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Columbus Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

When we face the difficult decision of choosing a long-term care provider for our elderly family members, we expect that whatever choice we make will provide them with competent care. Unfortunately, the staff at these facilities can make mistakes that may lead to serious injuries or even death.

In some instances, the standard of care falls from simple neglect to intentional abuse. Whether the harm was caused by a doctor, a nurse, or any other staff member, both the offending person and the facility have legal responsibility.

Columbus nursing home abuse lawyers work with the families of residents who have been harmed in nursing homes throughout Georgia, to obtain the compensation that they deserve. Get in touch with an experienced injury attorney to begin your case.

Nursing Home Abuse Laws in Georgia

Georgia law concerning nursing home abuse can be separated into two categories. The first involves intentional actions taken by employees that harm a resident. Examples of this type of behavior include:

  • Assault: Making inappropriate physical contact, or placing a resident in fear of inappropriate physical contact
  • False Imprisonment: Keeping residents inappropriately confined to their room
  • Verbal Abuse: Scolding, screaming at, or berating the residents

All of these acts constitute intentional abuse and have their own individual sets of elements that plaintiffs must be able to prove to win their cases.

Proving Negligence

A second, more common category of abuse, is neglect. Neglect is most commonly pursued under the legal theory of negligence.

Negligence, in short, is when a person has a legal responsibility to protect another person, and when they fail to do so, cause harm to the other person. There are five parts of a negligence claim, all of which must be proven by a plaintiff:

  • Duty – Duty is created when a person has a legally created responsibility to protect another person. All nursing homes, and indeed all medical facilities, have this responsibility for all residents.
  • Breach – A breach of the duty to care for another person is broken when a person acts in a way that causes the protected person to come to harm. This can be through either taking an action leading to harm, or failing to prevent foreseeable harm. Examples here can include poor feeding schedules or improper bathing techniques.
  • Cause – The plaintiff must show that the breach of the duty of care caused the injuries. If the plaintiff suffers from bed sores, they must be able to prove that it was a lack of care that caused the sores and not some other, underlying condition.
  • Scope – The injuries need to be foreseeable given the facts of the case. Since residents in nursing homes are often in an already fragile state of health, almost any injury suffered will be foreseeable.
  • Damages – The plaintiff must have a physical injury. While mental anguish is certainly a concern, by law, it is insufficient to stand on its own in a claim.

Who is Liable in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

Additionally, the negligent or abusive nursing home employee might not be the only defendant. Through a concept of law known as agency, the nursing home itself may also be liable.

For example, if the administration has faulty procedures in place, or hired a worker with a history of abuse, the business itself may be complicit in the injuries.

Also, keep in mind that there is a limited time to file a lawsuit claiming nursing home abuse. According to GA Code 9-3-33, plaintiffs alleging personal injury have only two years from the time of the accident to file suit.

If the abuse resulted in the death of a resident, the limit remains at two years. Time is therefore of the essence in these cases.

How a Columbus Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help

Placing a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult decision. Despite the hours of research and site inspections that we make, the unfortunate fact is that abuse in nursing homes is rampant. Whether the result of intentional abuse or a negligent lack of care, patients who come to harm while in a nursing home’s care have a legal right to seek damages.

Columbus nursing home attorneys are familiar with the signs of nursing home abuse and will work with you and your family to properly evaluate and pursue your case.

Skilled attorneys are at your side every step of the way from investigating the initial claims of abuse, to filing the lawsuit to arguing your case in court. The statute of limitations for these cases is only two years after the abuse is discovered so time is of the essence. Do not delay; contact today.