total nursing homes in Atlanta statistic Substandard, and sometimes even hostile, senior living communities may leave your loved-ones seriously injured, with conditions that could have been easily preventable. Carelessness, neglect, or even intentional assaults cause pain to both the vulnerable adults who are victims and their loved ones who had made the difficult decision to place a beloved family member in a nursing home.

If you are subjected to or have become suspicious of neglect and abuse at a senior living facility, you want to take action and receive Justice for your family. Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are among the most serious personal injury claims that a lawyer can handle. We believe your family deserves the best possible legal representation in a nursing home abuse lawsuit or claim. Our Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers can help you today.

The Heartbreak of Watching Your Parents Decline and Transition into a Nursing Home

Witnessing your parents age and decline to a condition where they’re no longer able to live independently is difficult. Many of us eventually resort to depending upon professional care to assist with everyday living, even for ordinary or monotonous tasks for activities like bathing, taking medication, and maintaining proper hygiene. As parents or relatives decline, it is common to seek help for these and other challenges, such as transportation, social interaction, and ensuring our loved ones receive nutritious meals.

Many sons and daughters and other family members have had to figure out how best to care for their aging mother or father or declining relative. However, immediate family members often lack the time, resources, and even emotional strength to take on these tasks for their mom or dad. Understandably, many turn to assisted living community options for solutions.

Many Corporations Claim—But Fail—to Provide Quality Care for Older Persons

Nursing homes may be run by large corporations who advertise themselves as the solution to care for the elderly and infirm, calling themselves geriatrics care specialists. Unfortunately, they often fail in this mission.

Nursing facilities were not designed or intended just for older people in top health. Ideally, nursing homes should be equipped to help care for residents already declining from common diseases or health problems. It is well known that many patients will have illnesses like dementia, alzheimers, parkinsons, or atherosclerosis; some have suffered past heart-attacks or stroke, or even cancer. Some are disabled adults or handicapped, and occasionally they are in hospice, no longer able to make simple life decisions. Nursing homes must be ready to care for people who are no longer able to handle all of the usual activities of daily living without help.

No longer are nursing homes simply considered a place to house people in their old age until they pass. You and your loved ones deserve more than that. Atlanta nursing homes that promote and advertise that they are the solution to help your family and care for your treasured loved ones must be held accountable to do so.

Example of a nursing home Wrongful Death claim as reported by the AJC Investigative Team, September 2019

There is No Excuse for Abuse or Neglect

You trusted that the nursing home would properly, safely, and compassionately care for your beloved parent or disabled relative. In fact, the company probably promised they would do so.

Because corporate nursing homes promote and sell to the public on this trust, our nursing home abuse attorneys in Atlanta believe that there is no excuse for neglect or abuse by a staff member in an assisted living home whose purpose is to care for elderly adults or disabled persons in a vulnerable or other extreme condition. This is why we find it is important to be personal injury legal advocates for families who have seen first-hand the harm caused by carelessness, negligence, or misconduct.

Definitions of common terms relevant to the abuse, neglect or exploitation of at-risk adults

How to Know if Your Elderly Parent is Experiencing Nursing Home Abuse

By the time they have been admitted to a nursing home or senior living facility, many nursing home residents have already begun experiencing a mental decline caused by an injury or age-related illness. Detecting if and when they have been abused or neglected behind closed visitor doors can be a challenge.

Some issues to look for and questions to ask your provider include:

