Every year, nursing home abuse brings physical, emotional, or financial harm to older Americans. The perpetrators are usually negligent staff members or other residents. To protect loved ones in nursing homes, family members should check in regularly and report warning signs of abuse. Residents and their families may also qualify for compensation if abuse occurs.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Statistics Explained
Approximately one in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as five million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only one in 24 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can have devastating emotional and physical effects on older adults. Victims often become anxious or fearful and may stop trusting others.
They may also suffer serious physical injuries that turn into long-term disabilities. Examples include bedsores leading to infections, constant physical pain, head injuries, and broken bones.
Othersigns of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Anxiety, confusion, and depression
- Malnutrition leading to weight loss
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained loss of money or transactions
- Withdrawal from friends and family members
Who is Responsible for the Safety of Your Loved One in a South Carolina Nursing Home?
Nursing homes and residential care facilities usually have administrators who oversee the management of the facilities. They make decisions to ensure that residents receive quality care, and coordinate with other professionals to deliver the care that a resident requires. Administrators are also in charge of hiring competent staff to care for the residents in the facility. If there are any allegations of misconduct, the administrators are also required to investigate them and take appropriate action to ensure that the health and safety of residents are not compromised.
Who May Be Legally Liable for Your Loved One's Nursing Home Abuse in South Carolina?
When a resident suffers harm in a nursing home, any person responsible for the harm they suffered may be held legally liable. Nursing homes are usually staffed with different parties whose actions may contribute to the injury or death of a resident. These may include:
- Doctors and Physicians Assistants (PAs)
- Nursing staff
- Non-skilled caregivers
- Contracted vendors
- Maintenance staff
Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer or supervisor can be held legally responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee or agent. Under this doctrine, nursing homes and their parent companies, as employers, can be held legally responsible for the acts of their employees that result in the injury or death of a resident.
Nursing homes are also required to comply with federal laws that specify the staffing levels that must be maintained in every facility. Low staffing levels lead to frustration and employee dissatisfaction, which may impact resident care. Failure to comply with these laws may also be grounds for holding the nursing home or its parent company legally liable for damages resulting from abuse. Failure to properly train employees is another issue that can result in legal liability for a nursing home.
Nursing Home Abuse Settlement Statistics
According to the journal Health Affairs, the average lawsuit for nursing home abuse in the United States settles for approximately $406,000.00. Additionally, statistics show that nearly one-sixth (17%) of all nursing home abuse cases include punitive damages. Courts typically award punitive damages when a defendant's behavior appears particularly egregious, reckless, or negligent.
If you discover that your elderly loved one suffered from nursing home abuse and wonder how much money your nursing home abuse settlement could be worth, the truth is that it will largely depend on:
- Consequences of the abuse
- If the victim passed away or is still living
- The severity of the abuse
- Whether there was medical malpractice involved
Disposition of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Claims
A family member of an elderly resident who suffered physical or psychological abuse or neglect that resulted in injury or harm typically brings nursing home abuse cases forward. According to Health Affairs, the plaintiff received compensation in 88 percent of all cases involving nursing home abuse, which is almost three times the success rate of medical malpractice claims.
This payout rate means that if a victim (or a victim's family) has a strong case and can prove nursing home abuse occurred to the elderly nursing home resident, they have a substantial chance statistically of winning their case. However, it is important to note that every case must receive proper evaluation based on the individual circumstances surrounding its claim of nursing home abuse.
What is Included in a Nursing Home Abuse Settlement?
While we cannot tell you exactly how much your nursing home abuse case would be worth, there are some common damages that our team routinely seeks for our clients. These include:
We can include any medical bills you or your loved one had to pay because of their abuse in your case. This includes:
- Costs to stay in a hospital room
- Emergency medical costs
- Ambulance rides
- Prescription medication costs
- Medical device costs
- Ongoing care costs
If you needed to take time off work to care for your loved one following their abuse in the nursing home, we might also be able to seek compensation for these losses.
Pain and Suffering
Your loved one likely endured a lot of pain and trauma from the abuse in their nursing home. Pain and suffering might be the largest damage amount we seek in your case. We can also claim other forms of non-economic damages, such as:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A nursing home abuse lawyer from our team can seek compensation for any other losses your family suffered from the abuse. For example, someone in the nursing home might have financially abused your loved one. According to The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, financial exploitation is rising faster than any other form of elder abuse. We can seek compensation for their:
- Missing valuables
- Missing money
- Funds stolen from their bank account
Consider Visiting with a South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer
If your elderly loved one suffered any injuries or losses as the direct result of elder abuse in a nursing home, you have the right to seek justice on their behalf, as well as compensation for their injuries. The best way to improve your chances for a favorable outcome is to hire a qualified nursing home neglect lawyer. Good nursing home lawyers:
- Know the standard of care in nursing homes, and can spot places that deviate from it.
- Have access to medical witnesses that can explain why care was substandard.
- Understand what to look for when beginning to build a case.
- Draw on years of experience pursuing such cases.
- Have the resources and patience to deal with large, wealthy nursing home companies.
At the Hopkins Law Firm, our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers have experience pursuing cases against negligent companies and individuals throughout the state, including Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Pawleys Island. Contact us at (843) 314-4202 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.