When our loved ones enter nursing homes, they are often at their most vulnerable and require compassionate, attentive care. Unfortunately, all too often, many nursing homes fail to provide an adequate standard of care, causing pain and suffering to those who rely on them.
Our experienced attorneys are committed to pursuing justice for elderly victims of neglect and abuse. If someone you love has suffered at the hands of a trusted caregiver, please contact the Law Offices of Humberto Izquierdo, Jr., PC today online or at 770-888-8901 to schedule a free consultation. Our fully bilingual Spanish-speaking staff helps clients from Atlanta and Marietta, Georgia.
How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a widespread issue. The exact scope of the problem is unknown because so many cases of abuse and neglect go unnoticed and unreported each year.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) identified a systematic review that collected self-reports of abuse by residents. That review resulted in the estimated prevalence of different types of abuse as follows: psychological abuse (33.4%), physical (14.1%), financial (13.8%), neglect (11.6%), and sexual abuse (1.9%). Again, only a fraction of abuse is reported.
When a Nursing Home can Be Held Accountable for Abuse
There are several situations where a nursing home could be held liable for abuse. Not only that but they may also be found responsible for negligence and neglect. Here are a few different behaviors that can harm residents and lead to a civil lawsuit against a nursing home:
- Negligent hiring, training, and supervision of employees
- Negligent supervision of residents
- Failure to maintain adequate health and safety policies
- Neglect of a resident Failure to keep the environment safe and free of accident hazards.
What Is Considered Nursing Home Neglect?
Outright physical violence is not always necessary to cause severe physical harm. Neglect can cause a resident’s health to decline rapidly, often leading to permanent damage or possibly death. Even a lack of basic supervision can result in a fatal accident.
Neglect includes, but is not limited to, a failure to provide:
- Medical care
- Clean bedding and clothing
- Assistance with bathroom needs
- Adequate hydration
- Proper nutrition
- Protection from safety hazards
Due to fear or inability, nursing home residents rarely report neglect. Some victims don’t even recognize their own mistreatment. It is often up to loved ones to notice the signs of neglect and contact a qualified attorney.
What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?
Neglect is not the only type of mistreatment your loved one may suffer while in a nursing home. While some injuries are caused by incompetence, poor attention or other unintentional causes, other cases involve direct, intentional abuse.
Abuse can manifest in many forms, some of the most common include:
- Mental or emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
While direct abuse may be caused by a single caregiver acting alone, it is often facilitated by a lack of adequate supervision or employment screening practices.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
The deadline to file a nursing home abuse case varies by state. In Georgia, nursing home abuse lawsuits must be filed before the two-year statute of limitations expires. After that, it is unlikely that your legal claim will be valid. You should be careful not to let the deadline pass. In the tragic event that a nursing home resident passes away due to injuries or neglect before they have the opportunity to file their lawsuit, it may become a wrongful death case. Wrongful death cases generally have a two year statute of limitations, though some exceptions apply.
Common Signs of Elder Abuse or Neglect
Many victims of elder abuse and neglect are unable to speak for themselves. That is why is is important that you are aware of the signs of mistreatment, and that you report nursing home neglect or abuse to an experienced attorney as quickly as possible.
Some common signs of abuse and neglect include:
- Unusual depression or lack of interest in activities
- Sudden emotional withdrawal or agitation
- Slips and falls, especially when they become more than an isolated incident
- Development of bedsores
- Unexplained bruises and other injuries
- Rapid weight loss
- Caretakers unable to provide adequate explanation for a patient’s condition
- Staff substituting strong medications or sedatives for supervision
What Is the Average Settlement for Nursing Home Neglect?
Most nursing home neglect cases settle before trial. The amount of money that they settle for depends on the specifics of each case.
It is not uncommon for victims of nursing home neglect and their families to recover five or six figures in damages. In fact, a study by Health Affairs found that the average recovery among paid claims was $406,000. Nursing home wrongful death settlements may award much more due to their severity.
