Placing an elderly relative in a nursing home is never an easy decision. Nevertheless, when you do make the decision, you expect that your relative will receive top-notch care.
When nursing homes abuse or neglect a loved one, you rightly feel outraged.
Fortunately, elderly residents or their families might be able to bring a lawsuit against the nursing home.
At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, we have helped hold many Georgia nursing homes accountable for their misconduct, and we are eager to help you, too.
Duty of Care
Nursing homes owe their residents a duty to properly care for them. This duty is created by Georgia common law, as well as by various federal and state laws and regulations:
- Medicaid and Medicare
- Nursing Home Reform Act
- Older Americans Act
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
Unfortunately, many nursing homes lack sufficient staff, or they inadequately train the staff they do have. Sometimes, nursing homes even hire violent or dangerous employees because they did not adequately screen their candidates as part of the application process.
As a result, many residents are either neglected or abused, and can suffer serious injuries.
Starting a Lawsuit
Lawsuits can be complicated and time-consuming, and concerned family members should not undertake one alone. To begin, you will need to investigate your suspicions of abuse or neglect.
For example, your loved one might have broken a bone or suffered serious bruises because of a fall. If you believe your loved one was neglected, then you will need to collect evidence.
You do not need to launch a full-scale investigation before filing, but you do need a solid factual basis for suspecting abuse or neglect. Your lawyer can help gather witness statements and medical records that help establish the extent of the injuries and the cause.
Your lawyer can then file a lawsuit in an appropriate court, naming the nursing home and any individual staff members as defendants. Each defendant gets to respond to your lawsuit, challenging the allegations asserted.
Moving Toward Trial
After filing a lawsuit, you can engage in more extensive fact-finding in a process called discovery. For example, your lawyer can ask defendants questions under oath, either in writing or as part of a deposition. You can also request documents in the defendant’s possession.
Based on evidence obtained during discovery, your lawyer can fine tune the case or follow up to find additional evidence. Each side might also ask the court to decide the case in their favor without having to go to trial.
We can also enter into settlement negotiations with nursing homes to settle the claim without the expense and delay of a trial. But if a trial is unavoidable, we will line up our witnesses and evidence and take our case directly to a jury.
Nursing homes will aggressively defend themselves from any suggestion that they were negligent or abusive to their residents. For these reasons, you need seasoned nursing home lawyers in your corner from the very beginning.
At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, our team of Athens nursing home lawyers has won multiple awards against nursing homes, including a $950,000 award for a patient who fell. To schedule your free consultation, please call 706-354-4000 today.