Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is a difficult decision to make. You may have taken your time in selecting the appropriate assisted care facility that you felt would provide the best care for your elderly family member. However, nursing home abuse and neglect occurs at some of the better facilities and occasionally negligence by the nursing home can lead to the resident’s death. When nursing home residents are neglected, it can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, bed sores and unmet needs. Florida law protects the rights of nursing home residents and allows the surviving family members to pursue wrongful death damages.
According to Florida Statutes, any resident whose legal rights are violated can bring an action against the negligent party. A guardian, personal representative of the resident’s estate or organization acting on behalf of the resident can bring the action. If a claim is being made that negligence caused the death of the resident, the person filing the claim can pursue survival damages or wrongful death damages. Actions can be filed in any court of competent jurisdiction, in order to recover actual damages and punitive damages, when applicable.
To prove that a violation of the resident’s rights or negligence ultimately caused the death of the resident, the plaintiff will have to show that:
- The defendant owed a duty to the resident
The duty was breached
The breach of duty was a legal cause of loss, injury, death or damage to the resident
Loss, injury, death or damage to the resident resulted from the breach
If punitive damages, which are awarded to reform or deter the defendant from participating in the same action that harmed the plaintiff or plaintiff’s family member, are available in the wrongful death case, the amount of damages must be considered reasonable “in light of the actual harm suffered by the resident and the egregiousness of the conduct that caused the actual harm to the resident.”
The resident’s legal representative must provide a copy of any complaint alleging a violation of the resident’s rights to the Agency for Health Care Administration at the time of filing the initial complaint with the county clerk of court.
Contact David Benenfeld at [number type=”1″] if your family member’s death was caused by negligence of the nursing home facility. Mr. Benenfeld is an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney who can help you and your family recover wrongful death damages. Contact our offices today to see how he may be able to provide legal assistance.