Be aware that there are many factors that go into the calculation of nursing home abuse and neglect settlements. No two cases are exactly alike. You can learn about the potential value of your case during a consultation with our experienced Atlanta lawyers.
What Immediate Steps Should You Take if You Suspect Your Loved One Is the Victim of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
There are several things that you should do right away if you suspect nursing home mistreatment. Most importantly, make sure that your loved one is not in immediate danger. If you suspect that their situation is life-threatening, protect your loved one by calling the police.
If they are not in urgent danger, there are other methods you can use to report abuse. Our attorneys can help connect you with the appropriate resources and agencies for your situation. Examples include our state’s long-term care ombudsman or adult protective services. Don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation at the Law Offices of Humberto Izquierdo, Jr., PC.
How to prove Nursing Home Neglect With Your Lawyer
If you are suing a nursing home for neglect, you will need to prove several elements. Those elements include that the nursing home’s owner or employees breached a duty of care owed to your loved one, that your loved one suffered harm due to this breach, and that the nursing home owner's or employee’s conduct caused the harm.
You can make this process easier by gathering evidence to support your claim. Evidence may include photos of your loved one’s injuries, statements of nursing home staff or other residents, statements of the victim’s medical providers, or documentation of the victim’s finances (in the event of financial exploitation).
Meanwhile, our lawyers will also work to prove your claim of nursing home neglect. Doing so may include finding someone to offer expert medical testimony, showing that a breach of contract occurred, and proving that the nursing home did not meet minimum standards of care. We are familiar with all the statutes and regulations in Georgia that may be relevant to your case.
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How Long Does a Nursing Home Neglect Case Take?
Nursing home neglect settlements can often be reached in a few months. However, it does not always happen so quickly. A variety of factors can slow down the settlement negotiation process in a nursing home neglect case.
If a fair and reasonable settlement cannot be reached, it may be in your best interest to take the case to trial. It can take several years for a nursing home lawsuit to go all the way to verdict. With that in mind, the justice and compensation obtained in a successful outcome are often worth the wait.
Will I Subject My Loved One to More Abuse or Neglect if I Complain?
This is a common concern among people who have found evidence that their family member is being mistreated while residing in a nursing home. Fortunately, all states have a system for reporting allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of the elderly.
Under this system, adult protective services may get involved and work to prevent the problems from recurring. Our attorneys can provide more details about how this process works.
If you believe that your loved one is in immediate danger, you should remove them from the facility as soon as possible. Contact your local authorities or adult protective services for help.
Does Nursing Home Abuse Handle Assisted Living Facility Abuse and Neglect?
Elder abuse and neglect in assisted living facilities is a widespread issue. However, state rules for reporting and investigating elder abuse in assisted living are often weaker than the federal rules that exist for nursing homes.
If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated during their time at an assisted living facility, it is important to report it, take steps to ensure their safety, and contact our lawyers to learn about your potential legal remedies. You may be able to recover compensation and help protect other residents of the facility from future harm.
When to Contact an Attorney if You Suspect Nursing Home
Abuse Proving nursing home abuse can be very time-sensitive. For that reason, you should contact an attorney as soon as you suspect that your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home. Our experienced lawyers know how to collect evidence such as photographs and witness testimony. We are also familiar with your loved one’s rights as a nursing home resident. Our attorneys will work to ensure those rights are protected while seeking compensation for their damages.
Schedule Your Free Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Consultation
Elder abuse cases are incredibly personal and emotionally difficult. You need a qualified attorney who can provide you with both compassion and diligence. When you contact the Law Offices of Humberto Izquierdo, Jr., PC, you will receive the personalized attention your case deserves.
Our attorneys work on a contingency-based fee structure, which means that unless your case is successful, you owe us nothing.
If you or someone you love has been injured while under the care of a nursing home in Atlanta or Marietta, Georgia, please contact us today online or at 770-888-8901 to discuss your case for free. Our entire bilingual Spanish-speaking staff is standing by and ready to help.