Do you believe someone you love was a victim of elder abuse or neglect? If so, you may be entitled to a significant cash settlement. You can learn more about your options by visiting schenksmith.com, or call us to schedule your free consultation today.
One of the most common questions we receive from Georgia residents is how abuse differs from neglect. The short answer is you have to consider intentions. If a staff member intended to harm, steal from, or distress your loved one, then it’s abuse. If an injury was the unintentional result of an overworked staff member however, that would be considered neglect.
My Loved One Was Hurt in a Nursing Home—Who Do I Sue?
In almost every case, when a loved one is hurt in a nursing home, the family sues the nursing home and not the staff which may have had a direct role in the injury. One of the reasons for this is money. Nursing homes have liability insurance. An underpaid nurse, on the other hand, may not have much of anything.
That isn’t to say an individual nurse or staff member cannot be sued. They can. But more often than not, if legal action is brought against an individual employee, it’s often the result of a criminal case brought by the state.
Are There Alternatives to Filing a Lawsuit?
Yes, there are. In fact, lawsuits aren’t always your best option when you want a just and fair outcome for your loved one. Taking the settlement route is often far more beneficial to everybody, including the nursing home.
There are many reasons for this. The first is speed. Lawsuits take a lot of time. Settlements can be reached much faster. The second is a higher success rate. Most nursing homes want to stay out of the courtroom, so they’re happy to take the settlement route. But if forced into court, they will spend huge amounts of money to protect their business interests. The third is convenience. You and your loved one are made whole and you can move on with your lives. Lawsuits on the other hand may require long months of waiting, planning, and frustration.
We Are Schenk Smith, Your Fairburn Nursing Home Lawyers
When it comes to reputation, cost, and experience, nobody beats Schenk Smith. Since 2013, our attorneys have secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for Georgian families. We are legal specialists who only take elder abuse and neglect cases. Furthermore, we work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. You cannot lose by going with Schenk Smith today.
We take on clients from Fairburn and all throughout the state of Georgia. Whether you live near Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the Cochran Mill Nature Center, or out by Sweetwater Creek State Park, we’ve got you covered.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Fairburn, Georgia- What you need to know.
Fairburn, Georgia is located in Fulton County and has a population of 13,860 residents. Of those, 7.6% are aged 65 and older. Many of these senior citizens will experience abuse or neglect in their lifetime. We must do everything in our power to limit that number as much as possible.
Can I File a Lawsuit on Behalf of My Loved One?
Yes you can. You may have to jump through some legal hoops, but it is within your power to file a lawsuit on behalf of a family member.
There are a few scenarios why you’d be filing on behalf of a loved one:
- Your loved one was severely injured, perhaps sustaining a concussion or even falling into a coma.
- Your loved one is unable to file for himself or herself because of mental health concerns or a disease such as Alzheimer’s
- Your loved one has passed due to injuries sustained while living in a nursing home facility.
The process of filing a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one will depend on which scenario you’re facing from those listed above. But here are a few general rules of thumb:
- If your loved one is alive but unable to file a lawsuit, you must be able to prove that a) you are close family, and b) you are a legal representative of that person.
- If your loved one is deceased, and you can prove a familial relationship with him or her, then you can sue for wrongful death.
This topic can be incredibly complex, so don’t hesitate to reach out to Schenk Smith if you have any questions.
What Can Nursing Homes Do To Prevent Residents from Falling?
Nursing homes may not be able to prevent every fall, but they should be able to prevent most of them. By following regulatory guidelines and keeping track of their resident’s health, they can significantly reduce the amount of falls which occur every year.
Some of the preventative measures that nursing homes take include:
- Consistent resident fall assessments: A fall assessment should be completed for every resident in the nursing home, and be updated at regular intervals. Fall assessments review an individual’s medications, their age, their history of past falls, and any physical handicaps they may have.
- Age-related precautions: Once a senior reaches the age of 85, he or she should be assessed with greater frequency, or have a staff member with them at all times while they walk.
- Lower hospital beds: Low hospital beds can help residents move in and out of bed much easier. One of the most common areas to fall is by the bedside, so this is an important precaution to take.
In addition to these measures, a nursing home will also want to take precautions in the event that a fall actually occurs. Pressure alarms, alert sensors, and keeping all residents within sight of a trained staff member are all necessary precautions which could save a senior citizen’s life.
What Are Some Tools I Can Use to Find Another Nursing Home?
Locating a new nursing home for your loved one is both stressful and frustrating for everyone involved. Thankfully, both the federal government and Georgia’s state government have tools available to help you locate a great home nearby.
The two most important tools include:
- Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare Tool: The Nursing Home Compare Tool is an absolute requirement for any nursing home search you undertake. The tool lets you compare up to three nursing homes at a time, and supplies results such as the number of health inspection violations, quality measures, overall staff ratings, and more.
- The DCH’s GaMap2Care Find a Facility Tool: The GaMap2Care mapping application and the Find a Facility search tool are both found on the DCH website, and give Georgia residents an easy way to search over 7,000 licensed health care facilities across the state. You can tell the tool exactly what your loved one needs, and the map will populate with nearby facilities with those specifications.
In addition to these tools, you can always count on the attorneys at Schenk Smith. If you aren’t sure where to start, then give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.
