One of the differences between our law firm and other personal injury law firms is our depth of trial experience. Our legal staff includes lawyers who have trained under some of the best litigators in South Florida. Our lawyers have obtained numerous multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements.
In my twenty seven years of being a lawyer, the most shocking stories I have listened to are those involving the Nursing Home Negligence Cases. I have a vivid recollection from thirty years ago when I was in high school of watching a film on the poor care provided by nursing homes. The film was attempting to make us aware of the injuries caused by poor nursing care. It is gut wrenching when I hear the voices of people whose loved ones have been injured by careless nurses who are too busy on personal phone calls, gossiping with other staff members, or who have too many patients to care for to keep up with the needs of their patients. We put our trust in these homes and expect a level of professionalism and caring on the part of nurses who take an oath to give careful medical assistance to those who cannot care for themselves. Some of the nursing home managers and owners thinking is simply to fill another bed to receive another check each month without exercising enough concern for the care needed by the patients.
There are two important reasons to hire an Experienced Fort Lauderdale and Miami Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer and to bring a case against a careless Nursing Home. The first is to obtain money compensation against the Negligent Nursing Home. The second is to send a signal to the Negligent Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home that inattention and Negligent Nursing Care that injures our family members and loved ones will not be tolerated. You must stand up for the elderly and infirm patients that are unable to protect their own rights. The only way to prevent the same Nursing Home Abuse from injuring people in the future is to make a claim against a Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home that is negligent and hit them where it hurts: In their pocket book. Make the nursing home or their insurance company pays money so the owners police their nurses and hold them accountable for giving nursing assistance that is careless. The insurance company will demand the nursing home prove that they will be more careful or will refuse to insure them when they continue to have claims for Negligent Nursing Home care. The Nursing Home's Insurance rates will go up which will cost them additional money and cause the managers to demand more careful nursing care.
It is important to hire a Miami and Fort Lauderdale lawyer experienced specifically in handling Nursing Home Negligence cases. Nursing Home Negligence cases are handled in a similar manner to Medical Malpractice cases. Of utmost importance is to understand that the statute of limitations for bringing a Florida Nursing Home case is Two Years but can be extended under limited circumstances for some additional years if there was a legal reason why the negligence could not have been discovered or if there was an attempt to hide the fact that there was negligence by the nurse or the nursing home. It is not an easy task to get the Judge to agree to extend the two year time limit. The statute of limitation is a bar date. That means the case must be settled OR a lawsuit filed within the two year time frame. If it is not, or if your Miami and Fort Lauderdale lawyer files your lawsuit after one year, the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Negligence Defense attorney will file a legal document containing an "affirmative defense" and ask the judge to dismiss the case.
To handle the nursing home case properly, your lawyer needs all of the pertinent medical records from the nursing home or other medical facility to review. The Florida nursing home statute (Chapter 400) requires a "good faith investigation" prior to sending a notice of intent letter to the nursing home. Once the notice of intent letter is sent, there is a 75 day pre-suit period in which both sides can do limited discovery (gather information from each other). At the conclusion of the pre-suit period, a lawsuit can be filed. However, if the case involves a bedsore and is against a hospital or other non-nursing home facility, then it would fall under the medical malpractice statute (chapter 766) and require that an affidavit be attached to the notice of intent. The medical malpractice pre-suit period is 90 days. (As compared to the 75 days against a nursing home)
If the case involves a medical malpractice issue as mentioned above, the nursing home medical records must be reviewed by a nurse expert to determine whether the story contained in them paints a picture that displays nursing care below the standard of care in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale medical community. If the nurse who reviews the medical records is of the opinion that there was negligent nursing care that directly resulted in an injury to the patient, he or she will need to sign an affidavit explaining those facts and indicate that there was negligence on the hospital or other non-nursing facility that fell below the standard of care. The affidavit attesting to the negligence of the facility MUST be attached to the lawsuit filed in Court or the judge will dismiss the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Medical Malpractice Negligence Lawsuit. If two years have passed under the statute of limitations, your Miami and Fort Lauderdale Lawyer will not be allowed to file the lawsuit again.
