Are you worried that your loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home? Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect occur all too frequently. We want to help you learn more about abuse and neglect so you can help your loved one and take action on their behalf. You will probably find answers to many of your questions on our website. We are here to answer any other questions you have or to discuss the specific details of your situation.
The terms abuse and neglect have different meanings. Abuse refers to an intentional act such as hitting or punching a nursing home resident. Neglect is unintentional but can still result in an injury. For example, a caregiver might forget to give a resident their medication and an injury could result. Regardless of what you call it, this type of harm should never happen to a nursing home resident.
How does a nursing home neglect lawsuit work?
A nursing home lawsuit may be necessary when your loved one was injured or died as a result of neglect in a nursing home. Your attorney will guide the process from start to finish and will let you know everything that is needed on your part. A lawsuit can be filed once your attorney has the information necessary and you have the legal authority to make a claim.
Sometimes a neglect lawsuit can be resolved through negotiations between your attorney and the nursing home’s legal team. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may need to go to court. Your lawyer will help gather all of the documentation necessary and will hire expert witnesses and take care of any other needs. Generally, the attorney will take the case on contingency so you won’t need to pay attorney’s fees until the case is resolved.
Are there options for me other than filing a lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit against a nursing home is just one option. There are other things you can do if your loved one was hurt due to abuse or neglect in a nursing home. Report the incident to nursing home management. They need to be aware of the problem so they can take the appropriate internal action. If the situation was abusive or criminal in nature you may opt to make a police report. The police will perform an investigation and if a crime was committed charges may be filed against the perpetrator.
You may file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Community Health. Their Healthcare Facility Regulation Department investigates the complaint and will take action which may include fining the facility or other actions. Although these options are helpful, they do not offer any significant resolution or justice for your loved one. If your loved one suffered an injury or died due to abuse or neglect, the nursing home and any others who are responsible should be held accountable through legal action.
We are Schenk Smith, your Buford nursing home lawyers.
Our website and our law firm is dedicated to providing you with information about nursing home abuse and neglect. We have experience dealing only with nursing home lawsuits and provide you with the tools and information you need so you can do something about your loved one’s abuse or neglect in a nursing home. We have tried to answer most of the questions we hear most often. We are here to help you.
Our attorneys are knowledgeable about all types of nursing home cases. If you have had a chance to look over the information on our website you may want to give us a call to schedule a free consultation. We will meet you at your location wherever you are located including near Buford City Park, Lanier Museum of Natural History and Shoal Creek Park.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Buford, Georgia- What you need to know.
Buford, Georgia is located in Gwinnett and Hall Counties and has a population of 13,927 residents. Of those, 10.50% are aged 65 and older. Nursing home abuse and neglect occur everywhere, even in Buford.
Can I sue the nursing home on behalf of my loved one?
Most nursing home lawsuits are filed on behalf of a loved one. However, in order to file a lawsuit you must have legal authority to do so. If your loved one is living you may obtain authority through durable power of attorney, a health directive or through legal guardianship. This will allow you to act on behalf of your loved one in all matters including filing a nursing home lawsuit.
If your loved one has passed away a person with legal authority to act on that person’s estate is allowed to file a lawsuit. First, an estate must be established in Probate Court. The court appoints a person to oversee the affairs of the deceased. This person is called an executor or an administrator and has the ability to file a lawsuit if necessary.
The law limits the time to file a lawsuit, even if you are filing it on behalf of someone’s estate. In general, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date the injury occurred or from the date that the injury was discovered. It can take some time to get things in order so the sooner you contact an attorney and get the process started, the better.
What can nursing homes do to prevent falls?
Falls are among the most common cause of injuries among the elderly. Nursing home residents may be weak, unstable, using a walker or have medication that makes them unsteady. Nursing homes need to be aware of these issues and must still provide a safe and secure environment for their residents. Some of the ways that nursing homes can prevent falls include:
- Provide adequate staffing: Understaffing is likely a common reason that nursing home residents fall. When a resident needs help getting around or even going to the bathroom, sometimes they can’t wait for too long. When help doesn’t arrive they must get up and try to walk on their own, even though it might be unsafe. There should be enough staff members to adequately handle the needs of all nursing home residents.
- Ensure proper training: Caregivers may not be properly trained to assist nursing home residents. For example, it may require two staff members to safely move an immobile resident from their bed to their wheelchair. When it is improperly attempted the resident could fall and a serious injury could result.
- Provide a safe environment: Nursing homes have a duty of care. They must provide a safe facility for residents. The floors must be kept clean and free from debris and liquid. Carpeting needs to be tacked down so people cannot trip. Railings and assist bars should be installed in hallways as well as in bathrooms so residents can maneuver more safely.
Are there any resources for finding nursing homes?
There are many nursing homes in Georgia so you will want to be able to locate them and learn more about them before making a choice for your loved one. We have found that one of the best resources for locating nursing homes is the Nursing Home Compare Website. It is provided through the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and provides a comprehensive list of all nursing homes across the country.
They gather and compile data including a star rating system for easy comparison of various facilities. There are some things to look for when you compare nursing homes:
- Health inspection rating: The facility is rated based on the health inspection. The date of the most recent inspection is included. You will also find details of any health citations that the facility received.
- Complaints and fines: You can view the number of complaints that were filed by residents during the previous 3 years. You will also be able to see whether there were any federal fines in the last 3 years and if so, how much the fines totaled.
- Overall ratings: The overall rating is an important comparison tool. Ratings are based on 5 stars, with 5 being the best and 3 stars being average. You will also want to pay attention to the quality measure rating and staff rating which are also provided using a 5 star system.
My loved one was hurt in a Buford nursing home- What do I do next?
