Elderly individuals, as they experience limited mobility and health issues, can be especially prone to abuse. Nursing homes are the common setting for abuse, where the elderly are entrusted to the care of health professionals. If you believe a family member is suffering from exploitation and neglect in Atlanta, GA, you need to act swiftly. A crucial and timely action would be to consult with an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney. Despite Georgia state laws protecting the rights of elderly participants in nursing homes, abuses can still happen. An unfortunate fact is that these instances of abuses rarely get reported to the proper authorities. Nursing home abuse is a serious offense. To learn more about your options, talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer in Georgia today.
If you believe you or your loved one has suffered harm as a result of another’s misconduct or neglect, contact an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer at Schneider Hammers. Our personal injury lawyers
are ready to fight for the justice and financial compensation you deserve.
Statistics and Laws against Nursing Home Abuse
The report of the National Council of Aging on elder abuse shows several alarming facts. According to their statistics, 1 out of 10 elderly Americans has experienced abuse. Unfortunately, these abuses — which involve elderly individuals aged at least 60 — rarely get reported. The Council has also shown that only 1 in 14 elderly abuses cases find their way into police reports.
The state government of Georgia has outlined official rules regarding the management of adult day care centers and nursing homes. These rules and regulations ensure the upholding of the rights of the elderly as participants in these nursing homes. One of these participant rights is for the elderly to be treated as an adult with dignity. They also have the right to participate in activities that contribute to their usefulness. Most importantly, they are accorded the right not to be exploited physically, mentally, verbally, and sexually.
The government of Georgia, furthermore, has assigned some individuals the duty of reporting such abuses. The Department of Human Services refers to these individuals as mandated reporters. Some of these mandated reporters are dentists, chiropractors, psychologists, social workers, adult day care personnel, and elderly home employees. The Department advises concerned family members and reporters to look for signs and symptoms of abusive actions. If you feel that your elderly family member is suffering from abuse, you need to act as soon as possible. It is best for you to consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Atlanta, GA immediately.
Types of Abuse and Neglect
Unfortunately, elderly abuse can take on various types. Although physical signs are easier to detect, there are other ways for which abuse may be present. Some of the types of nursing home abuses include:
Physical abuse can take place once or frequently. Although willful abuse such as battery and assault are common, abuse can also happen during daily routines. For example, some caregivers may slap the elderly to force them into taking medications. Or, they may shove an elderly patient to make them stand up or sit down. Physical abuse can be easier to detect than emotional abuse due its outward manifestations. Common indicators of physical abuse are bruises, cigarette burns, abrasions, hair loss, sprains, and many others.
More than just physically assaulting the elderly, abusive nursing home employees may also subject them to emotional cruelty. The most common form of emotional abuse is verbal, where the elderly may be ridiculed, shamed, or yelled at. However, emotional abuse in an Atlanta, GA nursing home can also take form in a non-verbal way. Intentionally isolating the patient from others is a form of emotional mistreatment. Willfully ignoring the reasonable requests of the patient may construe as a form of neglect.
Financial abuse can take many forms, often done in a stealthy manner. Some examples include stealing money or other forms of property, or forcing the elderly patient to sign a check. In other instances, the perpetrator may also forge the signature of the elderly patient as means to acquire funds. Threatening may also be present. A case of financial abuse can involve denying care and assistance unless the patient provides some monetary compensation. Other instances may involve assisting the elderly in committing fraud, such as credit card fraud.
The vulnerable state of elderly patients in nursing homes makes them susceptible to sexual predators. This form of abuse takes place when there is an unwelcome contact on the part of the elderly patient. The elderly may openly refuse the advances or may be unable to refuse due to confusion or disability.
Some examples of sexual abuse are:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Involuntary nudity
- Obscene photography
- Pornography watching
An elderly subjected to sexual abuse may also develop emotional problems and physical or health conditions. The signs of sexual abuse may come in the form of infections, bleeding, genital bruises, and depression. In addition, the patient may withdraw from others and may suffer from increased anxiety.
The intentional or unintentional neglect of an elderly may also count as abuse. This may involve denying the elderly patient of routine care or daily essentials of food, sleep, exercise, and medications. When these actions already result in the harm of the patient, the facility or caregiver can be held liable.
Abuse can happen in the home or in a nursing facility. If you have an elderly family member entrusted to the care of another, you need to monitor their situation. Don’t hesitate to seek for medical and legal help in the event of a suspected abuse.
