Nursing Home Abuse | A Personal and Societal Concern
As our population lives longer, caring for our elderly loved ones may require more time and energy than originally anticipated. In some situations, nursing home care might become a necessary alternative to home care. Even with the most thorough research, it is not easy to know which nursing home provides consistently high standards of care. What do you do when you trust someone to compassionately care for your parents or grandparents only to find out that trust has been misplaced?
Recognizing Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Unfortunately, our impaired or elderly citizens are not always being cared for in the manner commensurate with their needs. This is especially troubling when paid for services are not received. Learn what signs to look for by reading our Nursing Home Abuse Whitepaper, just fill in the form and the download will start immediately.
Typical signs of nursing home abuse or neglect include ulcers, bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, severe bruising, infection, and broken bones. Abuse does not always mean a person is being physically assaulted. Abuse may be the failure to provide adequate medical care or simple negligence. Due to their fragility, minor instances can have life or death implications for our elderly loved ones.
Speaking up for the Elderly
Many times, nursing home patients cannot speak for themselves. In these situations, a family member needs to be appointed to act on their behalf. In South Carolina, if the a patient experienced conscious pain and suffering resulting in death—the most serious cases of nursing home abuse—the estate’s personal representative can bring a survival cause of action against the nursing home.
South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Laws
South Carolina has a Statute of Limitations, meaning a suit must be filed and served in a certain time frame; usually within two or three years. This amount of time is insufficient to publish all possible limitations on a nursing home abuse or neglect claim. The best advice is to follow up immediately.
In most cases of physical abuse, mental abuse, or neglect committed by a nursing home employee, an expert witness will need to testify on behalf of the victim. This is often because the victim suffers memory loss or dementia and would be unable to articulate the cause of the injury that he or she sustained. Additionally, an expert witness may be required to testify that the act or failure to act was below the standard of care for a particular care facility. Different facilities may have different standards of care depending on their designations such as nursing homes versus assisted living. An expert witness will usually be a medical professional or doctor who testifies to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the nursing facility deviated from the standard of care required, and, that the injury was proximately caused by the negligence.
The personal representative of the victim’s estate can also bring a wrongful death cause of action against the nursing home for the benefit of the surviving spouse, children or other heirs (if no surviving spouse or children). An award for a survival cause of action is distributed according to South Carolina intestacy laws
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
South Carolina state law requires anyone with actual knowledge of physical or mental abuse to a vulnerable adult by a nursing care facility to report that abuse. The Vulnerable Adults Investigations Unit of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, in affiliation with SC Department of Mental Health, handles reports on state run agencies. Case reporting for non-state agencies should be made to the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. In a case involving death, any person with a reasonable suspicion that a person died due to the abuse or neglect by a nursing care facility has a duty to inform the coroner or the medical examiner of the death and the suspected cause.
Legal Help in South Carolina
If you or someone in your immediate family has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact us. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team of experts understands that elderly abuse is a societal issue, and, as well as a very personal one. We are committed to helping you in your pursuit of legal justice.
If you suspect abuse or neglect led to your loved one’s injury, sudden decline, unexplained injuries or death, contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Rock Hill and Lancaster online or call us at 866-902-8257 and 803-324-7200 for a free case evaluation.