  • Are there any visible or unexplained internal injuries? For example, if there has been a fracture, like a broken hip or neck, how did it happen? If there is no plausible explanation, perhaps there has been neglect or abuse by the medical personnel or another resident at the home.
  • Are there any new or recent scars or sores? Permanent scars may result from broken skin-related abuse or neglect cases. For example, bed sores are a common sign of neglect or abuse. These sores, known as decubitus ulcers, can occur when a disabled or senior resident is left in a bed without being turned, rotated, or otherwise properly cared for over an extended or long period of time.
  • Have infections been ignored or are getting worse rapidly? Residents sometimes require prescribed wound care for skin damage—but this is often neglected in an understaffed nursing home. Elderly residents require attention and medicine for conditions like bone, blood, soft tissue, respiratory, and urinary tract infections. Poorly trained or negligent staff can ignore residents’ infections until it is too late, which can be deadly.
  • Has there been a complaint of sexual abuse? Unfortunately, sexual assault and even sexual molestation (rape) does happen behind closed doors. Not all nursing homes do adequate background checks, enabling perpetrators to be employed by them. Furthermore, sexual abuse or attacks by staff or by one resident upon another can happen if the center is negligently or improperly managed, supervised, and staffed.
  • Are there strange transactions taking place in the accounts of your elderly parents? Fraud or financial exploitation is another type of abuse that can take place in assisted living homes. In some poorly run homes, direct care staff have stolen from or exploited vulnerable residents. This even includes Medicare fraud.
  • Is the room overheated or not heated at all when you visit? Poor supervision or building maintenance has, in some cases, caused hypothermia or hyperthermia or even heat stroke in a frail elder. Although it can be expensive to cool or heat buildings here in Georgia, there is simply no excuse for not providing a safe and comfortable place to live.
  • Do you recognize any negative traits about staff members? Do you hear vulgarity from employees when they are talking to each other? Are they making any threats? Do they call people names? Do they yell at or insult other residents? Verbal harassment or mental abuse is often a “silent problem” because it usually does not take place in front of a resident’s visitors. If you hear vulgar or abusive language, you should report this to management or other authorities immediately.
  • Are you noticing poor physical or oral health with your family member? Malnutrition is a form of neglect and can result in suffering or an earlier death. Physical health can decline from not being bathed consistently, or with missed scheduled toileting—a sign of abandonment.
  • Is your loved one now in a vegetative or paralyzed state, for no logical reason? There may have been a preventable spinal or head injury accident from a fall or an intential act of physical violence. An investigation may be needed to determine whether the probable cause of the injury was nursing home neglect or abuse.
  • Is there unusual behavior, such as mood swings or expressions of fear? These can be warning signs that a resident has been the victim of physical or emotional abuse.

If you suspect, experience, or witness injuries similar to these listed, or other acts of egregious behavior, it is important to investigate promptly. Our Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers can help you or your family today by checking out the facility and reviewing records or consulting with doctors or other experts to discover if abuse or neglect has occurred.

There is no charge to consult with us and no legal fee unless we recover money in your case.

How Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Can Level the Playing Field

Nursing home companies are usually defended by top-notch defense lawyers. Often the challenge is not simply creating a report, making the claim, or filing suit—it is actually proving abuse happened to your family member. There are many obstacles involved in proving an abuse or negligence case against an Atlanta area nursing home company.
After a serious incident, it is likely that the nursing home’s risk managers or legal team will encourage the staff not to speak with you. And, receiving and reviewing facility records may be difficult without your own team with knowledge of the legal procedures and legal process necessary to gain access to critical evidence.

Victims of elder abuse or neglect are often unable to explain what happened to them due to infirmity, illness, or death. Additionally, nursing and long-term care facilities are no longer only for older residents. It is more and more common for persons recovering from serious head injuries, wound care, or surgery to spend time in a nursing facility.

A silent plaintiff does not mean, however, that there is no hope or that you do not have a strong case. Proper investigation—by reviewing records, interviewing or deposing witnesses and employees, and hiring the best experts—can help discover the truth, even if your parent or loved one is not able to explain or understand what has happened.
We can help you prove that neglect and malpractice can, and does, happen in cases involving both elderly and younger patients.

Proving Neglect through Rules, Regulations, and Detailed Investigation

Georgia nursing homes and short and long term care facilities have mandates to follow certain laws and many special statutes, rules, and regulations. However, the unfortunate reality is that due to under-staffing, poor training and hiring practices, and sometimes a lack of empathy, those nursing home regulations and standards of care are not always followed, and our senior citizens and other vulnerable patients suffer needlessly.

Because the burden of proving that the company or staff acted in a negligent or reckless way, our nursing home neglect attorneys typically begin by thoroughly investigating the facility as well as the owners of the nursing home, and by reviewing the resident’s medical and nursing records. We look for violations of safety standards and evidence of negligence or intentional misconduct.

The nursing home or assisted care facility will be put on notice of your claim and requests will be made to preserve documents and records under penalty of law so that critical evidence does not disappear. Your records and the appropriate laws and regulations will be reviewed by our attorneys and negligence experts to determine the violations and the strength of your case.

No Up-Front Fees • Our Law Firm Works on a Contingency Basis

Unlike some national law firms, The Millar Law Firm and our lawyers handle nursing home and assisted living facility cases on a contingent fee basis. This means we are only paid legal fees if we recover money for you or your family.

There is no charge for our consultations or investigations.

