Independent Living Facility Injury Lawyers
“Independent Living” is a bit of a misnomer. Truly independent living means one lives 100% on their own in a private home or apartment. The common association with the phrase “independent living” in Florida means an ILF, or an Independent Living Facility. Some people refer to ILF’s as Retirement Homes or Senior Living Communities. It is important to first understand what an ILF is and what an ILF’s duties are under the law, in order to comprehend how an Independent Living Facility can be negligent in allowing a resident to be injured.
What is an I.L.F.?
Independent Living Facilities offer more activities, social and physical services than a traditional 55 and over community. An I.L.F. does not provide nursing services like a nursing home or assisted living facility, so it is somewhere in between an ALF and a traditional 55+ neighborhood. Even though the ILF does not provide nursing services, most ILF’s provide amenities like prepared meals, security, cleaning services, transportation via ILF busses and vans, and linen services.
What Is an Independent Living Facility Obligated to Provide its Residents Under the Law?
Many ILF’s are part of a continuing care community, meaning the Independent Living Facility may be on the same campus as the Assisted Living Facility and the Nursing Home. This does not mean that the ILF must provide those 24/7 nursing services though.
Under Florida law, an independent living center is required to keep its premises safe for its residents, and to transport residents safely on community vans and busses. This is not dissimilar from the duties owed by other property owners to tenants in the state of Florida.
Suing a Florida Independent Living Facility for Negligence
Our independent living facility neglect lawyers have handled numerous claims against Florida I.L.F.’s for a variety of reasons. Some of the more common independent living facility injuries that can be grounds for a negligence claim are:
- Transportation injuries, like bus crashes, van accidents and improper wheelchair transfers
- Falls in the common areas of the independent living facility
- Negligent security resulting in criminal attacks and assaults
- Injuries in the Community’s Pool or Gym
Examples of the above scenarios are detailed below.
Independent Living Facility Lawsuit for Transportation Injuries in the Community Bus
We have all seen the wheelchair accessible ILF community busses that transport older residents to the grocery store and the movie theater. These busses are emblazoned with the community’s logo and the driver of the bus or van is employed by the community or facility. If the facility bus or van gets into a car accident, and the bus driver is at fault, you can likely sue the independent living community for the negligence of their driver. The same is true if the driver stops short and causes a passenger to fall and break their hip, or if a community van driver fails to properly secure a wheelchair before driving the van. If the transportation driver is at fault for the injury, chances are the community can be held liable for the actions of their driver.
Independent Living Facility Lawsuit for Falls and Injuries in the Community Area
Independent Living Facilities often have sprawling multi-acre campuses with tons of amenities. This can include a movie theater, gym, cafeteria, pool, golf course, garden area, outside eating, theater, etc. These amenities provide fun for the residents and the corporate owners of the facility are aware that these attractions draw in residents to live on the premises. The law in Florida requires a business owner be aware of who is paying money to live on his/her premises, and also to fix potential hazards on the property.
We know that ILF’s typically house older residents, many of which use wheelchairs and walkers to get around. ILF owners know this and must secure their premises accordingly. So let’s consider the following Independent Living Facility fall scenario:
Happy Hills owns and operates an independent living facility in Miami that houses hundreds of older residents. In the ILF’s common outside dining area, there is an exposed pipe that juts out of the ground. The pipe is hard to see until you almost are on top of it, and it is located in a heavily trafficked pedestrian area of the lawn. Residents have reported the dangerous condition to Happy Hills management, but the hazard was never fixed. Susan, an elderly 80-year-old resident with a walker, stumbles over the exposed pipe, falls, and breaks her hip. This causes Mary’s health to spiral downward and robs her of her independence.
Can Susan and her family sue the Independent Living Facility for negligence? Yes, they can. In Florida, if an Independent Living Facility is aware of a dangerous condition, like a fall hazard, and fails to fix it timely, they may be held liable for injuries sustained by their residents in an Independent Living Facility fall lawsuit.
Independent Living Facility Lawsuit for Negligent Security and Criminal Attacks
Seniors choose to live inside facilities like ILF’s, in part, because there is safety in numbers. Independent Living Facilities provide a collective security which prevents vulnerable elderly residents from criminal attacks, robbery and assaults. Just about every Florida ILF provides some form of security, whether it is an armed security guard or just video surveillance of the property. In addition to these forms of ILF security, facilities have a staffed front desk attendant who prevents intruders from getting to residents and their private rooms.
If an Independent Living Facility fails in their duty to provide appropriate security measures and allows one of its residents to be robbed, assaulted, attacked or murdered, a negligent security investigation should be initiated immediately. Our lawyers have recovered multi-million dollar settlements for victims of negligent security. Speak with our attorneys now to learn more about your options in suing an independent living facility for a resident attack or murder.
Independent Living Facility Lawsuit for Injuries in the Pool or Gym
Retirees living on independent living facility campuses do so to enjoy many of the facility’s physical fitness activities. A critical component of an elderly patient maintaining their independence is through daily exercise. To accomplish this, many ILF’s have pools and gyms for their residents to stay active. Independent Living Facility’s owe a duty under the law to their residents to keep their pools and gyms supervised and secured for resident use.
Tragically, even though the facility management knows of its vulnerable resident population, these pools and gyms are not made safe for residents. This can lead to heartbreaking injuries like pool drownings or serious gym injuries.
The Lawyers at Senior Justice Care About Your Independent Living Facility Injury
If your family member was wrongfully injured inside an independent living facility, our caring and compassionate elder abuse lawyers are here to help. Call us toll free now at 1-844-253-8919 for your free case consultation.