If your loved one was severely injured or passed away at a Buford, Georgia nursing home, then we recommend that you act as soon as possible to protect your loved one’s rights.
First, report the incident to the appropriate Georgia authorities
Georgia Department of Community Health
The Georgia Department of Community Health’s Healthcare Facility Regulation investigates nursing homes for neglect and abuse. Their offices also regulate and certify nursing homes in Georgia.
You can file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation online by clicking this link. Here is additional contact information:
Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation
Complaint Hotline: (800) 878-6442
Complaint Fax: (404) 657-5731
Georgia Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Another choice is to file a complaint with the Georgia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The ombudsman program has offices throughout the state. They have representatives who advocate on behalf of nursing home residents who have complaints against a nursing home. They are trained to assist in the resolution of these issues and are legally allowed to enter nursing homes to ask questions about the situation.
You can file a complaint with the Georgia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman online by clicking on this link. Here is additional contact information:
135 Hoyt Street
Athens, GA 30601-2646
Telephone: (706) 549-4850
Fax: (706) 227-8337
You may also report physical assault or abuse to local law enforcement
If your loved one was abused physically, sexually or otherwise or was the victim of criminal wrongdoing, you may elect to file a police report. Law enforcement officials will investigate the report and determine what happened. If criminal activity occurred, the District Attorney’s Office: Gwinnett Judicial District, may file charges.
City of Buford Police Department
2735 Mall of Georgia Blvd
Buford, GA 30519
Telephone: (706) 658-2852
Gwinnett County Sheriff
2900 University Pkwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Telephone: (770) 619-6500
District Attorney’s Office: Gwinnett Judicial District
75 Langley Dr.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Telephone: (770) 822-8400
Find another facility for your loved one.
If your loved one was hurt in a nursing home due to abuse or neglect it may be beneficial to find another facility. This is especially important if your loved one is suffering from abuse, which could continue. The best option may be to relocate your loved one. You will need to find a nursing home that you can trust to care for your loved one without causing further harm. We recommend that you visit the facility and do a walk-through to see the nursing home for yourself.
Then, take some time to review the ratings of various nursing homes. There is a useful online tool available to review data of all nursing homes across the country. It is available through the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). They compile data from all nursing homes and provide it for you on their Nursing Home Compare Website. It provides overall ratings, inspection results and nurse to resident ratios among other data.
For your convenience, a list of all nursing homes located within Buford, Georgia is located below, along with their contact information and inspection scores.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
One of the most important parts of any nursing home abuse or neglect case is providing proof of how and when the injury occurred. This can be accomplished with your loved one’s medical records. All too often, the nursing home will try to deny that the injury occurred on their watch or that it happened at all. The only way to show details of the injury is with medical records from the time of the injury.
While medical records are important, they can be somewhat difficult to obtain. A spouse, sibling or other relative can’t just go into the hospital and ask for medical records. The law protects privacy and therefore, only those with legal authority can request these protected documents.
In order to get legal authorization you must have durable power of attorney, a health directive or legal guardianship in place. If your loved one was injured in a Buford nursing home it is likely that they were treated at one of the hospitals listed below. Once you have obtained written authority you may make a formal request to the ‘Release of Information’ Department at the hospital.
- Northeast Georgia Medical Center – Braselton: (770) 848-8000
- Gwinnett Medical Center: (678) 312-1000
- Eastside Medical Center: (770) 979-0200
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
When you are alive you have the right to file a lawsuit anytime you feel that you have been wronged. That right remains with you, even after you pass away. In order for a loved one to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased they will need to have the legal right to do so. When you are alive you are the named plaintiff in a lawsuit that you file. After death, the plaintiff will be on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Usually, an estate will need to be established before any decisions or actions can take place on the behalf of the deceased. This should be done as soon as possible. To establish an estate the surviving spouse or other relative must petition the Probate Court in the county where the person passed away.
When an estate is established the court will appoint a representative to handle the affairs of the estates and make decisions. This person is called the administrator or executor. The executor has the legal right to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and can make other important decisions.
Gwinnett County Probate Court
75 Langley Dr.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Telephone: (770) 822-8250
Nursing Homes in Buford, Georgia
If you are searching for a nursing home in Buford it is helpful to have information to review. The information provided below is from the CMS Nursing Home Compare Website.
2451 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Number of Beds: 117
Number of Residents: 90.2
RN hours per resident per day: 35min (GA Avg: 24 min)
Health Inspections Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Staff Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Quality Measure Rating: 4 out of 5 (Above Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 11-02-2017
Number of Health Citations: 0
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting citation: 2
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 2 ($28,785 fine on 09-29-2016; $2,013 fine on 05-11-2017)
Why Choose Schenk Smith as your Nursing Home Lawyers?
We know that you have many attorneys to choose from when you want to file a nursing home lawsuit. We hope that you will consider our law firm when making this important decision. Here are several reasons why we think our law firm would be able to help you.
- Caring: Our compassionate legal team is dedicated to the rights of nursing home residents and their families. Our attorneys are members of senior citizen advocacy groups. One of our founding attorneys, Will Smith, was a CNA in Georgia nursing homes for almost a decade.
- Highly rated: We are the best Google reviewed law firm in Georgia that focuses on nursing home cases. Also, our clients give us good marks in their feedback. We often hear that our clients feel as though we treated them like family. Our attorneys work directly with our clients whenever possible and we even give our clients our cell phone numbers.
- Focused: We focus only on nursing home lawsuits. That’s all we do. That makes us more efficient and knowledgeable about the current laws that impact nursing homes. We understand how to work with nursing homes and their lawyers to resolve cases for our clients.
If your loved one was injured or died in a Buford, Georgia nursing home, please call us at Schenk Smith (678) 823-7678 for a free consultation. You can also check out hundreds of video FAQs on our website.