Do you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in an Albany nursing home?
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No one wants to think of their beloved elderly loved one in a nursing home, but senior care facilities are often the only way for them to receive the round-the-clock care they may require. Nursing homes are meant to be safe and comfortable places for their residents, and most are. But nursing home facilities and staff don’t always live up to appropriate standards.
About 1.5 million people live in nursing homes in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 10 percent of the elderly (ages 60 and older)—as many as 5,000,000 elders—are victims of abuse and neglect in nursing homes across the United States. Of course, that statistic doesn’t account for the many cases that go unreported each year. Sadly, experts believe that these figures are underrepresented, since many elder abuse victims are unable or unwilling to report their abuse.
If your loved one exhibits any sort of behavior that is inconsistent with their normal personality, it’s time to seriously consider if you have a case of nursing home abuse on your hands. Investigation of nursing home abuse or neglect should be handled with great care by experts who are experienced in this area. With over 50 years in business and 200 combined years of experience, our lawyers know how to navigate the legal hurdles that might prevent you from seeking justice on behalf of your loved one and receiving compensation.At the law offices of Westmoreland, Patterson, Mosely, and Hinson, our injury lawyers have over 200 years of combined experience helping accident victims receive the compensation they need for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability & other damages.
Types of nursing home abuse
- Physical. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, any physical force that causes bodily harm, pain, or impairment is considered abuse, such as slapping, hitting, burning, and pushing. In a nursing home setting, this can also take the shape of forced feeding, physical restraints, and any sort of physical punishment.
- Emotional. Not all abuse is physical—even verbal and non-verbal actions can be harmful. Threats, insults, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment are the most common examples of emotional abuse. Even the silent treatment can do emotional damage to nursing home residents.
- Financial. It’s no secret that the elderly are often taken advantage of because of their age, and this includes financially. The most common examples of financial abuse include cashing checks without their permission, misusing or stealing their possessions, forging signatures, or coercing them into signing documents.
- Sexual. Young people aren’t the ones who fall victim to this type of abuse. A recent investigation fined 6 nursing homes in the state of Georgia for failure to report and protect its residents from sexual abuse, inflicted either by nursing home staff or other residents.
- Negligence. Refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a caretaker’s obligations or duties to an elder is considered an act of negligence. Examples of basic care include fixing and serving meals and maintaining personal hygiene. Failure to provide these basic services is considered negligence on behalf of the nursing home staff and facility.
Common warning signs of nursing home abuse
- Bruises, cuts, and lacerations. If you notice any unusual discolored skin, unexplained cuts or open wounds, this may be a sign of physical abuse. If any of these injuries are found around the breasts or genital regions, this can be an indicator of sexual abuse and should be reported immediately.
- Dirtiness. Dusty or littered living spaces and lack of basic personal care are often indicators of negligence. If a resident has bed sores, soiled undergarments, inadequate clothing, fleas, dirt, or limited access to running water in their room, these conditions should be reported.
- Unusual behavior. Lack of sleep, rocking back and forth, or being upset, agitated, withdrawn or quiet is another warning sign that the nursing home staff may not be doing their job or abusing their power.
- Malnutrition. Report any signs of dehydration and lack of proper nutrition if you notice these in one or more residents in the nursing home.
What to do if you suspect nursing home abuse
Report elderly abuse as soon as possible. As soon as you see the signs, it’s important to notify the right people. Call 911 if you see an elderly person in immediate danger or in a life-threatening situation. To report a nursing home to authorities, programs such as the Georgia Adult Protective Services and Long-Term Care Ombudsman can help.
Who can be held liable for nursing home abuse?
- Care facility. Nursing home facilities can be held liable for abuse or neglect if it can be proven that the nursing home’s owner or employees failed to provide a necessary service, the result of that failure caused injury or illness, and the nursing home caused the injury due to their conduct.
- Staff members. If the actions of any staff member caused injury to one of the nursing home’s residents, they can be held personally liable.
- Doctors. Suing a doctor often proves difficult because of their deep and extensive knowledge in the medical field. However, if there is sufficient evidence to show they purposely acted against their medical judgment, they can face civil penalties just like anyone else.
Compensation for nursing home abuse and neglect
If you or a loved one have suffered from abuse or neglect and are a resident of a nursing home in the state of Georgia, our Albany lawyers are here to help. Determining how much compensation you may be eligible for depends on the specifics of your case, but factors we’ll take into consideration include:
- Economic damages such as medical expenses, loss of income, specialist fees, and legal fees to litigate the case
- Non-economic damages such as emotional abuse, pain and suffering, and loss of a loved one in a nursing home
- Punitive damages against the defendant to help prevent future abuse on the part of the nursing home
Nursing home abuse statute of limitations
According to the Georgia statute of limitations (OCGA §9-3-33), an elderly resident of a nursing home has 2 years to file a personal injury claim from the date they are injured while residing in that facility. If the actions are against a fiduciary, Georgia gives the elderly person in their care 10 years to file a claim. The sooner you see signs of abuse and report them to the proper authorities, the sooner you can file your case and receive justice—not just for you or your loved one, but for hundreds of other nursing home residents.
Contact an Albany, GA nursing home abuse lawyer
Filing a lawsuit against a nursing home can be a lengthy and difficult process, which is why it shouldn’t be taken on without expert legal counsel. With three offices located in Macon, Albany, and Warner Robins, the experienced team of nursing home abuse lawyers at the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson is committed to fighting for your right to compensation and making sure you don’t settle for anything less than you deserve.