Our firm reviews nursing home abuse and neglect cases at no charge. That is, there is no charge to consult with our attorneys by telephone or in person, and we never pressure anyone to use our services when you contact us. We will explain your legal options without obligation and arm you with the information you need to decide whether to take legal action.

Our nursing home neglect lawyers have the experience, skill set, and knowledge of nursing home abuse and neglect laws to analyze your case and begin helping you as soon as possible. The company about which you are concerned will have its own nursing home abuse lawyers standing by to defend its misconduct. You need a powerful legal team on your side.

Common Issues We Identify In Nursing Home and Assisted Living Cases

Negligent Care Planning. One of the first things that our legal team does is review the care plan put together by the facility’s staff. Was the plan appropriate and was it followed? Many times, we discover that the nurses and staff members of the home or care facility—and sometimes even the doctors—are not following the care plan. This can sometimes be the root cause of the neglect.

Unsafe and Under staffing. Nurse-to-resident ratios at nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are often dangerously unsafe. According to surveys undertaken at nurse.org, staff-to-patient ratios in some Georgia nursing home and nursing facilities are reportedly as high as 50:1 for nurses and 30:1 for certified nursing assistants. Such ratios pose an extreme risk to residents.

The law in Georgia requires that there be at least one licensed or registered nurse on staff during each nursing shift as well as one doctor, an RN, and a dentist. We have found that these requirements are not always being met.

Under staffing is a major problem in the nursing home industry, contributing to much abuse and neglect. We expect this problem only to become worse due to additional loss of staff caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Resident Physical and Sexual Abuse. Incidents of physical abuse by fellow-residents and by improperly hired or supervised facility staff members are shockingly common. After investigation, we find that most of these events should and would have been prevented by having correct resident-to-staff ratios and properly trained and qualified workers.
Failure to Supervise and Protect Residents. A huge number of injuries occur because patients wander around or elope from (leave) the facility. Other injuries result from the failure to assist patients to the restroom or shower, or failure to have bed-rails or other protective equipment in place or correctly positioned. We find that many of these incidents should have been easily prevented.

Improper Patient and Resident Reporting. Nurses and other members of the center’s staff are required to monitor the physical and mental condition of residents, and report on their condition to senior staff and the resident’s doctor even if he or she is not in the facility. Failures to monitor patients and document or report on their condition is a common cause of injury, infection, malnutrition, or death.

Cover-Ups. When a resident is injured—particularly a patient with diminished mental capacity—some nursing homes and staff cannot resist the temptation to alter or destroy records and evidence, or to lie about how the resident was injured. Fast, thorough, and detailed investigation combined with expert witness review of the records and facility can often detect such cover-ups. Evidence that a nursing home or nursing care facility has covered-up an incident can lead to increased civil, or even criminal, penalties.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in an Atlanta, Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Case?

In Georgia, victims of nursing home or skilled nursing facility neglect or abuse may recover damages for pain and suffering, wrongful death, mental and physical trauma, costs of hospitalization and medication, loss of enjoyment of life, and in some cases, punitive damages for intentional, reckless, or outrageous conduct by the company or its staff.

Even if the victim is elderly or retired, damages are available. In fact, we believe that damages are even more important when our most vulnerable citizens are negligently injured or abused.

Types of Damages That Are Awarded In Atlanta Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits

Some examples of damages and compensation that have been recovered in claims against nursing home facilities include:

  • Economic damages
  • Cost of ambulance transportation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Damages for wrongful death
  • Bills and expenses for hospital stays
  • Surgeries and surgical costs
  • Nursing home and in-office doctor visits
  • Costs for medical testing, such as MRI scans, CT imaging, X-Rays, and blood work
  • Prescription medication
  • Physical therapy, wheelchairs, and assistive devices
  • Future medical care
  • Punitive damages for gross negligence or intentional malfeasance

How Are Atlanta Nursing Home Cases Settled or Resolved?

Like other types of injury claims, most Georgia nursing home neglect and abuse cases are resolved through settlement or by a court judgment or trial verdict. Each case is different and will need to be evaluated as to whether settlement or trial is best.

After investigation, many nursing home abuse cases are settled with the permission of the victim or the family. Settlement can take place before or after a lawsuit is filed. Usually, efforts are made to settle without filing suit, with the nursing home abuse lawsuit being filed in court and taken before a judge and jury if and when the parties cannot agree on settlement amounts and terms.

Cases involving intentional or outrageous conduct—such as gross negligence, physical or sexual abuse, or when a nursing facility has a bad history—will often be evaluated differently, and at a higher-value, than cases where the negligence was the result of a non-intentional error or single mistake.

