If you believe your aging family member was the victim of elder abuse or neglect, a Charleston nursing home abuse lawyer from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers could review your claim for free. No nursing home should get away with abusing residents or providing inadequate care. As advocates, we will work diligently to get justice for you and your loved one.
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Damages Available in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Several factors will determine the damages available to a senior if our team can prove they suffered from abuse in a Charleston or North Charleston, SC long-term care facility. The type of abuse, the severity of any injuries, and other specific circumstances will determine the value of your case.
Your loved one may qualify to collect different types of damages, depending on their situation, which may include:
- Medical care and related expenses, usually from neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse
- Get proper doctor care
- The cost of counseling, if necessary
- Refunds of lost funds
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish
- Other emotional losses
Your nursing home abuse attorney can consult your loved one’s doctors to determine the extent of their injuries. Then, they can calculate what fair compensation would look like in your case.
If a loved one passed away as a result of a nursing home’s actions or inactions, you may be eligible to recover a payout through a wrongful death and survival action. We can help you file a case against the facility, holding the administrators liable for your loved one’s suffering. Our team may also pursue compensation from the responsible caregiver who treated your loved one.
Call our firm of personal injury lawyers to begin discussing the details of your case.
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Types of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Our firm is here to help families whose loved ones have suffered from many types of nursing home abuse and neglect. We handle cases involving:
- Emotional abuse
- Financial exploitation and abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Prescription medication errors
- Preventable medical injuries
- Healthcare fraud
We also handle neglect cases in which nursing homes, their managers, or staff failed to provide:
- A safe, clean environment
- Assistance with hygiene
- Prompt and adequate medical treatment
- Proper nutrition
Call a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer in Charleston, SC who will fight to get the money that you and your family deserve.
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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we know that no two nursing home abuse or neglect cases are alike. The signs can often be subtle, and you should know what they are as they will help you recognize if it is occurring and assist you with reporting the abuse to the appropriate authorities.
Visible Dangerous, Dirty, and Substandard Living Conditions
Federal regulations require nursing homes to maintain safe, clean environments. Nursing home staff should remove potential hazards that could result in a slip-and-fall, routinely clean personal and common areas, and ensure heating and air conditioning work properly. Ignoring these conditions is neglectful and illegal.
A New Lack of Mobility or No Longer Having Motivation
Many people enter nursing homes with mobility issues. Nursing home staff members are required to help residents get in and out of bed, assist in the bathroom, and provide assistance when using walkers, canes, or wheelchairs. Additionally, federal laws prevent nursing homes from using physical restraints to minimize falls.
Keeping residents in bed because they have trouble walking or failing to give them opportunities to move and use their bodies are also forms of neglect. These practices can also put residents at risk for other injuries, including bedsores or pressure ulcers.
Rapid Weight Loss, Changes in Appetite, and Dehydration
Changes in eating habits or dramatic weight loss may mean that a resident is not receiving adequate nourishment. Your loved one may not be receiving opportunities to eat or drink, or their appetite may be suffering due to emotional distress.
Regular, Unexplained Physical Injuries
As people age, their skin becomes thinner and many individuals tend to bruise more easily. Bones also become more brittle and are more susceptible to breaking. Regular bruises, pressure ulcers, sprains, and broken bones should be questioned and may be signs of physical abuse.
It is illegal for any nursing home employee to kick, pinch, punch, or take any other physical action against a resident.
Dirty Clothes and Poor Hygiene
Soiled, foul-smelling clothes and unwashed hair or teeth may show that nursing homes are not living up to their obligations. Nursing homes must help residents with:
- Using the toilet
- Brushing teeth
- Haircuts and grooming
Also, nursing homes should provide regular clean towels and bed linens for all residents.
Be aware of mood or personality changes in your loved one. Residents who are being abused may not want to see family members that they previously welcomed, may stop doing activities that they enjoyed, or may seem fearful, depressed, sad, or anxious. Any type of abuse or neglect needs to be stopped and addressed immediately.
Speak with and check on your loved one regularly and, if you notice any issues, consult with a nursing home abuse attorney in Charleston, SC. Our firm advocates for victims and their families. Allow us to fight to get you justice and the money that you deserve.
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Reasons Why Neglect or Abuse Occurs in Nursing Homes
At George Sink, P.A Injury Lawyers, we understand the challenges that arise with nursing home abuse and neglect cases. We also know some of the major reasons for the incidents and how to combat them. While each case is different, some of the more common reasons for abuse and neglect can include:
- Improper training
- Overworked staff
- Limited resources
- A lack of oversight
Nursing homes sometimes have trouble retaining staff, which can result in quick hires of less-than-qualified employees. Not having strong hiring practices can result in mistakes, neglect, and abuse.
Any type of abuse or neglect is unacceptable. Consult with a Charleston nursing home abuse lawyer for your claim in Charleston or North Charleston, SC who can help get justice for your family and prevent the facility from harming another resident.
How to Report Suspected Nursing Home Abuse in Charleston, or North Charleston, SC
Nursing home and assisted living residents are among the most vulnerable. Often, they have Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or another condition that forces them to rely on help from others. And all too often, those tasked with their care act in neglectful, abusive, and inappropriate ways.
