New Legislation in Florida Changes the Landscape of Nursing Home Injury Cases

State legislatures understand that a significant number of cases each year arise out of nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse. Indeed, one recent study indicated that 10% of all elders suffer some kind of abuse in their old age. Because most older people end up at a nursing home at one point in their lives, a significant portion of these victims are victimized in nursing homes.

Florida’s Response to Increasing Nursing Home Litigation

The State of Florida recently passed Senate Bill 670, that changes the landscape of some nursing home cases. While the law has no practical effect in Maryland, it is a good guidepost to see what other state legislatures consider to be “problem areas” with current nursing home litigation.

The new bill tweaked several aspects of the existing laws in Florida, including:

  • Previously, a victim of nursing home negligence or abuse could bring common-law causes of action (such as negligence, etc.) and also a statutory cause of action under Section 400.023 of the Florida Statutes. However, under the new law, nursing home victims will only be able to look to the statutory remedies. This restricts the number of claims a nursing home negligence victim can bring against the offending nursing home.
  • Under the new law, passive investors in a nursing home cannot be held liable for liable for any injury or death that is caused by the negligence of one of the nursing home employees. A passive investor is someone who does not have a say in the day to day operations of the nursing home. This also restricts a plaintiff’s ability to recover, limiting the number of parties a plaintiff can list on a cause of action.
  • The new bill also makes it more difficult for potential plaintiffs to recover punitive damages from nursing homes. Previously, a plaintiff may obtain punitive damages if they can show that someone at the nursing home was guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. However, under the new law punitive damages are only appropriate when an employee “actively and knowingly participated in intentional misconduct or gross negligence that contributed to the resident’s damages.”
  • The new bill also requires that nursing homes that have had a judgment filed against them pay that judgment within sixty days or risk losing their license.
  • While the new law affects Florida cases only, this may be a good indicator of what issues lawmakers see with the current state of the law, and what changes may be coming in the future.

    Are You In Need of a Nursing Home Attorney?

    If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of nursing home negligence or abuse, you should speak with an experienced Maryland nursing home injury lawyer as soon as possible. Recovering for your injuries is certainly a possibility, but it is not a certainty. Skilled legal assistance will help you in navigating the complex system, increasing your ultimate chances of recovery. To speak to a dedicated nursing home negligence and abuse attorney, click here or call 410-654-3600 today and schedule your free initial consultation.

    See More Blog Posts:

    Nursing Home Employee Facing Assault Charges for the Abuse of a Resident, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published April 2, 2014.

    Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania Nursing Home Sends Authorities on a Search, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published April 23, 2014.

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