Residents of nursing homes are guaranteed certain rights that entitle them to the care and treatment they need. When a nursing home’s staff or caregivers fail to uphold these rights and harm residents through abuse or neglect, it often falls upon a victim’s family members to take action.
At Roden Law, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the elderly and defending residents who are provided substandard treatment in a nursing home or assisted living facility. If you believe your loved one has been abused or neglected while residing in a Georgia nursing home, do not hesitate to contact our nursing home abuse attorneys in Savannah for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your claim.
Our Savannah personal injury lawyers are skilled investigators who will help you find out if you have legal options to secure justice and compensation for your loved one’s abusive or neglectful treatment. Our firm’s Founding Partner Eric Roden is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and has dedicated his career to helping victims of injury and negligence obtain the justice they deserve. All of our services are provided at no upfront cost and we only charge our clients if we help them obtain the justice and compensation they deserve.
Call 1-844-RESULTS to schedule a free consultation.
When is a Nursing Home Liable for Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing homes are entrusted with the care and well-being of vulnerable elderly residents. However, when a nursing home fails to uphold its duty to protect its residents because of a negligent or abusive staff member, caregiver, or another resident, it can potentially be held liable for the victim’s injuries.
To bring a successful nursing home abuse claim, you need to show that a nursing home or its employees acted negligently when caring for or treating a resident. This means the nursing home provided substandard service that endangered the resident’s health or safety.
Throughout our experience as nursing home abuse lawyers in Savannah, we often see claims in which a nursing home is liable for neglect or abuse because of:
Nursing homes are obligated to hire staff members who are properly trained and qualified to provide residents the various medical needs and care they require.
This includes hiring staff members who have the proper academic degrees, training and experience and a clear background with no record of abusing residents. If a nursing home fails to conduct a background check on a new applicant, it puts its residents at risk and could be held liable for any resident that is abused or neglected.
Understaffing is one of the main factors that leads to neglect and abuse in nursing homes. When nursing homes have a low staff member-to-patient ratio, it can lead to severe consequences, such as:
- Neglecting residents’ needs: Failing to feed, bathe, medicate or groom residents can lead to them developing sores, infections, malnutrition and adverse medical conditions.
- Abuse of patients: Nursing home staff members who are reported for abusing or neglecting patients often name understaffing as one of the main factors in becoming abusive. This often results from staff members feeling overwhelmed and stressed from being unable to tend to each resident’s needs, leading them to become impatient or use unnecessary physical force when dealing with a resident.
- Neglecting immobile patients: Many elderly people placed in nursing homes are immobile and unable to care for themselves. These residents are dependent on staff members for movement and other physical needs, including turning them over and moving them regularly. This can result in residents developing painful skin conditions and inflictions, such as bedsores and infections.
Many cases of nursing home neglect result from undertrained or unqualified staff members who cannot properly care for at-risk residents. This can result in residents suffering severe medical complications. Because of the risk posed to residents, nursing home staff members and care givers must be adequately trained and qualified to care for residents’ needs.
Many nursing home residents are prescribed medications to treat various illnesses or ailments. If a resident is administered the wrong type of medication or an improper dose, it can result in the resident suffering adverse health effects or death.
Nursing home staff members and caregivers are obligated to know the type of medication and dosage each resident requires. If a resident is harmed or killed because of a medication error committed by a staff member, the nursing home could be held liable.
Breach of Residents’ Rights
Nursing home residents are guaranteed certain rights that entitle them to independence and self-determination. Nursing homes are required by federal law to ensure residents are provided the right to:
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Participate in one’s own health care and living arrangements
- Dignity, respect and freedom
If a nursing home deprives residents of their right to autonomy, it can be held liable.
Nursing homes have a duty to provide a safe environment for their residents. This means a nursing home is obligated to protect its residents from third-party threats within the facility.
For example, if a resident is injured by a guest, intruder or another resident, the nursing home can be found liable if it failed to provide adequate safety measures to prevent the incident from occurring.
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Compensation for a Nursing Home Abuse Claim
No amount of money can change the wrongdoing your loved one has experienced. However, filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit can help hold the facility liable and prevent future abuse and neglect.
If our Savannah nursing home abuse attorneys find that your loved one has a case against the facility, we may be able to help you pursue compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
If your loved one died because of the abusive or neglectful treatment he or she received in a nursing home, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility. Through a Savannah wrongful death lawsuit, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of financial contributions
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of society and companionship
However, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for nursing home abuse or neglect. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date the injury occurred.
