Nursing homes should provide comfort and refuge for loved ones in Athens. Unfortunately, some facilities allow harmful neglect or abuse. If a family member has suffered in this way, you likely have a legal case.
You can learn your options by talking to a nursing home abuse attorney in Athens. At John Foy & Associates, we’ll go over your rights during a free case review. You pay no fee unless we win you money.
Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started for free.
How Much Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?
According to ConsumerNotice.org, average nursing home abuse settlements can range from $50,000 to $250,000. However, some verdicts are much higher – even millions of dollars. Settlements depend on factors like:
- The victim’s total damages
- The strength of the case
- Legal representation
- Wrongful death damages (if the loved one died)
It’s impossible to estimate a case value from a Google search. You’ll want to speak with an attorney who specializes in these types of claims. The lawyer will evaluate your situation and give you the best assessment.
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How do You Prove Nursing Home Abuse?
Any personal injury claim requires proof. Unfortunately, that puts a heavy burden on the victim to prove what happened to them. In the case of nursing home abuse, the victim’s family usually handles the legal details.
The different elements of proof include:
“Liability” is a legal term for responsibility. When someone’s actions injure another person, the first person may be liable for the costs.
Nursing homes and other care facilities have a “duty of care” to keep residents safe. If that doesn’t happen, the facility has been careless or “negligent.” When a resident suffers harm, the facility or owner might be responsible for the victim’s damages.
You will need to prove how the company is liable. Examples of abuse or neglect include:
- Not providing enough food or water
- Failing to move the resident often enough (leading to injuries like bedsores)
- Isolating a resident from others
- Restricting a resident’s activities
- Failing to hire or train employees adequately
- Not providing satisfactory security
- Hitting or restraining a resident
- Sexual abuse of a resident
- Financially exploiting a resident
To prove liability, you’ll need to gather proof of the wrongdoing. Evidence like pictures, videos, medical records, and witness testimony can help show what happened.
You will need to show that the victim’s damages happened because of abuse or neglect. In many cases, the nursing home or insurance company will argue against that claim.
Most nursing home residents have ailments that prevent them from living alone. So, the company might try to say that the injuries or death happened because of pre-existing illnesses. To fight this, you’ll need to show that the victim only suffered damages because of the abuse.
Your claim will also need to detail all of the victim’s damages. According to OCGA §51-12-2, personal injury damages have two categories:
1. Economic Damages
Economic losses are the financial costs of the harm. These damages include:
- Medical bills
- Future treatment costs
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
- Mental health counseling
- Physical therapy
- Property damage
Lost income is also a type of economic damages. However, nursing home residents rarely have regular wages.
2. Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic losses are about how the injuries affect the victim’s life. Examples include:
- Fear, depression, or anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Embarrassment or shame
These damages are harder to calculate. Since they have no dollar amounts, your lawyer will determine a fair monetary value for pain and suffering.
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are available when there has been malicious or reckless behavior. Since nursing home abuse can involve these types of actions, talk to your lawyer about the possibilities. Proving abuse or neglect takes time and evidence.
But don’t give up on seeking justice. At John Foy & Associates, we’ll handle the details while you spend time healing. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case, and the consultation is free.
What Is the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?
In Georgia, you must bring a lawsuit within two years of the abuse. Other states will have different laws for deadlines. If you miss the filing period, you probably won’t be able to recover money.
(However, if you’re worried about missing the deadline, don’t give up. Call us to speak with an attorney about your options.)
The statute of limitations for abuse can be a gray area if you don’t know when the behavior started. Generally, the clock starts ticking once the family knows (or should have known) about the abuse injuries. You might have more time even if the injuries occurred earlier.
How to Identify Abuse in a Nursing Home
Abuse or neglect isn’t always obvious. The resident might be scared or ashamed to mention anything to the family. The abuser could also intimidate the resident into staying silent.
Family members should watch for any signs of potential neglect or abuse. If you suspect abuse, here are the three main types:
- Physical abuse (like hitting, shoving, using restraints, or scratching): These are violent acts that cause temporary or permanent injuries.
- Emotional abuse (like insulting, shouting at, threatening, or bullying): The resident might have no physical injuries but suffer mental and emotional harm.
- Sexual abuse (like assaulting, groping, or forcing sexual acts): The abuser might use physical harm, emotional abuse, threats, or intimidation.
Neglect is also a type of abuse. Examples include poor hygiene or personal care, lack of supervision, dehydration or starvation, and isolation. Common signs of abuse include:
- Broken bones
- Scratches or lacerations
- Bruising or external bleeding
- Unexplained falls
- Torn or dirty clothing
- Fear, anxiety, or depression
- Other changes in mood or behavior
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Malnutrition or dehydration
Many nursing home residents cannot advocate for themselves. But family members can take action if they know about or suspect abuse. If you think a nursing home has victimized a loved one, do not wait to take action.
Speak with an Athens Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Free
Obtain the legal help you need today. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.