My loved one was hurt in a Fairburn nursing home- What do I do next?
If your loved one was severely injured or passed away at a Fairburn, 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 is the state body which regulates nursing homes. The DCH provides the licensure and license renewals which keep these companies in business. To ensure compliance with state and federal law, the DCH regularly sends out officials from its sub-department, the Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR).
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
If you find yourself in a dispute with a nursing home facility, you may wish to contact the Georgia Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The Ombudsman program was put in place to mediate disputes between nursing homes and Georgia residents.
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:
225 Cameron Road
McDonough, Georgia 30253
You may report physical assault or abuse to local law enforcement
You may wish to get state and local authorities involved in an incident that occurred at your loved one’s nursing home. This is especially true if the incident was criminal in nature, such as theft, physical assault, or rape.
191 SW Broad St,
Fairburn, GA 30213
Telephone: (770) 964-1441
185 Central Ave
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: (404) 612-5100
136 Pryor St SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: (404) 612-4981
Find another facility for your loved one.
Finding a new facility for your loved one after such a traumatic experience is no easy task. We don’t blame you if you’re skeptical of any nursing home facility, no matter how good its reviews are.
Safe, trustworthy nursing homes do exist. You just need to know where to find them. And the best way to search the thousands of nursing homes in Georgia is to use Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare Tool. Click here to go to the Nursing Home Compare Website.
The Nursing Home Compare tool has everything you need to locate and compare nearby nursing home facilities. You’ll have access to health code violation information, staff reviews, and overall rankings compared to hundreds of other nearby facilities.
For your convenience, a list of all nursing homes located within Fairburn, Georgia is located below, along with their contact information and inspection scores.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
Your loved one’s medical records may hold the evidence you need to prove that abuse and neglect were taking place. That’s why we always recommend our clients locate these records and take possession of them right away.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. You may face headwinds as you work toward securing these important documents. One of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to confront is securing a power of attorney over your loved one. Depending on your situation, it may prove difficult to get. But it will be necessary if you hope to get hospital staff to turn over your loved one’s records.
You’ll also want the nursing home’s records, and this may prove equally difficult. If they’re aware of your intent to sue, they won’t be forthcoming with any information concerning your loved one or their records.
Keep in mind, our attorneys secure these types of documents for clients all the time. If you’re confused about the process, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today.
Finally, calling hospital after hospital for your loved one’s records could take days. But you can narrow down your options by only calling local facilities. To give you a head start, we’ve listed the most likely hospitals which your loved one stayed at.
Telephone: (404) 778-9729
Telephone: (404) 616-1000
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
We are truly sorry to hear about the loss of your family member. While tragic, your loved one may still have a chance at a just outcome in court, especially if it can be proven that the death was wrongful.
Family members of a deceased person have legal avenues available to them to sue the party that caused the wrongful death. To begin the process of filing a lawsuit, a family member must first create an estate in their loved one’s name. Once an administrator has been selected to manage the estate, he or she can then begin the process of filing a lawsuit.
Estates require a special type of court to set up, called a probate court. A probate court judge will assess your situation and determine whether or not your relationship is close enough to the deceased individual that you should be allowed to administer their estate. Expect a fair amount of paperwork and time to complete the process.
If you’re a resident of Fairburn, you’ll be visiting the Fulton County probate court. Also, if you have any questions about the probate process, don’t hesitate to call our law firm today.
Fulton County Probate Court
136 Pryor St SW, Ste C-230
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: (404) 613-4070
Nursing Homes in Fairburn, Georgia
Looking for a nearby nursing home? We’re happy to help. Below you’ll find the closest nursing home facilities in the Fairburn area. This information is taken from our CMS’ Nursing Home Compare Website.
7560 Butner Road
Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Number of Beds: 82
Number of Residents: 73.2
RN hours per resident per day: 26 min (GA Avg: 24 min)
Health Inspections Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Staff Rating: 3 out of 5 (Average)
Quality Measure Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 08-04-2017
Number of Health Citations: 7
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting citation: 3
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 1 ($8,518 fine on 08-04-2017)
178 West Campbellton Street
Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Number of Beds: 120
Number of Residents: 93.6
RN hours per resident per day: 7 min (GA Avg: 24 min)
Health Inspections Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Staff Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Quality Measure Rating: 4 out of 5 (Above Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 07-20-2017
Number of Health Citations: 2
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting citation: 0
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 1 ($7,475 fine on 07-20-2017)
Why Choose Schenk Smith as your Nursing Home Lawyers?
At the end of the day, you want a just and fair outcome for your loved one and your family. While there are many law firms that can advocate for you in court, only Schenk Smith can deliver specialized legal services and an unparalleled reputation for contingency pricing.
- Specialized Legal Services: Our attorneys work on one type of case: elder abuse and neglect. We’ve become so effective at this specialty area of the law that we’ve secured millions of dollars in settlements for our clients within just a few short years.
- Unparalleled Reputation: We are Georgia Super Lawyer Rising Stars with a 10.0 Avvo Rating and more positive google reviews than any other Georgia law firm specializing in elder abuse.
- Contingency Pricing: Every Georgia resident should be able to sue in the event that their loved one was abused or neglected. Schenk Smith works on a contingency basis and we only get paid if we win your case.
If your loved one was injured or died in a Fairburn, 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.