Some of the Miami and Fort Lauderdale nursing home negligence cases that we are on the look out for where Nursing Home Negligence Care falls below the standard of care (where the nurse was not reasonably careful) are when your family member develops a bed sore. There are four stages of bed sores. The nurse must shift the patient who is unable to move themselves voluntarily every couple of hours to prevent the development of pressure sores. A Stage One Pressure sore is where the skin is starting to get bruised and shows a reddish color. Stage Four is the most painful bedsore where the sore can actually go all the way down to the bone. Once a bedsore develops it is very difficult to heal. A doctor has to do painful and repeated medical procedures called debridement to heal the sore.
Other Negligent Nursing Home situations to watch out for are falls. Patients with difficulty walking need to be carefully assisted in and out of wheelchairs or their bed. They must be supported by the nursing staff to prevent the patient from falling. Falls by elderly people or severely disabled people typically result in broken hips and other fractured bones. Repeated or multiple falls are a clear indication of Negligent Nursing Care. On occasion I have worked on cases where the Nursing Home staff has dropped the patient while shifting them from the bed to a wheel chair or from one bed to another.
Be on the look out for Nursing Home Negligence where the patient chokes to death when the nursing home was aware the patient had swallowing problems and gave food that was too bulky. Cases where the patient is found to be dehydrated or literally starving from malnutrition are other Nursing Home negligence situations you should be alert to.
It is important to visit your loved one in the Nursing Home as often as possible so the Nursing Home staff is aware that you are concerned for the safety of your loved one. If you suspect negligence, to facilitate a quick review of your case, it is helpful (if you can do it) to get a complete copy of the nursing home or medical facilities medical records.
The State of Florida will investigate Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Negligence which results in a severe injury or death to a patient. A case worker will be assigned from the department of health that licenses Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Homes who will issue a report documenting any negligence on the Florida Nursing Home.
Our Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers are skilled in handling cases against Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Homes that are Negligent. We will have a representative on our staff meet with you to go over your case at no charge. We only get paid if we win money damages for your loved one that was injured as a result of the negligence of the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home. It is important to take photos of the injuries or the bed sore or other injuries to assist us in presenting the case.
Our Miami and Fort Lauderdale Lawyers at Bernstein and Maryanoff (we have been in business as partners for twenty seven years) have the ability to represent your loved one for the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home's Negligence, only if we have our retainer agreement signed first. This is a requirement of the Florida Bar rules that govern lawyers. If the patient injured by the Nursing Home Negligence is coherent, they can sign the retainer agreement authorizing our office to handle the case. If they are not coherent, the person with a power of attorney must sign the retainer agreement. If there is no power of attorney, a proceeding to appoint a person to be the guardian over the person must begin allowing that guardian to sign our retainer agreement.
You should not attempt to deal with the insurance company adjuster who calls you to settle a Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Negligence case on your own. It is important that a lawyer skilled in handling Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Negligence cases and Florida Nursing Home Negligence cases in particular handle the case. Typically the adjuster on such cases is skilled in handling the case with an eye toward paying as little as possible or making no payment at all. One of the strongest factors that motivates the insurance company to pay the maximum money is their concern that an experienced Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer will file a lawsuit in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Dade-County Florida 11th Circuit Court house and require them to hire a defense attorney who will typically charge them hundreds of dollars an hour and thousands of dollars a month until the case is over.
There are legal requirements under Federal Medicare Statutes regarding money damage recovery against Negligent Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home's which requires the Federal Government to be reimbursed for money paid out toward the medical care necessitated by the Negligent Nursing Home. The Medicare program has a formula used to calculate the repayment required for the money paid. Typically the payment they make is reduced by the percentage of attorney fees the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer's firm charges. There is a further reduction based upon any additional cost money needed to recover money damages. Some examples are the nurse expert fees and the court filing fees. In the event a person dies related to their injuries in a Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Negligence case, the estate may get part of the money. There can be additional requirements under Federal Law for reimbursement of money paid by the Medicare program over a person's lifetime.
If a person dies as a result of a Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home's negligent care, there is a two year wrongful death time limit to bring the case in court under the statute of limitations in Florida. The heirs are entitled under the Florida wrongful death statute to recover the value of the emotional loss of their loved one. There are many factors involved in figuring this out but you should simply understand that it takes an experienced attorney in Miami and Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home negligence cases to obtain the maximum recovery for you and your family members who are entitled to recover money damages in these cases. Spouses are considered "heirs" under the Florida Wrongful Death Statute. Children under twenty five are also considered heirs.
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