In all cases, the client has the ultimate authority to decide whether to settle or take the case to trial. If a case is filed, you will become a plaintiff and a lawsuit will be filed in a civil court (most likely a State or Superior Court in Georgia). The defendants or opponents will be the nursing home and, very likely, one or more staff members, managers, employees, or facility doctors who were the perpetrators, breached a legal duty, or were otherwise responsible for causing the injury or committing the tort.

When it comes time to decide about settlement or letting a judge or jury decide the outcome of your case, in our practice you will be given all the information necessary, as well as the advice of our team’s many years of experience, to make the decision best for you.

Should You Hire a Nursing Home Abuse Case Attorney?

Some cases do not require an attorney. Chances are you do not need to hire a lawyer to handle a minor traffic ticket or small claims court case. Nursing home neglect cases are different. There is little chance you will receive justice or get paid a fair settlement, compensation for your damages, or a fair verdict without an experienced legal advocate on your side.

The vast majority of skilled nursing facility and nursing home cases will require legal experience. You must send the appropriate legal notices and evidence preservation requests to the facility, obtain and review medical records and nursing notes, investigate thoroughly and with knowledge of the rules and regulations governing nursing home operations and staffing, and have access to expert witnesses. Attorneys who specialize in nursing home negligence and mistreatment cases are prepared to do these things and make the necessary investments of time, expertise, and money needed to win your case.

If and when you do hire an attorney, ask questions. Does your attorney and law firm have experience in handling nursing facility negligence cases and the necessary staffing and resources? Many nursing homes are run by large corporations with deep pockets. It is likely that you will need experienced and well-funded counsel on your side.

How We Work For You in a Nursing Home Lawsuit

Our law firm regularly handles nursing home claims and litigation across the Atlanta area and the State of Georgia. We are also trial lawyers. While most injury cases do settle, we prepare each case as if it will go to trial. We are ready to take our cases to trial if settlement cannot be reached. This is the only way to achieve top results.

Some of the things that we will do while investigating and handling your case include: gathering evidence such as reviewing medical records, facility records and policies, photographs and photographic evidence, witness statements, and video camera recordings; hiring and working with top experts to determine exactly what happened in the nursing home; obtaining records to prove whether the nursing home has a past history of abusing or neglecting patients; inspecting the care center; conducting discovery and taking depositions of the staff and company management; and determining what all of your losses are.

What Are Some Other Benefits Of Bringing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?

While legal claims may not always be thought of as “beneficial,” as attorneys we believe one of our missions is stopping future abuse and neglect.
Legal claims can benefit not only your family by recovering well-deserved damages, but also others, for they have the potential to improve the quality of care—meaning the quality of life—for other nursing home residents in Atlanta. Lawsuits and legal claims may force medical and nursing providers to improve their services and prevent future nursing home incidents from happening.

In some cases, such as extreme physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, civil lawsuits may have been responsible for stopping and preventing future crimes. Nursing home sexual assault and molestation are serious misdemeanors and felonies. Evidence gathered in civil cases can sometimes lead to criminal charges or prosecutions.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Interesting Fact: Georgia’s nursing home resident population is currently an estimated 33,000 residents—ranked 15th in the nation for largest population of nursing home residents. With 13.9 percent of Georgia’s population over the age of 65, it’s expected that nursing home attendance will double by 2030.

Free Consultations For Nursing Home Cases

The Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers of The Millar Law Firm represent the family members and victims of nursing home negligence and abuse. We believe that all residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes have the right to be free from injury caused by neglect or abuse.

Elder abuse and neglect claims and cases against nursing homes that our law firm handles include: negligent and intentional injures caused by falling, staff or resident abuse, malnutrition, bed sores, falls, broken bones, malpractice, and wrongful death.

If you would like to know more, or would like to know what a nursing home case for yourself or your family may be worth, our consultations are free. Contact us today and you will be able to speak with an attorney today, in-person, by telephone or by video conference.

Even if you are not sure if you have a case, we are here to answer your legal questions. There is no charge or obligation, and we will never pressure you to sign-up for or hire our services. Call us today at 770-400-0000 (that’s “770-4-Million”) and chat with us or use our quick contact form.

Investigating a Nursing Home

Georgia Nursing Home Directories

State of Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Resources

Federal Government Nursing Home Abuse Resources

Georgia Statewide – Non Profit Organizations for Elder Abuse

Filing a Complaint