Nursing Home Injuries Attorneys in Dalton, GA, Obtaining Justice for Nursing Home Abuse Victims
When families have to make the agonizing decision to place their loved ones in a nursing home, they trust that the nursing facility will adhere to the highest quality standards for their care. They depend on the staff and other employees to provide a safe and clean environment where residents are treated with dignity and respect.
Unfortunately, many elderly patients find themselves being neglected or abused by the people entrusted to care for them. Georgia law has extremely strict statutes that govern a nursing home’s management. If you believe that your family member is the victim of nursing home abuse, you need to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There is never a legitimate reason for nursing home abuse or neglect to occur.
Often nursing homes are understaffed or do not utilize proper background checks when hiring new employees. The nursing home’s failure to properly screen potential employees is often one of the main contributing factors to abuse and neglect. Individuals who have been fired or let go from other nursing facilities often gain employment with another nursing home, and the cycle of abuse begins all over again.
Contact The Cowan Law Firm, LLC of Dalton, GA, and ask to schedule a free case review with a member of our legal team.
What Are the Five Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Sadly, patients may suffer several forms of nursing home neglect and abuse while in a long-term care facility. In many cases, the resident suffers several different types of abuse simultaneously. The five most common types of nursing home abuse are as follows:
This tends to be the most common form of abuse inflicted on nursing home residents. Evidence of this type of abuse may manifest itself in unexplained bruises or even broken bones. Physical abuse can include slapping, kicking, punching, or hitting by a staff member.
Any type of unwanted sexual contact is considered to be abuse. Sexual harassment is also included under this type of mistreatment and can include showing pornographic material or exposing body parts to patients. Signs of sexual assault include ripped or torn clothing or the patient testing positive for STDs.
Financial abuse of the elderly has become a widespread problem in many nursing homes. Frequently, elderly patients who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are taken advantage of and find themselves the victims of such abuse. Financial abuse occurs any time another person uses a resident’s checks, debit, or credit cards without prior consent or authorization. Some potential warning signs include unexplained charges, a sudden change to a will or beneficiary, and forged signatures on checks or loan documents.
Emotional abuse occurs when the resident is verbally assaulted or made to feel frightened through the use of non-verbal behavior. This type of abuse is often harder to spot as it does not leave any physical signs but can result in the resident withdrawing from friends, exhibiting signs of depression, and showing a lack of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities. Many patients are hesitant to report the abuse for fear of retaliation.
Some examples of emotional abuse include:
- Verbally assaulting the resident.
- Threatening the resident with violence.
- Publicly humiliating the resident.
- Intentionally isolating the resident from family and friends.
A nursing home is guilty of neglect when its staff members fail to provide necessary medical care to its residents. Nursing home neglect differs from abuse in that the failure to act is caused by carelessness or lack of attention to duty and not the result of deliberate action. This lack of action can also be considered negligence on the facility’s part. Some potential warning signs include:
- Frequent medication errors
- Lack of personal hygiene, such as dirty clothing or bed linens.
Sadly, some nursing home patients suffer abuse at the hands of staff members and other employees for years. Therefore, it is important that you make certain to note any changes in the mood or behavior of your loved one over time.
What Should I Do if I Suspect My Loved One is Suffering Nursing Home Abuse?
You must take action immediately if you suspect your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse. If necessary, call 911 to report the abuse to protect your loved one. You may also make a report directly to the police department. It is important to remember that as a family member, you have the right to ask questions if you feel that the staff is not providing appropriate care for your family member.
Some of the next steps to take include:
- Request an ambulance or take your loved one to a hospital to be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Report the abuse to the nursing home administrator.
- Document any injuries, signs of abuse or neglect, or any other evidence by taking pictures.
- Gather any medical records that may be pertinent to your case.
- Collect any other information that you feel supports your claim.
- Make alternative living arrangements for your loved one, such as moving them to another facility if necessary. You may need to have your family member stay with you for a short period of time until you can make suitable arrangements for their care.
- Be sure that the abuse is reported to the Georgia Department of Community Health so that an investigation of the abuse can be investigated.
Can I Sue a Nursing Home for Medical Malpractice?
Due to the fact that nursing homes house elderly patients who have many medical needs, they usually employ a large staff that includes doctors and nurses. Doctors and nurses are considered medical professionals and therefore governed by medical malpractice law.
These medical professionals owe what is known as a duty of care to the patients that they are charged with overseeing in the nursing home. Under Georgia law, if a resident of a long-term care facility is the victim of a misdiagnosis, treatment error, or medical mistake, the resident or an individual who is authorized to act for them, has the legal right to file a claim against the nursing home.
If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a nursing home, it is best to consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer beforehand. In nursing home neglect or abuse cases, multiple liability issues could make filing a claim extremely complicated.
The personal injury lawyers of The Cowan Law Firm, LLC can review your evidence and help you determine what the best course of action would be to act in the best interests of your family member.
How Can a Nursing Home Injuries Attorney Help Me Obtain Justice for My Loved One?
It is never easy for families to place their loved ones in nursing homes. However, the care needed to take care of their family members is often beyond their abilities, and as a result, they have no choice but to admit them into a nursing facility.
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are responsible for ensuring the health, well-being, and safety of all of their residents. If you feel that your family member sustained nursing home injuries as a result of negligence or abuse, it may be possible to recover compensation for their injuries.
The Cowan Law Firm, LLC takes every case of nursing home abuse or neglect very seriously. The first step that we take is to begin a comprehensive investigation into the alleged neglect or abuse sustained by your family member, which includes:
- Reviewing all medical records and similar documentation.
- Seeking the advice of other medical experts.
- Interviewing other residents or witnesses to the abuse or neglect.
- Interacting with the nursing home on your behalf.
- Negotiate directly with the nursing facility’s insurance company to obtain a settlement for your loved one.
- If necessary, our law firm will file a nursing home abuse lawsuit on behalf of your family member.
When deciding who should represent you in court, do not leave your loved one’s future to chance. Unfortunately, not all Dalton nursing home abuse lawyers have the skill and experience necessary to successfully win a personal injury settlement on your family member’s behalf.
The Cowan Law Firm, LLC is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of the most vulnerable members of our society. If you have concerns or complaints about the type of care your loved one is receiving, you need to contact us by calling (706) 278-2099 and asking to schedule a free case evaluation.