Q&A with Attorney Jared Newman: Elder Negligence in Florida

Elder negligence is very common and can result in emotional harm, personal injury and wrongful death. 

Elder negligence is a form of elder abuse, which the World Health Organization defines as being “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.”  Sadly, many of the cases occur in assisted living homes and nursing homes that promise to care for the elderly.  Thankfully, there is a mechanism in place to help victims and their families fight back against this scourge and recover damages for the harm caused to the elderly.

We asked Jared Newman, personal injury partner at South Florida Law for his thoughts about the legal issues related to elder negligence and what to do should the issue affect you or a loved one.

Q: How common are elderly abuse cases?

A: Unfortunately, very common. 95% of elderly people in adult nursing homes report seeing or experiencing neglect against themselves or someone else in the home.   Also, the US Department of Health and Human Services says 31% of nursing homes were cited with neglect of the adults in their care – each at least five times between 2013 and 2017.  With Florida being a retirement destination, there are nearly 700 registered nursing homes here. So the national crisis is a real concern for us here in the Sunshine State.

Q: Why does this happen at such a large scale?

A: The main driver is that there is so much money to be made in the elder care industry, that the homes take on more people than they should.  Since many elderly residents struggle to communicate and defend their rights, a lot of operators take advantage.  They ignore elderly welfare and don’t invest in adequate facilities, nor hire qualified staff. Many homes fail to hire enough staff or they fall short in their obligation to train staff.

Q: What sort of cases typically fall under the elder negligence label?

A: Elder negligence and abuse cases, fit into five categories. The first are intentional torts where the elderly are deliberately physically or verbally attacked, which happens far more often than one would expect.  Secondly, are cases where the elderly are negligently deprived of basic human needs like water, food and exercise.  Next comes emotional neglect where there is harmful lack of the natural human interaction that all of us need to properly manage our moods and stay healthy mentally. Then there is hygiene neglect, where less mobile or otherwise incapable people under the care of a nursing home are left unwashed, are not assisted with going to the bathroom and then left for a time in a way that compromises their health and dignity.  Finally, but definitely not of least concern, are cases of medical negligence.  This could range from incorrectly administering medicine to performing the wrong medical procedure on an elderly patient.

“Many homes fail to hire enough staff or they fall short in their obligation to train staff.”

Q: What hope is there to resolve the situation?

A: There is hope.  Chapter 400 of Florida’s statute establishes the rules laid out by the state’s Department of Elder Affairs.  These rules outline clearly how to train staff, hire staff and administer an adult care facility.  Florida’s Adult Protective Services enforces these rules and investigates alleged violations.  Furthermore, personal injury lawyers with experience in elder negligence cases like myself can take aggressive legal action against elder care facilities that fall short in their duty of care.

Q: What should someone do if they suspect that they or a loved one are suffering from elder neglect?

A: As is true in all personal injury cases, call 9-1-1 in the case of an life-threatening emergency. Then call me, Jared Newman in the Personal Injury office at South Florida Law.   I’ll analyze your case, consider the evidence, then go after the care facility for its failure to uphold its duty of care.  If you have a case, there could be compensation based on the medical bills required to recover from the injuries caused.  We can also recover costs for mental health therapy, physical therapy, legal expenses, pain and suffering and more.  Our services are provided on a contingency basis – which means you don’t pay South Florida Law a dime unless we win your case.  No win no fee.

Our elders deserve respect and deserve to live in dignity. At South Florida Law, PLLC we take elder negligence cases very seriously. Are you or a loved one suffering under the care of a negligent or abusive caretaker?  Call us today on (954) 900-8885 or complete this form for us to evaluate your case and fight back on your behalf.

Jared Newman, Esq. is a seasoned attorney at South Florida Law, with an emphasis in Personal Injury Law. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from the University of Florida. Mr. Newman attended and received his Juris Doctorate from the South Houston College of Law.

Mr. Newman understands insurance companies tactics and has the experience to counter them. This background allows South Florida law to fight smart against the Big Insurance Companies. If necessary, we are prepared to meet insurance companies in court and recover the compensation you deserve.