We recommend knowing the signs of nursing home abuse and carefully watching for them in your aging loved one. If you do spot warning signs, report it as soon as possible. Types of elder abuse can include:
Most caregivers do not intentionally neglect patients, but this type of abuse can still leave lasting effects and may even be life-threatening. For example, neglect may cause bedsores, infections, and falls.
Neglect may include failing to:
- Give a patient necessary medication
- Regularly reposition a bedridden resident
- Assist patients with mobility issues
- Bathe patients who require assistance with routine care
- Ensure patients are hydrated and eating enough
- Monitor patients who are at risk for wandering off
If a nursing home is understaffed, the level of care each resident receives may suffer. Nursing homes have a responsibility to meet a certain ratio of residents to caregivers. Administrators must also vet and train their caregivers.
Physical abuse is often the first type of abuse people think about when discussing nursing home abuse. It can cause bruising and psychological trauma, as well as more significant injuries. In addition to hitting, shoving, and other violent acts, physical abuse can also include actions such as restraining a resident when it is not necessary.
Emotional abuse can be one of the most difficult types of abuse to identify. It may include:
- Making threats
Emotional abuse is just as dangerous as physical abuse or neglect. Residents may fear retaliation from a caregiver and avoid reporting their experiences. If they suffer from cognitive impairments, they may not be able to express what is happening to them.
Sexual abuse, unfortunately, occurs all too frequently in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. It may include:
- Inappropriate comments
- Unwanted sexual activity
- Unnecessary nudity
- Sexual assault
It is important to note that sexual abuse often occurs alongside emotional abuse, and the abuser may threaten the victim to remain silent.
Financial abuse of a nursing home resident might include:
- Theft of cash, valuables, credit cards, or checks
- Gaining access to the senior’s financial accounts, either through coercion or taking advantage of the resident’s vulnerable mental state
- Billing for services the senior does not need or never receives
Your lawyer can investigate your loved one’s financial abuse and seek recovery for any missing property or funds.
What to Do if You Believe Your Loved One Is in Immediate Danger
If you believe a senior is in immediate danger from neglect or abuse in a Charleston nursing home, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1. Local police and paramedics will respond and provide the best option for getting your loved one (or another nursing home resident) the help they need as quickly as possible.
When the police respond to an elder abuse call, this will create a report in the system and provide documentation for a future court case if necessary. The police will reach out to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control about the potential abuse. However, we usually tell our clients to file their own complaints, as well.
File a Complaint
If you suspect your loved one is being abused, file a complaint with the nursing home facility and keep a copy. In addition, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control investigates all nursing home abuse allegations. You can file a report with the agency on its website.
We also recommend looking for new places to move your loved one to during this period.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer
We offer free case reviews for the families of nursing home abuse victims. Our representatives can evaluate your loved one’s circumstances and provide legal advice about the strength of your case against the long-term care facility and its administration. If our team believes your family member has a claim against the nursing home, we will handle your situation and fight for compensation on their behalf.
Your nursing home abuse attorney can file an insurance claim to seek compensation. Alternatively, if legal action proves the better option, we can file a personal injury lawsuit.
When our firm handles your case, we take on all the paperwork and communications with the liable party. In some cases, your lawyer may hold both a negligent caregiver and the nursing home accountable.
You Have Deadlines for Filing a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Abuse
The sooner you begin your case, the better you will be able to protect your loved one’s rights. Under S.C. Ann §15-3-530, you generally have three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit.
Filing past this deadline may result in the court dismissing your case. Do not let a negligent party get away with causing your loved one’s abuse without a fight. Act now to secure your right to compensation.
Laws that Protect South Carolina Nursing Home Residents from Abuse
Nursing home residents living in South Carolina are protected by the Omnibus Adult Protection Act, which sets clear definitions for what constitutes physical and mental abuse so the party(ies) responsible can be apprehended appropriately. There are also certain licensing requirements with which the state’s nursing home facilities must comply.
South Carolina’s Code of Regulations requires nursing home facilities to comply with the standards for Medicare/Medicaid that are set by the federal government, which include:
- A nursing home can only provide the services it is capable of performing and is permitted to perform by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
- A nursing home should not have more beds than the Department allows them to have.
- A nursing home must have policies and procedures in place to address issues like bedsores, wandering, confidentiality, and when it is appropriate to use physical restraints.
- The Department can show up unannounced to perform an inspection at any time to ensure compliance.
Requirements a Nursing Home’s Staff Must Follow
South Carolina law dictates that staff members of a nursing home must follow the below requirements:
- All staff members must undergo a criminal background check as part of the hiring process and must not be addicted to drugs or have prior convictions.
- Staff members must be gentle and understanding with residents and must have the education necessary to take care of them and that such a job requires. They must also know the state and federal regulations that apply to their job.
- There must be an adequate number of staff members available to protect the health and safety of the nursing home’s residents, including one licensed nurse on staff for every shift, or two nurses if the facility houses 44+ residents.
- The facility’s medical director must actually be a physician.
Work with a Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
The personal injury lawyers from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers will review your loved one’s case for free. We can help you hold their abuser liable for their expenses, losses, and pain and suffering. Call our office today to get started.
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