Seeking Compensation or Restitution
A successful nursing home abuse settlement or lawsuit will most likely result in a financial award. This amount serves as an approximate recompense for the pain, suffering, and other losses inflicted due to the abuse. In the calculation of these damages, the following factors may be relevant:
Some instances of abuse may be so severe that the patient will require hospitalization, medication, or other medical intervention. Factoring of medical costs into the financial compensation may occur during or after litigation. Involvement of theft or financial exploitation may result in factoring of the amount as well. An Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney can ensure that these are all included in the restitution arrangement.
In addition to monetary expenses, there may be other, more subjective losses involved in the case. It’s highly possible for any form of abuse to result in emotional suffering, trauma, and mental anguish. These can serve as quantifiable non-economic damages, the value of which may be factored into the overall amount.
If there is involvement of gross negligence or malicious intent, an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney will provide the most help. If the elderly abuse has resulted in serious disability, loss of limb, or death, you may sue for punitive damages. These damages are over and above the damages which you may fight for in a civil court.
Given the various possible defenses which a liable party may employ to evade responsibility, getting ample legal help is important. More than helping you with financial restitution, an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney can provide compassion and commitment. Talk to a lawyer for your case in Atlanta, GA today.
Settlement or Litigation?
A nursing home abuse case can either be settled through negotiation or through court action. Either way, it will be important for an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney to study the case and its available options. Many cases of reported abuses need not go to trial, due to the presence of an agreeable settlement offer. This doesn’t mean, however, that a nursing home abuse lawyer will no longer pursue court action in some cases.
There are several reasons why your Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney may advise for a settlement rather than litigation. A settlement in Atlanta, GA saves both parties from a lengthy trial, which can drag on for months. A settlement, moreover, is an agreement designed to be beneficial for all parties involved. The plaintiff gets full and fair restitution from the abuse, while the defendant may no longer have to face charges.
A more complex case, however, may not necessarily benefit from a settlement. This may refer to a case where the nursing facility has been found guilty of gross negligence. Your nursing home abuse lawyer will have to review the nature of the case as well as the liability involved. If gross negligence or malicious intent is present, the plaintiffs may pursue compensation as well as punitive damages. The decision to settle or litigate will depend on the unique circumstances of the reported nursing home abuse. Involvement of a loved one’s welfare make the decision not easy. Whichever way you choose to go, you will need the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer in Atlanta, GA.
Why Do I Need an Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
The elderly are among the most vulnerable sectors of society. This defenselessness makes them highly subject to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. What is even more unfortunate is that many exploiters are actually familiar with the abused elderly. Thus, it is has become more common to hear about family members or caretakers neglecting and abusing them. While situations of abuse and exploitation tend to vary, it remains important to seek the help of an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney. The truth is that there are many defenses available to anyone charged with nursing home abuse and exploitation.
Without the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer, the liable party could turn the tables with a strong defense. Some of the defenses for which an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney can help are:
The nursing home employee may deny all charges and claim they are false accusations. False accusations can happen, especially since the elderly patient could be suffering from distorted memory or memory loss. This doesn’t mean, however, that an abuse in Atlanta, GA has not taken place. With the help of an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney, family members can examine their options. It is possible to collect evidence and eyewitness accounts to strengthen the case.
The accused could claim that the act was nothing more than an accident. They could counter that there was no malicious or criminal intent in the act. A nursing home abuse lawyer can examine this defense and its viability. After all, using an accident as excuse may no longer be permissible if it has already happened several times.
Another possible defense to charges of abuse and exploitation is self-defense. The defendant may claim that the act was done as self-protection, especially if the elderly patient has gone violent. While some elderly participants can go through altered moods due to their health conditions, neglect and abuse can still occur. An Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney can help you and your elderly love one deal with such challenging defenses.
Talk to an Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Your Case at Schneider Hammers Today
Georgia laws strictly mandate nursing homes and elderly care centers to carry out their responsibilities without neglect, abuse, or exploitation. If you have reason to suspect that your elderly family member is going through exploitation or abuse, help is available. An Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer can help you evaluate your options, pursue an investigation, or even file a case.
As a concerned family member in Atlanta, GA, you deserve peace of mind. In the same way, your elderly family member deserves quality care and justice, if necessary. Don’t allow a liable nursing home facility get away with abuse. Get in touch with the personal injury attorneys at Schneider Hammers law firm to find the Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney you need.