Blog posts of '2022' 'March'

Proposal to change nursing home standards may endanger residents

In Miami and across Florida, many families are confronted with the difficult decision as to when they may need to place an elderly or infirm loved one in a nursing home. This is an emotional, personal and financial challenge that is rarely easy. However, if the facility is clean, the necessary medical and personal care is provided and there is a competent and attentive staff, it can be a positive for everyone. In recent years, nursing home abuse and neglect has been discussed. This is a frequent problem that no one should endure. In many cases, a victimized nursing home resident and their family wants to pursue a claim after an incident or incidents have occurred. In others, potential changes could set the stage for wrongdoing and families should be aware of them.

Staffing shortages spark attempt to reduce standards in nursing homes

If a recently proposed bill becomes law, Florida nursing home staffing requirements will be reduced. As the law currently stands, facilities that are short-staffed cannot admit new residents. The new law would change that and let new residents be admitted regardless of the number of staff available. In addition, the way in which the numbers of employees are calculated would change. Those who support the bill say this is necessary due to the ongoing staffing shortages. People advocating for patient safety disagree believing that the standard of care would decrease with less oversight into how many people must be on staff for the nursing home to operate safely.

One concern that is being voiced is that lobbyists for nursing home owners played a major role in the language of the bill. The law strengthening the number of staff needed for facilities to comply was passed in 2001. According to researchers, there is a correlation between the care residents are given and the number of trained staff members at the nursing home. This is not limited to nurses. Nursing assistants who do much of the one-on-one work with residents are vital to patient care. Statistically, 85% of facilities were forced to limit how many people they admitted in the middle of January due to an inability to meet the staffing standards.

Abuse and neglect can happen without warning in nursing homes

A key to nursing home residents receiving the proper care and protection is often based on staffing. If the state does move forward with the attempt to make the rules more flexible, it could place vulnerable people in jeopardy. Whether that results in them suffering injuries and trauma through abuse; they are deprived of the medication, exercise and companionship they need; or they are simply not given their nutrition in a timely manner, all can result in problems that lead to damage and potentially even death.

There are common signs of nursing home neglect and abuse that should be known. If people are declining in health for no justifiable reason, they have unexplained bruises, are acting withdrawn or outright claim they are being mistreated, it is imperative that family members know what steps to take. Talking to those who are experienced in these types of cases can be helpful with holding facilities accountable and protecting relatives who are in nursing homes.

What happens after a rideshare accident?

For the better part of the last decade, we have all used ridesharing apps, like Uber and Lyft. Indeed, in some cities, there are even more rideshare options, and they all make getting around much, much easier. We no longer have to call or hail a cab. Instead, we pull out our phones and within a few minutes, a car is waiting. But, what happens after a rideshare car accident?

Riders and passengers

For most rideshare applications, like Uber and Lyft, riders are covered by those company’s insurance. This is in addition to the drivers own commercial insurance, if they carry separate insurance. Though, while there is some disagreement about the application’s direct liability for car accidents, they usually indemnify their drivers. The key is that, unless the passenger or rider did something specific to cause the accident, they do not have to worry about liability, even if the driver caused the car accident. And, they will also not have to worry about paying their own expenses, but an attorney may be needed to ensure that outcome. After all, no one wants to pay, if they can avoid it, especially insurance companies and large corporations.

What about non-riders?

A rideshare car accident does not just affect the driver and their riders, it also affects the person that is impacted, which could be another vehicle or pedestrian. For these people, liability becomes a bit trickier. For one, while an app driver is covered by the app’s commercial liability insurance when they have a passenger, the in-between time is often seen as off-the-clock for those insurance carriers. This in-between time could be when they are on their way to a ride or driving around looking for a ride.

Accidents during the in-between time

When the commercial insurance policy is not in effect, then liability is the same as any other car accident. This means, one will need to gather the same information, like taking photographs, saving dashboard camera footage, getting witnesses, collecting police reports, etc. And, car accident victims will likely need to sue the driver’s personal insurance carriers.

Not covered by personal insurance

To make matters worse, some Miami, Florida, personal driver’s insurance policies will try to avoid liability, if they determine that the accident occurred while their driver was operating their vehicle for commercial purposes. If this is the case, the car accident victims will need to sue the driver directly and use their own uninsured policies to cover them in the interim.

Personal injury and the statute of limitations

Sustaining an injury, due to the fault of someone else, can be an extremely frustrating experience. In addition to the physical pain you suffer, it can take a toll on your emotional and financial health, affecting every facet of your life. Fortunately, Florida provides you a means of redressing the wrong done to you – a personal injury lawsuit – but there are limitations of which you must be aware.

What is the statute of limitations?

Negligence is a common occurrence which gives rise to a personal injury lawsuit. Car accidents, for example, happen when a driver is not paying close enough attention to what they’re doing. They make a mistake, a collision results, and you are injured in the process. Florida gives you the right to sue the negligent party, so that you can be made whole again.

But at the same time Florida gives you the right to file a personal injury lawsuit, it also places a time limit on your ability to file that suit – this is the statute of limitations. For most personal injury lawsuits, that time limit is four years. If you do not file your suit within four years from the date of the accident, you lose the right to sue forever.

Other limitation considerations

The statute of limitations is not a one-size-fits-all law. While most personal injury cases have four years, actions for medical malpractice and wrongful death only have two years. And there are circumstantial factors which may impact the timing of when that countdown officially begins. Beyond the statute of limitations itself, every case requires an investigation. Evidence must be collected and preserved as soon as possible, so that your case is as strong as it can be made. In short, you don’t want to wait any longer than necessary, since time is a real enemy you must face.