Care of the aged and persons with intellectual disabilities is a matter of great public concern. These vulnerable groups are more susceptible to abuse and neglect. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), elder abuse and neglect affects about 1 in 10 people aged 60 and over. Under Georgia law, long-term care facilities (nursing homes, group homes, personal care homes, etc.) have a duty to provide care, treatment, and services with "reasonable care and skill." See O.C.G.A. § 31-8-108(a)(1). If a long-term care facility breaches that duty and your loved one suffers harm as a result, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility for negligence.
Examples of elder abuse and neglect cases include the following:
- Bedsores (which left untreated can lead to death)
- Bone fractures arising from falls
- Sexual abuse (by staff and other residents)
- Medication errors
Resident-to-Resident Abuse in Nursing Homes and Group Homes
Long-term care facilities have a duty of ordinary care to protect their residents from danger or injury that can reasonably be anticipated from the acts of other residents. When there is a resident with a known propensity to harm other residents, the facility must increase its level of care and supervision to prevent injury to other residents. In other words, the facility has a “double duty” (1) not to subject other residents to an unreasonable risk of harm, and (2) to adequately supervise the resident who is prone to abusive behavior. See Associated Health Sys. v. Jones, 185 Ga. App. 798, 801 (366 S.E.2d 147 (1988). If the facility breaches its duty and your loved one suffers harm as a result, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility for negligence.
Resident-to-resident abuse often involves physical attacks or sexual assault. Common scenarios include the following:
- A resident had repeatedly engaged in violent behavior in the past. The facility was aware of the resident’s history of violence but failed to take any action to protect other residents and prevent a re-occurrence. As a result, the violent resident physically attacked other residents.
- A male resident with dementia sexually assaulted a female resident who he mistakenly believed to be his wife. The facility was aware of that incident but failed to take any action to protect other residents and prevent a re-occurrence. As a result, the same male resident subsequently did the same thing to another female resident who he also mistook for his wife.
Most injuries in long-term care facilities could have been prevented if the facility had taken proper safety precautions. If you or a loved one has been injured in a long-term care facility, you may have a cause of action for negligence against the facility. Located in Dacula in Gwinnett County, SMITH LAW handles abuse and neglect cases in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities throughout the state of Georgia. Call us at (678) 889-5191 or click the button below to find out if we can help you.
Disclaimer: the information on this website isn’t legal advice and doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. Don’t rely on the information.