Many years ago, before we had nursing home, the elderly lived at home until they died. Their children or community volunteers would make sure they were well taken care of. Other less fortunate older people would end up in institutions or old-age homes. Over the last couple of decades, however, nursing homes became more popular. Rather than staying home with their families, older people were placed in nursing homes and left to be taken care of by strangers.
With the advent of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, people have come to rely more and more on professional caretakers. Many medical professionals enjoy what they do and love taking care of their patients. Unfortunately, there are also many who don’t care about their patients or take their jobs seriously.
It’s hard to imagine somebody wanting to hurt an elderly person. What runs through somebody’s mind when they decide to abuse an elderly person? It’s cruel and heartless. And, when it happens, the family doesn’t usually learn about it until much later. The family believes their loved one is being taken care of and has no reason to suspect the abuse.
Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Will Get Your Family Justice
Sadly, it can take months or even years to learn that an elderly person is being abused. Usually, it isn’t until a nursing home resident is sent out to the hospital that the abuse is discovered. An emergency room nurse or physician notices bruises or broken bones and believes it is suspicious. They will usually consult with other medical professionals to determine if the injuries are indeed caused by abuse. Once they confirm their suspicions, they notify the patient’s family of their discovery.
Can you imagine getting that phone call? You think your mom or dad is safe in their nursing home bed and instead, you find out that they’re in the emergency room. Not only are they in the hospital, but the doctors have also learned that they have been abused. It is unfathomable. It’s hard to imagine why anybody would want to hurt your mom or dad.
The first thing you need to do is go check on your parent. The second thing you need to do is contact a Smyrna nursing home abuse attorney.
You are going to want to do a few things to protect your loved one:
- Get your loved one moved to a different facility. The hospital social workers should be able to help you do this. Your nursing home abuse lawyer may also have some recommendations.
- Document your parent’s injuries. Take pictures of any bruises or obvious injuries.
- Get documentation from the emergency room physicians of any injuries or illnesses.
- Contact the nursing home administrator and let him know your loved one will not be returning to his facility.
It’s important that you put the nursing home on notice right away. Follow this up with written correspondence and a phone call from your nursing home abuse lawyer. They will probably try to cover up any evidence of abuse, however, you do want them to know you’re aware of what’s happened.
What Types of Abuse Do Smyrna Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Handle?
There are many different types of nursing home abuse. Most abuse is suffered at the hands of nursing home staff. Nurses and aides are either careless or intentionally harm your loved one. There are also instances where nursing home residents are abused by other patients. In these cases, your nursing home abuse lawyer will also want to hold the nursing home responsible. It is the duty of the nursing home to ensure that your parent is safe. If they allow other residents to injure them, they are not fulfilling their duty.
Even if a nursing home is not aware of the abuse, your nursing home abuse lawyer can prove that they should be. Even a cursory examination of a resident would reveal most cases of nursing home abuse. People who are older bruise easily. It’s difficult to abuse an elderly person without there being some signs of the abuse.
Some nursing homes have a bad reputation when it comes to abuse. Your Smyrna nursing home abuse attorney will know which homes fall into this category.
He has handled many nursing home abuse cases in the past, including:
This type of abuse involved any type of force being used against a nursing home resident. It usually involves slapping, punching, kicking, and shoving. There are also less obvious types of abuse such as over-medicating, using painful restraints, and dropping a patient.
It is horrible to imagine this happening to your loved one, but sexual abuse does happen in nursing homes, and it can be at the hands of staff or other residents. It doesn’t always involve actual sex with the patient, and it can be forcing the patient to watch pornography or having sex in a patient’s room while they are in there. Smyrna nursing home abuse lawyer will make sure all parties are held responsible for sexual abuse of the elderly.
This may actually be the most common type of elderly abuse. We say “may” be the most common because it is hard to detect. Many older patients are not able to communicate as well as they’d like. It can be hard for them to let us know that they are suffering. Emotional abuse can be verbal or non-verbal. Here are examples of each type of emotional abuse:
There can be obvious types of verbal abuse. There can also be more indirect forms of verbal abuse. Verbal abuse usually involves:
- Yelling at the patient
- Blaming the resident for things they didn’t do
- Calling the resident horrible names
- Humiliating the resident
- Threatening the patient
This type of abuse is hard to detect. It can just as harmful to the resident as physical abuse. It is just harder for your nursing home abuse lawyer to prove. Examples of non-verbal abuse include:
- Ignoring the patient or pretending you don’t hear their needs
- Saying and doing things to purposely scare the patient
- Keeping the resident from visiting with family and friends
Your Smyrna nursing home abuse lawyer is going to have to gather evidence to prove the abuse. It is not an easy task. He will be dealing with nursing home staff who are reluctant to divulge information. Other residents aren’t always helpful because they may not be able to communicate what they have seen. Residents are also afraid that if they do say anything, they will be abused as well.
