Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers are Athens, Ohio nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers. Our core mission is to end nursing home abuse across Ohio. We do this one case at a time.
What types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases do You Handle in Athens, Ohio?
We handle all kinds of nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Athens, Ohio. These cases usually involve one or more of the following:
Elder abuse refers to intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm, regardless of whether harm is intended, to an elderly person by a caregiver. Abuse includes failure by a caregiver to satisfy an elder’s basic needs—neglect.
Bedsores shouldn’t happen. We investigate to find answers for families when a nursing home allows a bedsore to worsen or kill their loved one.
Nursing home residents should never choke or suffocate in nursing homes. Choking and suffocation deaths in nursing home are preventable. Unfortunately, they do happen. And probably much more often than most people can imagine. Choking and suffocation continue to be leading causes of death in nursing homes.
Nursing home dehydration and malnutrition are serious and deadly threats to older people. When nursing homes are understaffed or careless with resident health, dehydration can set in all too quickly.
Nursing home residents are often frail, weak, and unstable. They need help moving from place-to-place or getting in and of bed.
Unfortunately, nursing homes continue to allow residents to fall and become injured. Fractures of large bones (like hips and femurs) often lead to death in the elderly.
Nursing homes need to protect their residents. Elderly people with memory problems sometimes wander off. This is called “elopement.”
Nursing homes are required to assess residents to prevent this from happening. Nursing homes must have precautions in place to prevent residents from wandering off. This includes having the appropriate amount of staff to monitor residents. Nursing homes must also place alarms on doors and respond to those alarms to stop residents before they are injured.
If residents are permitted to wander off they can be severely injured. There have been examples of residents freezing to death in cold, being struck by cars, and falling down stairs.
It should go without saying that sexual abuse anywhere, including in nursing homes, is a crime that must eradicated from society. Disgustingly, every year we see nursing home sexual abuse cases make headlines.
These are frequently the result of corporate greed and incompetence refusing to do required background checks.
When a nursing home’s abuse and neglect causes injury, the injured resident has a personal injury case. When that injury causes the resident’s death—whether immediately, or over time—the resident’s family has a case. It is called a “wrongful death” claim.
Nursing Home Medication Errors
Medication errors are one of the leading causes of unintentional deaths in nursing homes.
Assisted Living Facilities, called Residential Care Facilities in Ohio, are not nursing homes, and are not as well regulated as nursing homes. That doesn’t mean someone injured or killed in a residential care facility has no claim. But the types of claims, and how to pursue them, are different.
Where Do Athens, Ohio Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases Go to Trial?
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Athens go to trial at the Athens County, Ohio Courthouse.
Athens County Courthouse
The Athens County Courthouse is located on South Court Street, between East Washington Street and West Union Street.
Who are the Judges who will Preside over My Athens, Ohio Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Case?
There are two judges who hear nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Athens County, Ohio. They are the Honorable George P. McCarthy and Patrick L. Lang.
Who will be on the Jury in My Athens, Ohio Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Case?
The jury is made up of regular people who live in Athens County, Ohio. A large group of people will receive a letter (called a summons) telling them to come to court for jury duty.
Not everyone who receives a summons will be on the jury. The entire group that comes to court is called the “jury pool.”
The lawyers and the judge then get to ask questions to see who will be a good fit for the case. Some people will not be chosen for a number of reasons. It could be that they know one of the people involved in the case or may be biased for some reason.
A total of 8 people will be on the jury.
Where Can I Get A Copy of my Death Certificate in Athens, Ohio?
The Health Departments maintains records on births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that took place in the county. These are called “vital statistics” or “vital records.” You can get a copy of the death certificate by contacting:
278 W. Union Street
Athens, Ohio 45701
Who is the Coroner for Athens County, Ohio?
The coroner serving Athens County, Ohio is Dr. Carl Ortman, M.D. Dr. Ortman and his office can be contacted at the following:
P.O Box 429
Athens, OH 45701
What Types of Deaths Should Be Reported to the Coroner’s Office?
Not all deaths have to be reported to the coroner, also called a medical examiner in some counties. However, whenever a person dies of “violent, suspicious, unusual, or sudden death,” that has to be reported to the coroner by law in Ohio.
Ohio Revised Code 313.12 says:
When any person dies as a result of criminal or other violent means, by casualty, by suicide, or in any suspicious or unusual manner, when any person, including a child under two years of age, dies suddenly when in apparent good health, or when any person with a developmental disability dies regardless of the circumstances, the physician called in attendance, or any member of an ambulance service, emergency squad, or law enforcement agency who obtains knowledge thereof arising from the person’s duties, shall immediately notify the office of the coroner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner, and circumstances of the death, and any other information that is required pursuant to sections 313.01 to 313.22 of the Revised Code.
Only the coroner or medical examiner can certify a death as being anything other than “natural.” This means that only a medical examiner or coroner can determine whether a person’s death was the result of suicide, homicide, or accident.
Most nursing home deaths that result in litigation are caused by accidental death or homicide.
Unfortunately, far too many primary care and other doctors choose not to alert the coroner or medical examiner after a person has died following trauma or other unusual circumstances, including after a nursing home resident falls.
When this occurs, it is important for the family to contact the coroner or medical examiner’s office as soon as possible. This can help ensure that the proper cause of death is given.
What Does it Mean to Probate An Estate?
