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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: Legal Remedies for Victims

It’s horrific to think that the nursing home you trust to provide quality care for a loved one has failed in this duty. Unfortunately, misconduct is more common than you’d expect, ranging from neglect in managing the facility to acts of intentional abuse by employees. You’re probably aware that some of these acts may constitute a crime, and that you can report problems to the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging. However, filing a complaint could mean little more than a slap on the wrist for the offending nursing home. Some of the most egregious acts are penalized by a $600 fine from the state.

The good news is that you may have legal remedies beyond reporting misconduct to the relevant government authorities. It’s important to get the specifics from an Atlanta, GA nursing home abuse and neglect attorney, but you may find it helpful to review some general information about your options.

Legal Remedies in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Claims: Victims who suffer from intentional conduct or careless acts in assisted living centers may be eligible to recover monetary damages for their losses. Compensation generally comes in two forms:

  1. Economic damages, such as the medical costs for current care and long-term treatment; and,
  2. Non-economic damages, including the pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by nursing home abuse and neglect.

In addition, you may be able to recover punitive damages in Georgia under certain circumstances. This type of award is designed to punish those who engage in horrible, demeaning abuse against nursing home residents.

Wrongful Death Cases in Georgia: Your grief is indescribable if you lost a loved one as the result of nursing home abuse or neglect. Plus, though you may not recognize other losses at such an emotional time, you suffer financially as well. It may be possible to recover monetary damages through a Georgia wrongful death claim, such as loss of support, services, inheritance, and costs of burial.

Next Steps for Victims and Their Families: It’s important to take quick action to get a loved one out of an abusive or neglectful environment in a nursing home. Your strategy should start with retaining an experienced attorney, who can help you ensure the resident’s safety. From there, your attorney can assist with all aspects of the legal process, such as:

  • Submitting a complaint with government officials;
  • Investigating incidents of abuse or neglect;
  • Filing a claim with the nursing home’s insurance company;
  • Negotiating with the insurer regarding a potential settlement; and,
  • Initiating a lawsuit in court, if the insurance company won’t settle for a reasonable amount.

Keep in mind that time is of the essence in these cases, since Georgia’s statute of limitations is two years.

Set Up a Free Consultation with an Atlanta, GA Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer

For more information regarding your legal remedies in a nursing home abuse or neglect claim, please contact the Law Offices of Julie A. Rice. We can schedule a no-cost case evaluation to review your circumstances and determine the most appropriate strategy for enforcing your rights or those of a loved one.

 

 

What is a “Nursing Home”?

As you page through the glossy brochures featuring elegant images at many of Georgia’s foremost assisting living centers, you can picture your spouse, a parent, and others living out their remaining days in luxury. Unfortunately, the marketing materials often believe what’s going on behind the scenes at many of these facilities. A September 29, 2019 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed more than 600 serious allegations involving neglect and abuse, evidencing a colossal failure of state oversight in the industry. Plus, these numbers are likely on the low end, since far too many of these incidents goes unreported.

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation is that nursing home neglect and abuse occur at a much wider range of facilities than many people expect. Fortunately, Georgia law protects the rights of residents and their families in more than just the “traditional” care setting. You should discuss your situation with an Atlanta, GA nursing home abuse and neglect attorney, but some information should shed some light on what constitutes a nursing home.

Broad Definition of “Nursing Home” in the Eyes of Georgia Law: A quick Google search confirms the expansive meaning of the living arrangements known as a nursing home. Any facility that provides residential accommodations, along with varying levels of health care, qualifies. For legal purposes, a nursing home environment may include any combination of:

  • Both temporary rehabilitation centers and ongoing care centers;
  • Hospitalization for physical or psychiatric illness;
  • Assisted living for younger individuals with developmental disabilities;
  • Hospice and palliative care centers;
  • Facilities designed to accommodate those with Alzheimer’s and dementia; and,
  • Many more.

Your Rights in a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Claim: Any facility that falls within the broad definition of a nursing home can be held liable for negligent or intentional misconduct. You or your loved one may be entitled to recover monetary damages for all losses stemming from nursing home injuries. The most common forms of abuse in these settings include:

  • Physical harm,
  • Emotional distress; and,
  • Psychological abuse.

