legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Columbus Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
In a 2020 report, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that over 64% of nursing home staff members admitted to committing abuse or neglect of their residents. Sadly, that number is expected to rise as the elderly population grows.
Nursing home abuse is an issue all over the country, including in Columbus, Georgia. More than 47% of Columbus, Georgia, nursing homes were cited for poor care. While poor care does not automatically indicate abuse or neglect, it increases the risk of such mistreatment.
Was your disabled or elderly loved one a victim of nursing home abuse? Our Georgia nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, can help you recover compensation for your family’s losses.
Call (800) 926-7565 or fill out this contact form for a free consultation with one of our Columbus, GA nursing home abuse attorneys. All sensitive or confidential information our clients share with our nursing home abuse attorneys will remain protected under an attorney-client relationship.What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a single or repeated act that causes physical or psychological harm to elderly or disabled residents in nursing homes and other care facilities. It can result from negligence, carelessness, or malicious acts and can be perpetrated by staff members, visitors, or other residents.
The law defines elder abuse as intentional or unintentional acts that cause physical or mental harm to a person aged 60 and above. Since over 90% of nursing home patients are seniors, elder abuse is the most common form of abuse in nursing homes.Types and Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Abusive behavior against nursing home residents can occur in many ways, including:
Physical abuse involves the physical assault of a patient, resulting in injury, pain, or impairment. It includes violent acts such as kicking, slapping, burning, pinching, shoving, striking, and restraint without medical reasons.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., bruises, cuts, burns, black eyes)
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
- Broken eyeglasses
- Signs of a physical restraint (e.g., bruised wrists)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Emotional or Mental Abuse
Mental or emotional abuse involves verbal or non-verbal acts that harm the resident psychologically. Emotional or mental abuse can involve verbal assault, intimidation, humiliation, and isolation.
Signs of Mental or Emotional Abuse
- Changes in behavior or personality
- Being withdrawn or non-responsive
- Depression or anxiety
- Strange behavior around specific individuals
- Unexplained paranoia
- Weight loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Frequent crying
Sexual abuse involves non-consensual sexual acts with a resident, such as groping, forced nudity, pornographic photography, verbal harassment, and rape.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Unusual behavior
- Unexplained injuries around breasts or genitals
- Sexually-transmitted diseases or genital infections
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Unexplained pregnancy
- Bruising around the groin, thighs, and upper arms
- Difficulty in walking or sitting
Financial exploitation or abuse is the illegal or unauthorized manipulation of a resident’s resources, including bank accounts, credit cards, and valuables. It may involve forged checks, unauthorized bank transactions, and theft of a patient’s belongings.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
- Unexplained bank transactions
- Unauthorized transactions on credit cards
- Missing belongings
- Unnecessary services on the resident’s bill
- Forged signatures on financial documents
Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide for a patient’s basic needs, intentionally or unintentionally, putting the patient’s health and well-being at risk. Neglect may involve failing to provide a patient with food, water, shelter, clothing, activity, and medical care.
Signs of Neglect
- Weight loss
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Untreated health conditions (e.g., pressure sores)
- Inadequate heating or lighting
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Poor hygiene
- Inappropriate clothing for the weather
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., hearing aids, walkers, glasses)
- Accumulation of untaken medication
Sometimes, the signs of mistreatment mimic those of mental illness or--in cases of elderly abuse--dementia. That said, consult a specialist if you are unsure whether your loved one is exhibiting signs of abuse or a mental problem.Causes of Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
Nursing home mistreatment is most likely to occur in facilities with the following issues:
- Understaffing: Some nursing home facilities hire fewer employees to cut costs. However, a lack of employees usually leads to high-stress environments, which increases the risk of mistreatment. Not having enough nursing home staff members to care for all residents also increases incidences of neglect.
- Underqualified or Improperly Trained Nursing Staff: Employees who do not have enough qualifications or were not adequately trained may be less capable of meeting the needs of disabled and elderly residents.
- Poor Management: A lack of organization, accountability and proper scheduling in nursing facilities can increase the risk of mistreatment as employees do not have the structure they need to provide adequate care to all residents.
