Skip to Content

Who Is Legally Responsible for Reporting Nursing Home Abuse?

July 8, 2016 | Category: Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse, Personal Injury | Share

When placing loved ones in nursing homes, you expect them to be treated with kindness and that their basic needs will be taken care of. Unfortunately, the very people who are to be taking care of them may be abusing them. 

With 683 nursing homes in Florida representing approximately 73,000 people at Who is legally responsible for reporting nursing home abuse - Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.any given time that means that 73,000 could be subjected to abuse, according to the Florida Healthcare Association. 

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that 36 percent of the nation’s nursing homes have been in violation of the elderly abuse laws. 

“Anyone who witnesses actual abuse or suspects abuse should report it. However, there are those who are mandated by law to report elder abuse,” said Port Charlotte Nursing Home Abuse Attorney, Randall Spivey. 

Who is responsible for reporting abuse? 

The laws in most states according to NCEA require helping professions such as doctors and home health providers to report suspected abuse or neglect. These professionals are called “mandated reporters.” 

What are the penalties for not reporting abuse? 

Failure to report elder abuse by a mandated reporter could result in criminal liability. 

A recent Washington State Supreme Court case, Kim vs. Lakeside Adult Family Home addressed the issue of civil liability for failure to report an act of negligence or abuse. 

In this case an elderly resident of Lakeside Adult Family Home died of acute morphine intoxication. The death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner when the autopsy report revealed visible bruising of the elder’s head and neck. Alpha, a home health agency, provided nursing service to the residents living at Lakeside. An Alpha nurse found the plaintiff on the floor, and when she reported the situation, a Lakeside employee just said that she fell a lot and put her back in bed even after the Alpha nurse suggested calling 9-1-1. It was later found that an employee of Lakeside was administering the morphine drug without the patient’s having a prescription for it. 

Plaintiffs sued the Alpha nurses alleging that they observed signs of abuse and should have reported them to the Department of Health and to the police, according to the American Society for Pharmacy Law. 

On May 12, 2016 the Washington Supreme Court ruled that vulnerable adults have the right to sue individual mandatory reporters (and their employers) for failure to immediately contact the Department of Social Services or law enforcement in cases of possible abuse or neglect. 

Who is classified as a mandatory reporter in Florida and to whom do they report? 

Section 415.1034(1), of the Florida Statutes states that any person, including but not limited to any state, county, or municipal criminal justice employee or law enforcement officer, who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a vulnerable adult has been or is being abused, neglected, or exploited shall immediately report such knowledge or suspicion to the central abuse hotline on the toll-free telephone number, 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). 

“The consequences of nursing home abuse can be devastating for victims and their families. If you have a loved one who may have been the victim of abuse at a nursing home, contact the attorneys at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. to determine your rights,” said Port Charlotte Nursing Home Abuse Attorney, Randall Spivey. 



Port Charlotte Nursing Home Abuse Attorney,  Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.










Contact Us


Spivey Law Firm Logo Spivey Law Firm 13400 Parker Commons Blvd.
Fort Myers, Florida 33912

(239) 337-7483

Free Consultation