Neglect is a different category of misconduct which arises from carelessness. Any assisted living center is accountable for failing to provide care in accordance with a certain standard.

Factors That Affect Monetary Damages: It’s important to keep in mind that there are legal concepts that may impact your rights in a nursing home abuse or neglect case. First, Georgia has a statute of limitations, which allows you two years to file a lawsuit. Plus, there’s a law that allows for punitive damages in Georgia, which may allow you to recover additional amounts for extremely offensive conduct.

Contact an Atlanta, GA Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Regarding Your Claim 

Misconduct exists in an array of settings, so it’s a relief to know that your rights in a neglect and abuse claim aren’t limited to the traditional notion of a nursing home. For more information about your remedies or those of a loved one, please contact the Law Offices of Julie A. Rice. We can schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your options.

 

Common Forms of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Though regulators, law enforcement, and government safety organizations may be aware of nursing home abuse and neglect in Georgia, this information may be hard to come by as a member of the general public. A September 30, 2019 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) revealed some extremely disturbing details about assisting living facilities in the state. Due to an inconsistent, disorganized system, transparency and accountability are outrageously lacking. In its own investigation, AJC found that one in five nursing homes possesses a history of egregious failures. Many more were guilty of isolated incidents that are equally troubling.

What this means for you, as the loved one of a resident, is that you must be diligent and aggressively vigilant in looking for the signs of misconduct. If you do observe any of the most common forms listed below, contact an Atlanta, GA nursing home abuse and neglect attorney who can tell you more about your rights.

Three Categories of Nursing Home Abuse: There are many specific types of intentional conduct against residents of care facilities, which is especially heartbreaking and despicable due to the vulnerable nature of the victim. Classifications include:

  1. Physical harm, such as assault, battery, and sexual attacks;
  2. Emotional distress, often through verbal abuse and degrading, offensive actions; and,
  3. Psychological abuse, which might come in the form of threats or withholding of food, exercise, companionship, or other services. 

Nursing Home Neglect in Georgia: Acts of negligence may not seem to be as extreme as intentional abuse, but the effects can be just as tragic. Neglect in the nursing home setting is a failure to provide care in accordance with what’s reasonable under the circumstances. Understaffing is one factor that can lead to nursing home neglect, which you may recognize by such signs as:

  • Bedsores;
  • Unexplained falls or infections;
  • Dirty linens, surfaces, and fixtures in resident living spaces;
  • Filthy common areas;
  • Signs of dehydration or malnutrition; and,
  • Many other disturbing observations.

What to do About Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect: If you suspect misconduct, your first step should be consulting with an experienced lawyer, who can help you file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging. However, your attorney can also assist with seeking monetary damages for your losses. Victims may be able to recover for medical costs, pain, and suffering; you may also have rights through a wrongful death action if you lost a loved one because of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Bear in mind that Georgia’s statute of limitations is two years, which means time is of the essence in addressing your claim. If you don’t file a lawsuit before the statute expires, you’re forever barred from recovering monetary damages.

Discuss Legal Remedies with an Atlanta, GA Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer

If you have concerns about a loved one who may be suffering from misconduct in an assisted living center, please contact the Law Offices of Julie A. Rice right away. We can set up a no-cost consultation to review your circumstances and assist with next steps, including filing a claim for nursing home abuse and neglect.

 

Cobb County Georgia Superior Court Judges Gives Personal Home Caregiver 20 years, with 10 to Serve for Abhorrent Conditions and More

t1.jpgIn a home in Cobb County Georgia located at 981 Laurel Springs Lane, Reequel Alita Penny, age 43, was keeping elderly women in her basement in 11 feet by 5 feet spaces separated by plywood without proper medicine, food, nor facilities. Penny pled guilty to felony criminal charges including, but not limited to, false imprisonment, deprivation and racketeering totaling 47 charges.

Continue reading Cobb County Georgia Superior Court Judges Gives Personal Home Caregiver 20 years, with 10 to Serve for Abhorrent Conditions and More

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