Douglasville Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
Nursing home abuse and neglect is one of America’s most underreported and undetected problems – and it is one that can have a severe emotional impact on the victim and their family members. According to estimates from the National Center on Elder Abuse, 10% of elderly Americans have suffered some form of abuse.
For residents and families in Georgia, the reports are even more disturbing. According to a story by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, one in four nursing homes in the state received a one-star rating (the lowest possible) in the latest federal quality rankings of long-term care facilities in the U.S. With 27.6% of nursing homes receiving the one-star rating, Georgia ranked as the second worst performing state (behind only Louisiana) in the Southeast.
The Douglasville law firm of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. has helped numerous clients hold corporate and locally owned nursing homes accountable for direct or indirect nursing home abuse and neglect. Our compassionate and aggressive nursing home abuse lawyers have helped secure compensation for the victims while helping change the conditions in nursing homes, so that patterns of abuse stop immediately.
Learn more about spotting signs of nursing home neglect, what legal recourse victims have, and what our firm can do to assist families who are worried about their elderly loved one. If you need immediate help, phone our office or fill out an online contact form now.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
It is often more difficult to spot signs of abuse in senior citizens than in children or younger adults. Signs of abuse are broken down into four categories: physical, mental, financial and sexual. Watch for the following:
Signs of Physical Abuse or Neglect
- Bedsores or noticeable bruises appearing on your loved one’s body
- Messy, unkempt appearance or foul smells, soiled clothing or bedding, or fecal matter or urine in their bedding and clothing
- Dirty living quarters
- Feeling ill or experiencing physical pain as a result of withheld or failure to administer medication
- Visible malnutrition or dehydration
Signs of Mental Abuse
- Keeping your loved one from groups they normally frequent or activities they enjoy
- Exposing your loved one to repeated discussions of death, which cause them to contemplate suicide
- Constant verbal abuse, including name-calling and denigrating their place at the home
- Prohibiting outgoing phone calls or mishandling outgoing mail to cut off ties with outside family
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Your loved one holds or “favors” their genitalia but is too afraid to talk
- The senior citizen begins talking about sex more than usual but seems depressed when doing so
- Your loved one experiences unexplained bleeding from the rectal area that is not related to hemorrhoids or other known medical issues
- After questioning, your loved one admits being touched inappropriately
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Your loved one suddenly changes all or part of their will to benefit an unknown person or party
- An unusual amount of money is transferred from your loved one’s account to a nonfamily member
- The discovery of credit card applications or other loan forms signed by another party
- Expensive items are reported missing from your loved one’s home
Exploitation and abuse of higher-risk adults in nursing home facilities are far too common in Georgia. While loved ones may try to deal with these abuse signs before it becomes widespread, some family members live far away and are unable to keep tabs on their loved ones in these facilities.
Nursing Home Neglect Versus Abuse
Although both terms seem relatively similar, there’s a difference between elderly abuse and elderly neglect.
- Nursing home abuse is the deliberate abuse of person, power, and trust. It’s taking away the liberties a resident has the right to enjoy by actively taking actions that are intended to hurt an individual.
- Nursing home neglect is best described as deliberate or negligent failure to take action. Ignoring an individual’s physical and emotional needs leads to psychological and physical suffering.
Elopement, which is when any resident wanders away from their assisted living or nursing home facility, could indicate another form of gross negligence on the part of the facility.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Georgia
You can report cases of nursing home neglect or abuse to Georgia’s Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services, through their website or by telephone during regular business hours. If you’re reporting abuse or neglect of adult persons with disabilities who live in long-term facilities, the Department of Community Health will also take your reports.
If phone lines are not open, and you feel uncomfortable with online reporting, your local law enforcement agency will open an investigation, provided there’s enough evidence to back your claim. A police investigation is often enough to scare the facility into changing policies and removing “bad apples” from their employee group.
Loved ones are encouraged to retain an attorney who concentrates on nursing home neglect and abuses cases to start an independent investigation. Some families fear repercussions in reporting a nursing home facility, so Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. will do their part in keeping your information private.
How Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help
Because numerous laws may come into play in nursing home abuse cases, our attorneys are uniquely positioned to handle all claims of nursing home neglect and abuse. We are prepared to go after the facility, their insurer, and any negligent third parties who may be responsible.
We’ll start by analyzing the details surrounding your case. There are many grounds on which we could establish your case, including:
- The facility’s negligence in caring for the resident
- The facility’s complicity to another’s theft of funds or property
- Negligence in hiring improperly screened employees
- Failing to provide adequate health care, despite being paid by residents to handle medical care
- Failing to provide the appropriate staff training or hiring staff under false pretenses
We can look for residents and others who are willing to testify about any abuse they observed, and we may subpoena footage, talk with the abused or neglected resident, and discuss options with family members. Once we’ve compiled the required information, we are prepared to pursue negotiations and file your case in court if necessary.
At this point, the facility and their counsel will get involved. They may investigate these allegations internally, hire an outside investigative team, or do nothing. Nonetheless, our firm investigates each case thoroughly.
These are serious investigations with potential criminal implications. That’s why we take any allegations or evidence of nursing home neglect seriously. Criminal charges that stem from investigations of law enforcement, the facility, or our own will not preclude you from bringing a civil suit against the nursing home that was responsible for your loved one’s neglect. Civil and criminal cases are separate matters.
Pursuing Compensation to Help Your Family
The amount and type of compensation awarded may depend on factors such as the extent of the victim’s injuries, the duration of the abuse, whether other cases may be bundled and class-action certified, and other economic and noneconomic factors that vary between victims.
Victims who suffer serious physical or psychological injuries or encounter any life-altering event as a result of neglect or abuse may be entitled to substantial compensation.
Punitive damages are often greater than other damages and are designed to send a message to operators and other facilities that abuse and neglect will not be tolerated and will have serious consequences.
The statute of limitations in nursing home abuse and neglect case is two years from the date the incident took place. Should your neglected loved one succumb to their injuries, the statute of limitations becomes two years from the date of death.
Our Lawyers Take Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Seriously
We have successfully recovered millions in damages for clients in nursing home abuse and neglect cases, and we are poised to take your case to trial if necessary. Many cases with compelling evidence will settle prior to trial. The exact settlement amount will depend on the details of the case.
Don’t let your loved one suffer in silence. Our team will review your nursing home abuse case free of charge, and you won’t have to pay us anything until we recover compensation for your loved one.
Look through our verdicts and settlements, testimonials, and blog posts to see what we’ve done for other injured persons. Our firm wants nothing more than to make your loved one whole, especially when they’ve been abused or neglected by the very facility you trusted to care for them.
If your loved one suffered nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the experienced lawyers of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. by phone or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation. Together we’ll put an end to the unacceptable treatment your loved one and likely others have been forced to endure at the hands of negligent nursing home facility staff, management and owners.