Assisted Living Facility Injury
Assisted living facilities (“ALFs”) provide assistance for persons who can maintain mostly independent living provided they are given some help. ALFs provide assistance with cleaning, grooming, laundry, medications, and attending doctors’ appointments, to name a few. Jacksonville and St. Augustine have dozens of assisted living facilities, most of which provide quality care and service. Sadly, some ALFs fail to take proper care of residents, resulting in serious personal injuries and death.Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims Against Assisted Living Facilities
People can suffer injuries due to assisted living facility neglect including: falls; elopement; medication errors; injuries caused by being dropped; admitting residents whose care needs exceed what the ALF is qualified to handle; and injuries caused by other residents.
Claims against assisted living facilities are subject to Florida Statute Chapter 429. This statute subjects any claim for personal injury or wrongful death against an assisted living facility to a pre-suit process.
First, the attorney for the injured resident must obtain the ALF records along with any hospital and other relevant records. If we are interested in your case, our Jacksonville assisted living facility personal injury attorneys will only need your signature to get the records.
Once received, we review the records to look for whether there is strong support for the claim. If we think there is a basis for the claim, we then hire an expert witness to review the records to determine if he or she thinks the ALF staff failed to meet the professional standard of care. An expert’s finding of ALF neglect is necessary in order to serve the pre-suit notice required by Chapter 429.
Then, we are required to provide notice via certified mail to the company or companies that operate the ALF. The notice must specify the facts supporting a finding of neglect and the damages that resulted. The ALF then has 75 days to perform its own investigation of the claim. At the end of the 75 day period, the ALF can either reject the claim or make a settlement offer.
During this process, the parties are to engage in document sharing and can take unsworn statements of witnesses. However, the statute does not provide a penalty if an ALF ignores requests for statements and the requests are frequently ignored.
If the case cannot be settled, suit is filed. We then set the case for trial, which will typically be scheduled more than a year from when suit was filed. Next, is the discovery process during which statements under oath (depositions) are taken, written questions to be answered under oath (interrogatories) and document requests are exchanged.
Before the trial date, the case will be referred by the Court to a mediator. Mediation is a settlement conference moderated by an experienced attorney who can provide input to both sides to look for compromise. Most cases settle at mediation. If not, the case proceeds to a jury by jury.How can Jacksonville Assisted Living Facility Injury Lawyers Help You?
Our Jacksonville and St. Augustine law firm has handled nursing home and assisted living facility cases for more than fifteen years. We have learned a lot along the way. Most of all, we learned to hire the best expert witnesses to help prove the case. Doing so can be very expensive. It is common for us to spend $25,000.00 to $50,000.00 on experts and other costs on such cases. Not every firm has the expertise, resources and willingness to take such risks. Unfortunately, saving money by spending less on experts often results in no savings at all and, in fact, can ruin a case’s value.
The claims process for injury or death claims against an assisted living facility in Florida is complicated. It is important to make sure the attorney you hire is experienced in this field and has the resources to prosecute your clam. We recommend you speak with several attorneys before making a decision, even if you speak with us first.
We do not advertise and, because of that, we do not take on the number of cases that some firms do. This allows our attorneys and staff to focus on your claim and to be available any time you have questions. Please call our Jacksonville ALF attorneys for a free consultation.