The following residents are more susceptible to mistreatment in nursing care facilities:
- Patients with physical or mental disabilities
- Women and children
- Patients with access to funds in bank accounts
- Patients not frequently visited by family members
- Patients with additional needs
If your disabled or elderly family member belongs to one or more of these groups, pay close attention to their health and well-being. Better yet, look for nursing homes with the equipment, labor, and infrastructure to meet your loved one’s particular needs.Effects of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Victims of nursing home abuse and their family members often suffer severe or long-term consequences, including:
- Physical injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Depression and anxiety
- Monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or societal ties
- Wrongful death
Victims of elder abuse are especially at risk of injuries, illnesses, and even death due to their vulnerable physical states.
Typical Injuries in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
The following are the most common injuries sustained by victims of nursing facility abuse:
- Cuts, bruises, burns
- Spinal cord trauma
- Hip fractures and other broken bones
- Head injuries
- Bed sores
Do not hesitate to seek help if you think your loved one is being abused or neglected in their nursing home or long-term care facility.
Call the Columbus Police Department to report known or suspected nursing home abuse. The local police will investigate your concerns and remove your loved one from the premises if needed. The police may also file criminal charges if they discover substantial evidence of the abuse or neglect.
You can also contact the following state agencies to report abuse or neglect in a care facility:
- Department of Health Services - Division of Aging Services
- Georgia Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Georgia Department of Community Health - Division of Healthcare Facility Regulation
Call 911 if you think your loved one or another nursing home resident is in immediate danger. Remove them from the premises, if possible.Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Columbus, Georgia
Did you or a family member suffer abuse from a Columbus, Georgia, nursing home? If so, your family can seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim.
Perpetrators of nursing facility mistreatment may include:
- Other residents
The nursing home owner or operator will also be held liable for failing to prevent mistreatment in their facility. If local agencies find evidence of widespread mistreatment, the facility may lose its licenses and certifications.
You can use the following forms of evidence to prove the nursing home’s liability:
- Medical records
- Psychological evaluations
- Photos of your loved one’s physical injury
- Financial records
- Witness accounts from employees or other patients
- Police reports
- Incident reports
- Torn or bloody clothing, broken eyeglasses
- Hospital bills
Our Columbus attorneys will help you gather all necessary evidence to support your claim. If necessary, our legal team will source a medical expert to testify in your case.
By filing a personal injury claim, your family could recover compensation for the following damages:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for the costs of medical care for your loved one’s injuries or illnesses, including hospitalization, medication, therapy, and emergency transportation.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your loved one becomes disabled due to mistreatment. These damages may include loss of quality of life, mobility aids, and physical therapy.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for your loved one’s physical and psychological injuries, such as physical pain and mental anguish.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for your loved one’s loss of enjoyment.
- Punitive Damages: Payment on top of compensatory damages used to punish perpetrators of abuse or neglect for their harmful behavior.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for the economic and non-economic losses resulting from your loved one’s death, including funeral and burial costs, grief, and predeath medical treatment
The Role of Columbus Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Taking legal action against a negligent nursing home requires the help of a skilled attorney who can help you:
- File a claim against at-fault parties
- Collect evidence to support your claim
- Negotiate settlement values
- Manage claim-related paperwork
- File a civil lawsuit against responsible parties, if necessary
After you file a claim against a negligent Columbus nursing home, their insurance company may offer you a settlement outright. However, their settlement offer might not be the value that you deserve. You can accept the payment at this point, but you can no longer sue the facility for additional damages.
Your lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement. However, if negotiations are unsuccessful or the facility denies being responsible for your loved one’s injuries, you could move your case forward to a civil court.
If you file a civil lawsuit, a judge or jury will hear evidence from both sides and decide if the defendant (nursing facility) should pay the plaintiff (you). The court will also determine the value of the settlement.
Our attorneys will help you explore your legal options if litigation is likely to occur in your case.
Statute of Limitations in Georgia
According to Georgia law, victims have two years from the date of the incident or discovery of injuries to file a case. However, the law extends the deadline for certain circumstances, such as:
- If the victim was a minor at the time of the underlying incident
- If the injuries appear later
- If the injuries are caused by medical malpractice
Nursing homes are legally responsible for preventing abuse and neglect within their facilities. If your loved one’s nursing home failed to meet this obligation, you could hold them accountable by filing a personal injury claim.
The Columbus nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC help countless families gain justice by taking legal action against negligent nursing homes. Our skilled lawyers have years of experience fighting for residents' rights in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care settings.
Contact our Columbus, GA, legal team at (800) 926-7565 to schedule a free consultation. All information our clients share will remain confidential under an attorney-client relationship.
Furthermore, our nursing home lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for our services unless we recover financial compensation for your family.