Your Smyrna Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Will Get Your Loved One the Compensation They Deserve
It’s hard to place a value on something like dignity. This is why it can be difficult for your Smyrna nursing home abuse lawyer to evaluate your case. In cases of physical abuse, it’s possible to determine the extent of your loved one’s injuries. If the abuse is emotional, however, it is much harder to determine damages. Regardless of the type of abuse, your nursing home abuse lawyer is going to make sure the nursing home is held responsible.
These cases are unique because the victim is your loved one – not you. It’s almost as if you are handling a case on behalf of a child rather than a grown adult. Many nursing home residents are not competent to handle their own affairs. Furthermore, people who abuse the elderly like to choose victims who can’t tell anybody what’s going on. This means that many victims are unable to tell their family members what is happening. They are also not able to represent themselves for legal purposes.
If you are the power of attorney for your loved one, you can handle the legal issues on their behalf. They will still be named as the plaintiff, but you will be the one communicating with the Smyrna nursing home abuse lawyer. There are victims who are quite capable of handling their own affairs. If this is the case, they can meet with the nursing home abuse lawyer and take charge of their own case.
What Types of Damages Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Get Your Loved One?
If your loved one is abused while in a nursing home, you are going to want to demand compensation. Your Smyrna nursing home abuse lawyer will demand that the nursing home compensate your loved one for the abuse. It’s hard to assess damages in these types of cases.
However, there are still basic types of damages involved in nursing home abuse cases:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Costs of additional medical care
- Out of pocket expenses for transfer to different nursing home
- Compensation for any personal property taken or damaged
- Mental pain and suffering
You’ll notice that the damages in this type of case are different than most negligence cases. There are no lost wages or future wages to demand. The plaintiff is elderly and is likely on social security. Damages, for the most part, are limited to pain and suffering.
There are times when the nursing home abuse will lead to additional medical bills. If, for example, your loved one is physically injured as a result of the abuse, there could be medical care needed. If a nursing home employee purposely drops your parent and they break their hip, they will require surgery and physical therapy. Most of this should be covered by insurance or Medicare. However, any out of pocket expenses need to be covered by your settlement.
As for mental pain and suffering, it really comes down to a jury. Georgia does allow pain and suffering. It doesn’t distinguish between physical pain and mental pain. It will come down to what your nursing home abuse lawyer can prove.
How Your Smyrna Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Will Prove Damages
The first thing your nursing home abuse lawyer will do is have you file a claim against the nursing home’s insurance. You may also need to file a claim against the individual caregiver’s insurance, depending on their position. Nurses and doctors carry malpractice insurance.
However, there are a few issues with this:
- Malpractice insurance usually doesn’t cover intentional acts
- There are limits on malpractice insurance
- Most caregivers who abuse patients aren’t required to carry any insurance
Therefore, any claim would have to be filed against the company’s insurance policy. If they are willing to settle the case, that is great. Sometimes they are eager to settle the claim to avoid negative publicity. Your Smyrna nursing home abuse attorney is going to remind them of this.
Contact a Smyrna Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you need to contact a Smyrna nursing home abuse lawyer today. You need to focus on taking care of your parent or loved one. Let your nursing home abuse lawyer deal with the insurance company and the defendant.
Your initial consultation with your Smyrna nursing home abuse attorney is absolutely free. It gives you a chance to discuss your case and see how best to proceed. You may or may not want to bring your loved one to your first meeting with your Smyrna nursing home abuse lawyer. It may cause more trauma and this is something you want to avoid.
An experienced Smyrna personal injury lawyer is going to work hard to get your loved one the compensation they deserve. In general. Juries and judges have no tolerance for elder abuse. If your case goes to trial, you can expect to receive a very fair settlement. You should be able to trust that the people in charge of caring for your loved one will do just that. You shouldn’t have to lose sleep at night worrying about how your loved one is being treated. Let your Smyrna nursing home abuse lawyer hold them accountable for this abuse!