse;
- Sexual abuse;
- Emotional or psychological abuse;
- Abandonment; and
- Financial and material exploitation.
Unfortunately, due to lack of reporting, it’s hard to detect the actual size of the problem. Residents of nursing homes may be reluctant to talk about any mistreatment they may be suffering due to fear of reprisals, fear of being forced to leave the nursing home, as well as feelings of shame regarding the abuse. The most recent studies done by the NCEA estimate that approximately 1 in 10 people in nursing homes have suffered some type of abuse in the past year.
Help for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
There is help available to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Under Title 46 of the Florida Revised Statutes, Section 825.102 classifies neglect and abuse of the elderly as a felony assault. Under this statute, criminal abuse or neglect of the elderly is defined as:
- Intentional infliction of harm;
- Failure or omission in providing basic care and treatment; and/or
- Knowingly encouraging another person to act in such as way that would cause injury or harm to an elderly person.
Those accused of engaging in this type of crime can be charged with a felony. Depending on the circumstances and the degree of home caused, abusers could be facing heavy fines and mandatory jail times of 5 years or more.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys immediately. Nursing home abuse can cause serious damage physically, emotionally, and financially. At Hogan Frick, we’ll help you build a case against the nursing home, and help your loved one receive compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered. Don’t delay; with offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, our attorneys will fight for your loved ones rights. Reach out to us today for help.