Nursing Home Abuse-Unexplained Bruises, Cuts, or Burns
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a common problem that often goes undetected and unreported. For those with a loved one in a nursing home, it is important to be alert for signs and symptoms, such as unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns. If you suspect that your loved one has experienced either neglect or abuse in a nursing home, consider contacting The Mark Casto Law Firm at 1-706-450-7071. With over 20 years of experience, our nursing home abuse attorneys act as a strong legal advocate on behalf of clients in these cases, and ensure their legal rights are projected and they receive justice.
What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?
For older adults, nursing home care provides medical attention, assistance with daily tasks, and the social interaction they need. Unfortunately, it can also put them at risk because of their weakened physical state. The National Council On Aging (NCOA) reports that elder abuse is a common problem, impacting up to five million older adults each year. This translates into one out of every ten people over the age of 60. Residents of nursing homes are particularly vulnerable and among the most likely victims.
Nursing home abuse can occur at the hands of medical providers, personal care aides, other residents or among facility staff members or administrators. Nursing home abuse involves any type of action or inaction that either intentionally or unintentionally causes harm or places an elderly resident at risk. Common types of nursing home abuse include:
Hitting, punching, pushing, scratching, and other acts of physical violence are meant to inflict pain and are often the cause of unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns on victims.
Emotional abuse can involve name calling, put downs, intimidation tactics, threats, general harassment, and ignoring or isolating residents. While it does not leave physical marks, it can still cause great suffering for victims.
This type of abuse involves inappropriate behavior and any type of sexual interaction that occurs without the older adult’s full knowledge or consent. It includes rape as well as sexual harassment, groping or fondling, making sexually-based comments, and taking explicit pictures.
Financial abuse may involve stealing money or personal belongings from residents, identity or credit card theft, and forgery. It includes financial exploitation, such as when abusers convince vulnerable residents to grant them access to financial accounts or leave them in their will.
Neglect is another form of nursing home abuse. It includes withholding essential services, such as food, medical care, and help with grooming or other personal needs, and depriving residents of social interaction.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
According to the Georgia Department Of Human Services, nursing home abuse is a widespread problem that too often goes unreported and undetected. Unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns are some of the most obvious signs of elderly abuse in nursing homes. These injuries may appear in areas that are not normally visible, such as on the back, torso, genitals, or legs. Look for areas of discoloration and swelling, as well as for scars, cuts, or scratches that may be infected or slow to heal. Other signs of nursing home abuse may be more subtle. These include:
- Changes in personality, such as increased anxiety or bouts of depression;
- Being increasingly withdrawn and interacting less with other nursing home residents;
- Becoming nervous or agitated when a particular medical provider or staff member is near;
- Untreated medical problems and a general worsening condition;
- An unkempt appearance and the presence of bed sores;
- An increase in ‘accidental’ injuries;
- Missing property and unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts.
How a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) provides licensing and oversight for nursing homes throughout the state. If nursing home abuse or neglect is suspected, it is important to get the older adult to a safe place and to notify the nursing home owner or administrator and the DCH right away. An experienced Georgia nursing home abuse attorney can help you in this process and advise you on your rights in filing a claim.
Nursing home administrators, doctors, and staff members owe a duty of care to nursing home residents and their families. When they fail in this duty and nursing home abuse or neglect happens, they can be held liable for losses suffered as a result. At The Mark Casto Law Firm, our nursing home abuse attorneys take the legal actions needed to hold nursing home abusers accountable in these types of cases. This includes:
- Obtaining statements from the victim and others involved;
- Gathering medical records and other evidence in the case;
- Sending legal notices to the nursing home, informing them off the situation;
- Aggressively negotiating with the nursing home’s insurance company;
- Filing a lawsuit against those at-fault if a reasonable insurance settlement cannot be reached.
Damages Available For Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
Under Section 9-3-33 of the Georgia Code, a victims has up to two years to file a lawsuit in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. Compensation, referred to as ‘damages’, available in a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Georgia includes:
- Relocation costs for transfer to another nursing home;
- Coverage of current and future medical treatment your loved one requires as a result of the abuse;
- Transportation costs for visits to doctors and hospitals;
- Compensation for the pain, suffering, and any physical scarring the victim suffers
- Compensation for long term disabilities that occur due to the abuse.
In cases where nursing home employees or administrators were particularly negligent in providing for resident care or allowing abuse to go unchecked, punitive damages may be available. This is an additional amount awarded to the victim that is designed to punish the nursing home and its employees for their behavior.
Learn How an Experienced Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help Your Family Receive Justice
Unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns are symptoms of nursing home physical abuse, one of the many types of harm residents can suffer in nursing homes. At The Mark Casto Law Firm, our experienced attorneys act as a strong legal advocate on the side of nursing home abuse victims and their families, holding those at fault accountable. Serving Columbus, Harris County, and the surrounding areas and all of Georgia, call 706-450-7071 or contact our Georgia nursing home abuse attorney online for a free Strategy Session.