How do I know if I have a nursing home negligence case in Georgia?

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Jennifer A. Kurle - Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Jennifer A. Kurle

Located in Decatur, GAKurleLaw, LLC

Decatur, GA
Phone: 404-458-4080
Fax: 678-550-6365

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Nurses are often viewed as angels of mercy, providing the compassionate support and care patients need to recover or live with as little pain as possible. The term is probably a good description for most nursing home staff members too. Unfortunately, it does not fit everyone who works at care facilities.

When you place a loved one in a nursing home in Georgia, you put faith in the staff. You expect them to provide care that helps their patients and residents. However, when a care facility and its staff do not live up to expectations, nursing home residents can get hurt or die. Injuries and death can result from careless – and sometimes cruel – actions. When that happens, you might have grounds for a negligence claim.

Nursing homes and their staff can be held responsible if someone suffered a personal injury or death caused by negligence, neglect or abuse. Many facilities are short staffed. Sometimes they do not investigate their hires appropriately. Staff members also might have acted insensitively or cruel.

What constitutes negligence at a nursing home in Georgia?

Nursing homes and care facilities have a duty to their residents. They should have a plan for everyone in their care. If someone is a fall risk, they should be provided equipment and care that improves their safety. If a resident is confined to a bed, there should be preventative measures in place that includes regularly repositioning the patient.

If the home does not assess needs correctly, or staff members do not follow protocols, there is breach of duty. There is also a nursing home negligence law in Georgia. If there is negligence at the home that causes an injury or death, you might be able to hold the nursing home responsible.

What are the signs of neglect?

Even those who are able to visit a loved one in a nursing home regularly cannot be with them around the clock. If there is abuse or neglect, it is unlikely that you will witness it. However, there are signs that you can look for that may indicate a problem. You should be aware of several changes in your loved one’s physical or mental state, including:

  • Bruises
  • Bedsores
  • Broken bones
  • Change in mood
  • Cleanliness
  • Head/neck injuries
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Resident was injured after wandering away from the nursing home
  • Unexplained weight loss

It is important to note that an injury to a loved one does not necessarily mean there was malpractice, abuse or negligence. If you have concerns and notice the warning signs, there are several steps to take. Your first step should be to hire a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer who has experience handling nursing home negligence cases. Such an attorney can make sure you follow the necessary steps, file the appropriate documents, meet deadlines and collect the needed evidence.

A nursing home negligence attorney can help you:

  1. Get an affidavit of merit. This document, signed by a similarly situated medical professional, indicates that your case has been reviewed. When they sign it, they are stating that your case has merit and should proceed.
  2. Collect evidence. You will have to collect medical records and take pictures of the injuries and scene. You will also need witness accounts, soiled clothes and other things that will support your case.
  3. Hire experienced legal counsel. These cases are complex, and it is vital to build the strongest possible case. You should seek to work with a law firm that has experience and a record of success prosecuting nursing home neglect cases. Some firms advertise that they handle this sort of litigation, but then pass your case on to another firm and collect a referral fee. Make sure the attorney you hire will actually handle your case.

The Nursing Home must fulfill their Responsibilities too

You may be able to hold the nursing home liable if you can find evidence that validates several things. Was there a breach of duty that caused the injury or death? If there was inappropriate behavior, did it cause the injury or death? Were the minimum standards met?

They all are important questions that need to be answered.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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