Tampa Nursing Home Liability for Residents Leaving Premises

When someone you love lives in a nursing home, you rely on the nursing home to keep the resident safe. Part of providing competent care is ensuring that residents don’t elope or wander away from the facility. If an elopement occurs, the results can be catastrophic.

Nursing home injuries that result from elopement may be related to negligence on the part of the nursing home. If this is the case, you may have grounds for recovery under Florida law. Here are a few considerations to make regarding Tampa nursing home liability for elopement.

Common Elopement Injuries

When a nursing home resident wanders away from a care facility, there are a variety of injuries that can occur. A resident can suffer from exposure to the elements. They may experience a fall that can cause broken bones or sprains. A resident may wander into traffic. They may experience dehydration, cold, overheating or hunger.

In addition to these physical injuries, a resident that wanders from a nursing home can suffer emotionally as well. They may be scared. They might feel panic. Family members may be equally worried as they wait for word about their loved one.

A Nursing Home Must Take Reasonable Care of Its Residents

A nursing home is in the very business of providing safe care for adults. That means, they owe a duty to their residents under the laws of Tampa and all of Florida. Their duty is to provide residents with reasonable care. That means identifying ways that residents can suffer harm if the nursing home doesn’t use enough care.

Under Florida law, negligence occurs when a nursing home doesn’t use enough care to provide reasonable services. Put another way; negligence is a lack of care. Even if a nursing home employee doesn’t purposefully intend to cause harm, if the nursing home fails to provide services in a way that’s calculated to provide reasonable care for residents, they’ve acted negligently.

A nursing home isn’t necessarily liable anytime a resident leaves a care facility. Rather, the nursing home must have failed in some way to provide care that would be considered reasonable.

There Must Be Harm to Prove Liability

In addition to the requirement that a nursing home acts negligently, the negligence must also cause harm. That is, the resident must suffer some damage because of the nursing home’s policies or actions. This requirement is called causation. The negligence must be the cause of the resident’s harm.

Ways a Nursing Home May Be Negligent

There are a variety of different ways that a nursing home may act negligently in a way that hurts a patient. More than one of these problems may contribute to a resident’s elopement. Some of these negligent behaviors include:

Failing to evaluate a resident for risk

A resident may not receive the supervision they need because their care facility doesn’t adequately determine the resident’s risk. Without this evaluation, they may not have the oversight the resident needs to keep them safe.

Improper training

Each care facility needs to train its employees properly. This training should be tailored appropriately to ensure employees are capable of taking care of residents, especially those that present specific risks. A failure to train can result in an elopement.

Inadequate hiring

When a care facility doesn’t have enough employees, it’s much easier for a resident to elope. A nursing home should evaluate its staffing needs to make sure they have sufficient staff to provide appropriate care.

Hiring unqualified employees

Although a nursing home needs to hire enough workers, they also need to ensure that they hire only qualified workers. They should conduct background checks and interview potential employees to make sure they have the necessary training and character to do their job effectively.

Failing to respond to prior incidents

When a nursing home has a problem with an elopement, they should evaluate their policies. They should make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. If they fail to take time for this self-reflection, it can lead to another incident.

In addition to these ways a nursing home’s negligence can lead to an elopement, the nursing home can also act negligently when they fail to take appropriate and immediate action after an elopement occurs.

A nursing home should immediately ask for law enforcement assistance, and they should conduct regular checks to make sure all of their residents are safe and accounted for. Negligence can occur both before and after a resident goes missing.

What Can My Loved One Recover?

When your loved one gets hurt because of an elopement, there are several different types of damages that they may recover. First, they can recover for their medical bills.

Also, they may receive compensation for pain and suffering. In cases of extreme misconduct, the victim can seek punitive damages. Loved ones can also seek recovery for loss of companionship with their loved one.

How an Attorney Can Help

An attorney can help evaluate the case and provide an honest opinion about your loved one’s chances for recovery. They can also educate you about how Florida law applies to your case.

An experienced elder law attorney can handle the stressful and often consuming legal process for you. This allows you to focus on your loved one and their needs. Your attorney can make sure you assert a claim for all of the damages to which you may be entitled.

If your loved one has suffered an injury after an elopement from a Tampa nursing home, Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys can help. You don’t have to sit back and deal with the repercussions of an elopement related injury alone. The best thing you can do to ensure your family member gets the compensation they need for recovery is to partner with legal experts who have experience with nursing home injuries. Call (813) 333-6666 to schedule your free consultation today.

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