As our loved ones get older, there may come a time when it is simply no longer safe for them to live at home. In these situations, a nursing home, long-term care facility, or assisted living may be the best option. While most facilities provide excellent care, studies show that nursing home residents may suffer high rates of psychological abuse, physical abuse, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, and/or neglect.
If a family member has been abused or neglected while residing at a nursing home, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility. Through this type of personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, relocation costs, mental anguish, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. You may also be able to pursue a claim for wrongful death if your loved one dies as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect.
The Derrick Law Office advocates for the rights of injury victims and their families in Greenville and the surrounding areas. We’ll fight for maximum compensation – and help you achieve justice. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Greenville nursing home neglect attorney.
Common Injuries from Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Nursing home abuse is not just limited to physical violence. It can include:
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Physical abuse
Depending on the type of abuse or neglect at issue, an individual may suffer a range of injuries. Common injuries from physical abuse may include:
- Bruises, including black eyes
- Cuts and lacerations
- Skin tears
- Bedsores, pressure sores and/or ulcers
- Dental injuries
- Chronic pain
- Insomnia and sleep issues
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Worsening of existing medical conditions
When a resident experiences nursing home neglect, they may also show signs of poor hygiene, weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration. Common injuries associated with sexual abuse include:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Mouth injuries
- Injuries to the genitals
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Psychological abuse may lead to increased anxiety and fear, depression, aggression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal thoughts, and/or low self-esteem. Other types of abuse and neglect may also cause these types of emotional injuries.
If your parent, aunt or uncle, grandparent, or other loved one has been abused or neglected at a nursing home or other care facility in South Carolina, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility. While money won’t make them whole again, it can provide you with the financial support necessary to pay their medical bills, relocate them and ensure that they receive the highest level of care going forward. A Greenville nursing home abuse lawyer can help you with the process.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse isn’t always obvious. Residents of care facilities often have existing physical and/or mental health conditions that may make it hard to spot abuse or neglect. They may also be experiencing cognitive decline and/or dementia that can make it difficult for them to report to you what is happening.
There are certain signs of abuse that you can watch for when you visit or talk to your loved one, however. First, watch for unexplained injuries based on the list above. For example, if your loved one suffers a broken bone or has unexplained bruises, welts, or scratches, it may be a sign that they are being physically abused.
Other signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Acting withdrawn or scared
- Being startled or frightened easily
- Changes in behavior
- Exhibiting repetitive behavior
- Angry outbursts
- Poor appearance
- An unclean room
- Frequent infections
In addition, a person who is being financially exploited may have unexplained expenditures, a missing checkbook or credit cards, or an inability to remember certain expenditures.
If you believe that your family member is being abused or neglected in any way, there are several steps that you can take, including filing a complaint with the nursing home administration or a local government agency. You may even choose to file a police report. A compassionate Greenville nursing home abuse lawyer can explain your options and guide you through the process, which may include filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties.
Filing a Claim for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing homes owe their residents a strict duty of care. If they violate that duty of care, they may be liable for any injuries that result. In addition to any criminal charges against the responsible party and/or administrative action against the facility itself, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home.
These lawsuits may be based on negligent (careless) or even intentional behavior. This may include:
- Failure to provide food, water, and other basic necessities
- Medical neglect
- Negligent hiring or training of staff
- Failure to properly monitor and/or supervise staff
- Intentional abuse of residents
- Failure to provide adequate security
- Failure to protect residents from health and safety hazards
- Use of unsafe physical restraints.
For example, consider a scenario where a nursing home hires an assistant with no prior experience working with elderly patients. They don’t train the assistant properly on the need to move patients who are bed-bound to prevent bedsores or monitor them to ensure that they are providing the necessary care for patients. If a patient develops bedsores or other injuries related to this neglect, the nursing home could be held liable for negligent hiring, training, and/or supervision.
Compensation for nursing home abuse and neglect in South Carolina may include compensatory damages for:
- Increased medical bills
- Long or short-term care expenses
- Medical equipment
- Costs related to hospitalization
- Therapy and/or counseling
- Expenses related to relocating the victim
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
In addition, if you can prove that the nursing home’s conduct was willful, wanton and/or reckless, then you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer instead of compensating an individual for their direct financial losses.
Nursing home abuse cases are complicated, in part because they involve both federal and state laws. There are often complex medical issues that must be analyzed in order to demonstrate that the injuries that a resident suffered were a result of the abuse instead of another cause (like the individual’s existing disabilities). A skilled Greenville nursing home abuse lawyer can help you get maximum compensation for your loved one’s losses.
How a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
When you discover that a family member is being abused or neglected at their nursing home, your first instinct is probably to get them moved as soon as possible. Once they are settled into a new place, you may be ready to think about the next step: seeking justice for them. Our law firm can help.
The Derrick Law Office is dedicated to helping injury victims the compensation that they deserve and that they need to move forward with their lives. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Greenville, SC, give us a call at 864-778-3130 or fill out our online contact form.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse?
While you may not be able to prevent nursing home abuse and/or neglect, there are certain steps that you can take to reduce the risk. Visit your loved one as often as possible, and try to vary the schedule so that you aren’t always there on the same days and times. You should also get to know their caretakers, and watch closely for any signs of abuse or neglect.
If you do suspect that something isn’t right, reach out to our law firm to schedule a free consultation with a Greenville nursing home neglect attorney. We will listen to your story and help you navigate the process, from filing a complaint with the appropriate government agencies to pursuing a personal injury claim.
How Much Will It Cost to File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
Nursing home abuse cases are a type of personal injury lawsuit. Most personal injury law firms handle these claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront, and only pay a fee if your lawyer recovers money for you.
These arrangements are particularly important in nursing home abuse and neglect cases, as many seniors are on a fixed income and can’t afford to pay legal fees out of pocket. If you believe that your family member has been abused or neglected, give the Derrick Law Office a call to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Abuse in South Carolina?
As a general rule, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina. This is known as the statute of limitations. The clock will start running on the date that you knew or should have known of the injury. In nursing home abuse cases, this means that you typically have three years from the date that you discovered that your family member was being abused or neglected.
A seasoned Greenville nursing home abuse lawyer can help ensure that your case is filed properly and on time. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with the Derrick Law Office.