The deceased person cannot file his own lawsuit. Ohio law has a process where all beneficiaries are represented in a single wrongful death lawsuit through the creation of an estate. Although each surviving member of a decedent’s immediate family may be entitled to receive monetary compensation, there is only one cause of action for the recovery of that compensation under Ohio’s wrongful death statute.
Opening An Estate
The actual lawsuit is brought in the name of the representative of the estate for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, children, parents, and other next-of-kin. The estate is created by filing certain paperwork in the probate court.
The “estate” is nothing more than a legal process where the probate court oversees the business of the deceased (including where money is being sent and how or if debts are being paid) and the wrongful death claim that belongs to the family members.
The probate court will then issue paperwork entitling a specific person to serve as the representative of the estate. The individual appointed by the probate court is the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative is then required to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate. The probate court must approve any wrongful death settlement.
Choosing A Personal Representative
Any competent adult person may serve as the personal representative of an estate. In order to be appointed as a personal representative of an estate in Ohio, a person must meet 4 requirements.
- Be at least 18 years of age (i.e., legally competent);
- Be mentally competent;
- Be bonded by a private insurance company; and
- Not have a criminal record (in order to be bonded).
If the deceased dies with a will, the will sometimes waives the bond requirement. Under those circumstances, in order to be appointed as the personal representative, the person must only meet the first two requirements, be over the age of 18 and be mentally competent.
Prior to appointing a personal representative of an estate, beneficiaries have the right to receive notice of the request and object to an applicant’s request to be the personal representative in a hearing. If the beneficiaries do not object to a person being named a personal representative and he or she meets the legal requirements, he or she will usually be named the personal representative by the probate court.
There is no requirement that the personal representative be a beneficiary of the wrongful death claim, be a member of the family, or even have ever known the deceased person. On certain occasions, a lawyer, bank official, or other neutral third-party may be appointed as the personal representative of the estate. This may be the most desirable outcome if, for example, no family member can be bonded or there is family conflict that prevents all beneficiaries from agreeing on a single family member to serve as personal representative.
What does A Personal Representative Do?
In many ways, the personal representative acts like plaintiff in a traditional lawsuit. The difference, however, is that the personal representative is not only making decisions that affect his or her own interests, but is making decisions that affect all beneficiaries of the wrongful death claim.
For example, the personal representative decides whether to file a lawsuit, who and when to sue, what lawyer to have represent the estate for court proceedings, and whether or not to settle the lawsuit, although the probate court must always approve the settlement before it can be finalized.
The personal representative often times has more contact with the lawyers representing the estate (although this is not always the case), is required to participate in certain stages of litigation after the lawsuit is filed called discovery, attends court hearings and pre-trials, and participates in settlement negotiations and mediations.
The personal representative is important because they have the power to choose which lawyer will protect all the beneficiaries’ interests. This is an important decision. The lawyer chosen has a tremendous impact on the final settlement or jury verdict. Picking an experienced wrongful death lawyer who has the ability and expertise to not only go to trial but secure a jury verdict is critical.
Given the amount of responsibility that goes into being the personal representative of an estate, it is important to have a personal representative who is organized, responsive, willing to vigorously pursue the claim, and make decisions that are most advantageous to all beneficiaries.
A probate court may remove the administrator of decedent’s estate when the administrator refuses to bring a wrongful death action when a legitimate wrongful death claim exists. See Toledo Bar Ass’n v. Rust, 124 Ohio St. 3d 305, 2010 Ohio 170.
Where is the Probate Court in Athens, Ohio?
The Athens County, Ohio Probate Court is located on the second floor of the main courthouse.
Athens County Courthouse, Probate Division
1 South Court Street, Second Floor
Athens, Ohio 45701
(740) 592-3252 (alternate number)
The probate court is where an estate is opened. It is also where nursing home wrongful death settlements and verdicts are processed before the funds can be distributed to family members and charities.
What Are the Nursing Homes in Athens County, Ohio?
There are several assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Athens County, Ohio. Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers investigates claims against all of them.
The Laurels of Athens
70 Columbus Circle
Athens, Ohio 45701
Medicare ranks The Laurels of Athens as a 3-Star facility. It is considered average. It is considered above average for staffing. However, staffing rating are often manipulated by nursing homes in order to increase their ratings.
U.S. News & World Report gives The Laurels of Athens an overall rating of average.
The legal name of The Laurels of Athens is Athens LTC, Inc. It is a for-profit corporation that is part of Laurel Health Care Company. Laurel Health Care Company is a large for-profit corporation that operates 45 nursing homes in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Kimes Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Hickory Creek of Athens
51 East 4th Street
The Plains, Ohio 45780
Medicare rates Hickory Creek of Athens as a 1-Star facility overall. This is literally as bad as it gets. This is considered “much below average.” Medicare also considered Hickory Creek much below average–or 1-Star–in staffing. This is particularly alarming because understaffing is related to the most severe nursing home injuries.
U.S. News & World Report also give Hickory Creek the lowest rating possible, “poor.”
The legal name of Hickory Creek of Athens is 51 The Plains, Inc. It is a for-profit corporation that is part of Atlas Health Care.
Arcadia Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation
Despite its quaint name and appearance, Arcadia Village is part of Continuing Healthcare Solutions. Continuing Healthcare Solutions is a for-profit nursing home corporation with nursing homes throughout Ohio.
Do You Handle Cases Outside of Athens, Ohio?
We handle cases all across Ohio, and sometimes nationally depending on the severity of the case. Even if your case involves a nursing home outside of Athens, please feel free to contact us.