Statutes in the state of Florida regarding nursing homes exist as a means to regulate the care and services provided by those facilities. The Florida Department of Health and the Department of Elder Affairs help to enforce these statutes throughout the state. It is important for residents and family members to realize that there are statutes of limitations when it comes to filing claims of nursing home abuse.
According to Florida Statute 400.022, residents of nursing homes have entitlement to a set of basic rights. Many times, lawsuits against nursing homes stem from some type of violation of these rights. Therefore, it is important that the residents and their family members know and understand the rights so that their family members do not become victims. If there is a violation, it is important to follow up with legal action.
Some of the rights entitled to residents of nursing homes include the following:
Florida Statute 400.023 states that residents of nursing homes have the right to pursue action in the event of a violation. If a violation caused the death of a resident, the family is able to file a wrongful death claim. The plaintiffs will need to establish that the defendant, the home in this case, owed a certain duty to the resident, and that they breached or violated that duty. They also need to prove that because of the duty breach, the resident suffered damage, injury, loss, or death.
There is a statute of limitations in the state of Florida, as per Florida Statute 429.296. This limits the time after an incident that the victim or their family may file a claim against the party that caused the harm. In Florida, there is a standard timeframe of two years to file a suit. However, in some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended. This can occur if there is intentional and fraudulent concealment and misrepresentation that prevents the residents or their families from filing. This can extend the limitations to four years, and up to a maximum of six.
The statute of limitations begins at one of three times. It can start when the harmful incident happened, when the victim or representatives of the victim learn that the injury was caused by a certain accident, or when the victim or family should have reasonably been aware that a specific incident was the cause of the injury.
Because of the statute of limitations, it is important that anyone who believes that they or a loved one has been a victim needs to act right away. If there is a chance that the resident could be in immediate danger, it is important to remove him or her from the facility as soon as possible. To report abuse, call the Florida Abuse Hotline from by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. They work with Adult Protective Services, the Department of Children and Families, and the Aging Network.