While most nursing homes in Florida provide top-notch care for their residents, the growing number of neglect and abuse cases of the elderly continues to rise in recent years. Although many forms of neglect and abuse can go unnoticed or unreported, fractures and broken bones could be a telling sign, which means the nursing home and staff could be held liable for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages. Having an experienced lawyer investigate your elder abuse claim may be an important step to hold at-fault parties liable for damages sustained by your loved one.
If you or your loved one suffered from a fracture, broken bone, or any other significant injury at a nursing home, contact the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today to schedule a no-cost, initial claim evaluation. Our firm has more than four decades of combined legal experience, which includes cases involving elder abuse-and-claims in the Jupiter area and beyond (by appointment only). Our award-winning attorneys are active members of the community and we have received more than 600 five-star reviews from our past clients.
Below we will discuss how nursing homes are legally required to maintain certain standards of care for its residents and how they can be held liable for serious injuries such as fractures and broken bones. It is important to learn your legal rights from a licensed attorney before settling for a quick, low-ball settlement offer from the insurance company.
Detecting Nursing Home Abuse
When we leave our loved ones in the hands of a nursing home staff, we expect them to be safe and protected from harm and abuse. Since many elderly residents may need assistance performing daily activities such as getting in and out of bed, bathing, getting dressed, and exercising, they may be more prone to slips, trips, and falls, which can lead to fractures and broken bones. However, Florida Statute 400.011 states that it is the responsibility of the nursing home to properly train its staff to avoid these types of accidents and injuries.
Most bone breaks and fractures are the result of trauma, which means a high impact blow that puts too much pressure on the bone. Sadly, when these accidents happen at a nursing home, it is usually the result of negligence by the caretaker or staff responsible for keeping the elder victim safe. When an elderly victim suffers a fracture or broken bone, there is a strong possibility it was caused by an unreported traumatic event, such as a fall, physical assault, or some other form of abuse.
While accusing someone of nursing home abuse is a serious issue, it can be difficult without knowing what signs to look for. Having a knowledgeable attorney investigate your situation is highly recommended for this type of matter.
It is important to understand that nursing home staff members are known for covering up signs of abuse. Some common signs of nursing home abuse may include:
- Unexplained difficulty getting in and out of bed
- Mobility issues with arms, legs, and feet
- Unexplained difficulty sitting, standing, or walking
- Ripped or torn clothing
- Unexplained cuts, scrapes, or bruises
- Personality changes and mood swings
- Unexplained shyness, especially when certain staff members are present
Besides suffering from physical, mental, and emotional abuse, residents can also suffer from neglect. When an elderly resident is neglected, he or she may be more prone to sustaining a serious injury such as a bone break or fracture.
Some signs of neglect may include:
- Significant weight loss
- Bed sores
- Difficulty eating
- Filthy clothing and/or bedding
- Poor living conditions
Since elderly bones are more brittle when compared to younger bones, it means that they are less resistant to high impact trauma. Therefore, it is possible to suffer from a fracture or bone break without the presence of neglect or abuse. However, if you notice or experience any of the nursing home abuse signs listed above and your loved one suffered a fracture or broken bone, we recommend contacting a lawyer immediately.
Common Fractures Found in Nursing Facilities
Some of the more common fractures that may result from nursing home abuse or neglect are:
- Wrist and ankle fractures
- Femur fractures
- Hip fractures
- Pelvic fractures
- Back and vertebrae fractures
- Skull fractures
Although no two fractures are the same, the most common types of fractures are:
Stress fractures – Stress fractures are often referred to as hairline fractures because they are tiny breaks in the bone, but they can sometimes lead to much larger breaks, if gone undetected. These fractures are more common in the legs and feet and are caused by repetitive motion. Nursing home staff should be monitoring residents for stress fractures by checking for signs of unexplained limping, pain, swelling, tenderness, or redness in the lower extremities.
Compression fractures – This type of fracture is unexpected and unrelated to trauma. People with frail bones or osteoporosis may be more prone to compression fractures. However, a thorough investigation of the x-rays may be able to determine whether trauma played a role in the break. If your elderly abuse claim is valid, an experienced lawyer may be able to hire a medical expert witness to verify the reason for the break.
Traumatic fractures – As people age, their balance and coordination diminish. They are more likely to suffer from a serious slip and fall accident. When an elderly patient falls unexpectedly, blunt force trauma to the bone can create what is referred to as a traumatic fracture. When a traumatic fracture goes unreported, the nursing home and its staff could be held liable for medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other damages related to the incident.
Inquire With a Lawyer You Can Trust
If you need to speak to a trustworthy lawyer about elder abuse-and-claims, contact the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today. We offer free legal advice during your initial claim evaluation. If we determine that your claim has merit, we can help you seek the full and fair amount of compensation you may deserve.
Our dedicated lawyers aim to protect the rights of the injured in Palm Beach County and throughout the state of Florida (by appointment only). This includes helping the elderly from abusive situations so that they can pursue the fair amount of compensation they need for a healthy recovery.
Call (561) 800-8000 to speak to a licensed lawyer about your situation. Your information is always kept completely confidential.