South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence Law Firm
The elderly and other vulnerable adults deserve the best care and protection. Unfortunately, some nursing homes choose to put profits ahead of the most basic needs of their residents, resulting in serious, sometimes fatal injuries. While abuse is often the result of intentional acts, neglect may occur based on a lack of action. Neither is acceptable, and both must be confronted with the full force of the law when they cause harm.
Many families have turned to nursing homes when they need help providing the support and care that their loved ones need but they are unable to give on their own. The trust that families in these positions necessarily place in a nursing home is substantial. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, this trust is violated, as nursing home staff members act abusively or negligently. Nursing home negligence, abuse, and neglect is a serious issue in the United States, and the consequences it can have for elderly individuals and their loved ones can be devastating. Victims may experience physical injury, mental or emotional anguish, loss of financial resources, and even death as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect.
At the Hopkins Law Firm, we understand the suffering endured by elderly patients and their families as a result of the abuse that was committed. When you hire us, we will protect your loved one's rights and fight for the justice they deserve.
What is Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect?
Nursing home abuse and neglect can occur in various forms in care facilities across South Carolina. In instances of abuse or neglect, facilities are often understaffed, employees have not received adequate training, or the facility's administration failed to conduct proper background checks to ensure their residents were in good hands. Either way, if your loved one has suffered one of the below types of nursing home abuse or neglect, you have the right to hold the responsible party accountable.
1. Neglect is when the care facility fails to provide their resident with proper care. This may include not maintaining proper hygiene or allowing residents to become dehydrated or malnourished. Neglect often stems from indifference, poor training, or being understaffed.
2. Physical abuse is when caretakers intentionally cause physical harm to nursing home residents. Any act to cause physical harm, such as hitting, kicking, burning, or shoving, is considered physical abuse and is not acceptable in any South Carolina nursing home.
3. Emotional abuse is any type of verbal or psychological abuse, such as name-calling, insulting, or isolating from friends and family, that leaves the vulnerable person feeling afraid or distressed.
4. Sexual abuse includes any unwanted sexual interaction.
South Carolina Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect:
Sometimes the signs of abuse and neglect are not apparent. In most cases there may only be slight or faint changes in your loved one's physical or emotional health. Many nursing homes and residential care facilities my deny the slight changes or deny any wrongdoing on their part so most family members are left with confused feelings and unanswered questions after visiting a loved one. During our free consultation, we will explain these signs and review the facts with you. The Hopkins Law Firm will investigate the nursing home or care facility to see if there is evidence of neglect and take legal action if necessary.
Here are some things to look for:
- Burns, bruises or broken bones
- Offensive odors and poor hygiene
- Silence and withdrawal
- Lack of consistent medication
- Physical or mental abuse
- Untreated injuries
- Decubitus ulcers
What to Do When You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you think your family member is suffering from some form of abuse in a nursing facility, you should follow the steps below. They might not be able to speak for themselves, so you need to be their voice and advocate for their rights. Hire one of the South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyers of Hopkins Law Firm and begin the process of holding the abuser liable.
Step 1 – 911. If the vulnerable person is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call the police to handle the situation.
Step 2 – Have your loved one transferred to a hospital for treatment of their injuries.
Step 3 – If you believe an individual at the nursing home is abusing or neglecting your loved one, you may be able to take the incident up the chain of command to the nursing home administration to ensure the staff member is properly dealt with and that the issue is resolved.
Step 4 – South Carolina Department on Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO). The long-term care ombudsman helps resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents of long term care facilities regarding quality of care or quality of life, which according to their website, includes:
- Violations of Rights
- Improper transfer or discharge of a resident
- Assistance with benefits
- Dignity and respect, and
- Abuse, neglect or exploitation
Each year, the LTCO investigates approximately 8,000 complaints on behalf of long-term care residents. You can contact the SC LTCO by calling 1-800-868-9095.
Step 5 – South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). DHEC is required to investigate any written or verbal complaint that indicates that there may be a violation of South Carolina's licensing standards.
Step 6 – Request copies of all medical records and documentation associated with the abuse, injuries, and treatment. Maintain all evidence of the abuse, including photos of your family member's deplorable living conditions, pictures of any physical injuries, damage to personal property, and statements from other residents who experienced or saw the abuse.
Step 7 – Speak with an experienced South Carolina nursing home attorney. If you're unsure about who to consult when you believe your loved one may be a victim of elder abuse in South Carolina, an attorney who has experience with nursing home abuse cases can also connect you the proper government agencies if necessary. Additionally, he or she will be able to evaluate your case to determine whether you and your loved ones have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the nursing home owner, management, staff, or other personnel. When you leave the legal work to an elder abuse lawyer, you can focus on tending to your loved one's needs.
Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Victims
The goal of any legal case is to hold the negligent party responsible for their actions and secure a monetary award that covers the victim's past and future losses. The injuries suffered from abuse can result in financial, physical, and emotional losses that require compensation to recover. You may be able to seek compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of consortium
- Personal property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Out of pocket expenses
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
All residents in nursing homes have various rights under South Carolina's laws. If the facility or any staff members violate these rights, they could become financially responsible for the resident's injuries and resulting expenses. You could file an insurance claim or lawsuit to compensate your loved one for the suffering they experienced and all costs associated with the abuse.
Speak to an Experienced and Dedicated Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyer
The Hopkins Law Firm will dedicate our time, attention, and resources towards your case to get your loved one the justice they rightfully deserve. In the aftermath of abuse, the victim could experience psychological trauma, physical pain and other problems associated with their injuries. You and your family will not be alone as we provide the services, support and guidance you need during this difficult time in your lives.