This means you have two years after elder abuse occurs to report the incident and file a lawsuit against the at-fault part. If your loved one died as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you also have two years from the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death claim, according to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
If you wait too long to file your case and miss the two-year statute of limitations, you lose the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. For this reason, you should contact a Savannah nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible to discuss filing your case.
Free Case Evaluation form Roden Law today for a free consultation.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Our Savannah nursing home abuse attorneys have investigated claims on behalf of residents who suffer from a variety of types of abuse, including:
Physical abuse in a nursing home occurs when a resident has been subjected to violent or unnecessary use of force. This can result in harming, injuring or causing the resident pain.
Often, nursing home residents are physically abused through physical contact or restraints, such as:
- Assault and battery
- Violently shaking
- Unnecessary restraints
- Pushing or shoving
- Excessive use of sedatives
- Threatening or striking the resident with a heavy object or weapon
Emotional abuse in nursing homes often occurs through verbal threats and degradation. This can result in the resident suffering harmful psychological conditions, such as depression, trauma and anxiety.
Often, emotional abuse directed toward nursing home residents can be verbal or non-verbal, such as:
- Yelling at a resident
- Intimidating a resident
- Threatening a resident
- Humiliating a resident
- Belittling a resident for simple mistakes
- Using a resident as a scapegoat
- Ignoring a resident’s requests or needs
- Unfairly blaming a resident
- Isolating a resident from social activities or interactions with other residents
- Maliciously terrorizing a resident
Financial abuse occurs when the person responsible for monitoring a nursing home resident’s finances and spending habits abuses his or her position by stealing the resident’s funds, property or other assets.
Examples of financial abuse often committed against nursing homes include:
- Using the resident’s funds or property for the abuser’s own benefit
- Cashing the resident’s checks without his or her consent
- Forging the resident’s signature to gain access to his or her funds or possessions
- Taking advantage of a power of attorney for the abuser’s own personal advancement
- Tricking a resident to sign a legally binding document, such as a will or contract
Sexual abuse in a nursing home can occur when a resident is forced or tricked into unwanted or nonconsensual sexual contact. This type of abuse includes making contact with an elderly person who is confused or too ill to give consent.
Some types of nursing home sexual abuse include:
- Unwanted touching
- Sexual assault and battery
- Sexual photography
- Forced nudity
Unfortunately, residents who are most at-risk of being sexually abused are those who suffer from cognitive deficiencies, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Other risk factors for sexual abuse include:
- Social isolation from visitors, friends and family members
- Neglect from caregivers and family members
- Physical disability
If you believe your loved one is being abused in a nursing home in Savannah, do not hesitate to notify the proper authorities. Then, you should contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Savannah as soon as possible to discuss filing a claim.
Call 1-844-RESULTS to discuss your nursing home abuse claim.
How to Identify Nursing Home Abuse
In many cases, victims of nursing home abuse are residents who lack the mental or physical capacity to report their abuser. Additionally, abusers often target victims who lack the cognitive function to understand when they have been abused.
Identifying nursing home abuse is often left to individuals who personally know the victim and are familiar with his or her personality. This often includes the victim’s family members, friends or personal caregiver who regularly interacts with the resident.
The most frequent signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Unusual cuts, bruises, burns or abrasions
- Unexplained injuries
- Bed sores
- Low self-esteem
- Refusing to take medications
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Torn, stained or bloody clothing or bedding
- Open wounds or cuts
- Hair loss
- Slowness or unresponsiveness
- Strange behavior
- Physical or emotional withdrawal
- Unexplained and unusual financial withdrawals
- Disappearance of personal items
In addition to signs of physical or emotional abuse, there may be less obvious indications that your loved one is being abused in his or her nursing home.
If you notice a nursing home resident is fearful or intimidated around certain staff members or residents, or if a staff member refuses to leave you and the resident alone, it may be signs indicating an abusive situation.
You should immediately report any sign of abuse you encounter to the nursing home’s manager or administrative staff. However, if you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you may have other options to file a complaint with a governmental agency or pursue legal action with a Savannah nursing home abuse lawyer.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Contact a Savannah Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you suspect a nursing home resident is being abuse or neglected by a staff member, caregiver or another resident, you should contact a skilled nursing home abuse attorney in Savannah to discuss filing a claim against a negligent nursing home.
At Roden Law, we understand the devastation many families experience after discovering a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home. We fight to protect the rights of vulnerable elderly citizens and are dedicated to ensuring nursing home residents receive the protection and care they need.
During your free, no obligation consultation with one of our Savannah nursing home abuse lawyers, we will review your claim and help you determine if you have a case against your loved one’s nursing home. All of our services are provided at no upfront cost and we only charge clients if we obtain the compensation and justice they deserve.