Court Finds No Liability in Case Involving Georgia Home Care Facility

Making the decision to send a loved one or family member to a personal care home or facility can often be a stressful process. Many families, in the process of making this decision, have to consider various factors. Will the facility treat my family member with care? What if an accident happens? Is it safe? While these are valid concerns, no one expects that their loved ones will be injured or even killed when they move into these homes. When accidents involving severe injury or even death occur on the premises of such a facility, those who are responsible may be held accountable through a Georgia nursing home negligence case or other type of premises liability action.

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals opinion, an autistic resident died after choking on food at a personal care home. The resident had been diagnosed with severe autism, was unable to speak, and had the mental age of a three-year-old child. After his loved ones decided to place him in a personal care home, his guardian informed the facility that his food needed to be cut up “because he only swallowed.”

On the day of the incident, the resident returned to the dining area after finishing his own breakfast and attempted to eat a sausage he took from another resident’s plate. In the process of eating it, the resident choked. His caretakers at the facility attempted to rescue him by performing an abdominal thrust but were unsuccessful. The resident asphyxiated on the food and died. Subsequently, the administrator of the resident’s estate brought nine causes of action arising out of his care against the personal care home, some of its staff, and the owners of the home.

On appeal, the court sided with the facility. The hazard at issue, the court reasoned, a breakfast sausage, was not the type of hazard that would give rise to a duty of care on the facility’s end under premises liability. Although the plaintiffs argued that the resident only had access to food that wasn’t cut up because of the facility’s negligence, the court countered by stating that the plaintiff’s claim was more parallel to a negligent care claim rather than a premises liability one. Because the factual basis of the accident involving the sausage did not necessarily reflect that the premises themselves were unsafe, the plaintiffs failed to identify a premises liability duty that the facility owed to the resident.

In Georgia, premises liability claims can often be complicated. To avoid making mistakes, potential plaintiffs are advised to hire an experienced personal injury attorney when filing a lawsuit. Ensuring that your claim is accurate is crucial towards getting the compensation you and your loved ones deserve following an accident.

Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Premises Liability Accident?

If you or someone you know has been recently injured in a Georgia premises liability incident, contact the attorneys at McAleer Law. Our team of lawyers has a wide range of experience working with personal injury victims and claims of all kinds. At McAleer Law, our attorneys are compassionate, empathetic, and will advocate on your behalf to help you and your loved ones pursue the compensation you deserve. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 404-622-5337 to get more information about your claim.