legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys
It seems incomprehensible that caregivers at a nursing home could ever engage in abuse or neglect of an elderly resident.
Tragically, there is a hidden abuse and neglect problem in many facilities throughout the U.S. for years. These shortcomings frequently result in serious injuries or death of elderly residents.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, more than three million Americans reside in nursing facilities. Nearly one in three of these homes fails to meet federal standards for safety and quality of care.
While the exact incidence of nursing home abuse and neglect remains unknown, experts believe it to be quite pervasive.
The NCEA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concluded that most elder abuse cases likely go unreported due to challenges in gathering accurate data and deficiencies with state reporting.
Lawyers Committed to Protecting the Legal Rights of South Carolina Residents
Do you suspect your loved one was injured, mistreated, or died unexpectedly from neglect while residing in a long term care facility?
If so, contact a South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney at Nursing Home Law Center today for a free case review so we can get your family the compensation you deserve.
Responsibility of South Carolina Nursing Facilities to Protect Home Residents
Nursing staff must provide quality care to every resident in their facility and ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity. Sadly, South Carolina follows the national trend in falling short of that standard.
South Carolina elder care facilities do not always adhere to the rules created to protect patients.
A study by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that nearly one-third of the state's 190 nursing facilities provided "below average" care to their residents after investigators identified serious violations and deficiencies.
Read more about specific South Carolina assisted living facility safety violations here.
You must act if you witness your loved one or others being abused or suspect abuse in a South Carolina nursing home facility.
Call a South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer for help in investigating your concerns of elder physical abuse or home neglect today.
Statutes of Limitations and Damages Caps Applicable to South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Victims are limited in the length of time they have two bring a negligence or wrongful death claim against a nursing home in the state. The statute of limitations runs for three years, beginning from the date the cause of action was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
However, if the nursing facility is owned or operated by a governmental entity, the statute of limitations is only two years. (S.C. Code Ann. §15-3-530, 550)
Claims for medical malpractice must be filed within three years from the date the cause of action was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered, but no more than six years from the date of occurrence.
In cases where a foreign object was left inside a patient's body, the limit is two years from discovery time. (S.C. Code Ann. §15-3-545)
Damages Cap (in 2005 dollars, not adjusted for inflation) Damages are limited to $300,000 per claim against a government-owned or operated facility or charitable entity, in the case of nursing home abuse; $1.2 million in physician negligence.
Non-economic damages for malpractice claims against private entities are limited to $350,000 for each claimant. No limit for economic damages (such as doctor bills) or punitive damages. (S.C. Code Ann. §15-32-220)
Working with Experienced South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers on Your CaseVictims
Stand up for the rights of your loved one with the help of South Carolina nursing home abuse attorneys. We are here to support you in your time of need.
Our personal injury lawyers are ready to assist families throughout S.C. in locations such as:
- Goose Creek
- Hilton Head Island
- Mount Pleasant
- North Charleston
- Richland County
- Rock Hill
A nursing home abuse attorney will stand by you every step of the way, so your loved one can receive the compensation they deserve. *
Federal Nursing Home Laws
Nursing home residents in SC are supposed to be protected by both state and federal law. The U.S. Congress enacted several laws designed to protect vulnerable elderly patients, which apply to all long-term care facilities in the United States:
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 established basic standards of care to promote the physical and mental well-being of elderly persons residing in nursing homes throughout the country and listed fundamental rights.
The law requires nursing homes to accommodate residents' medical, physical, psychological, and social needs.
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program created a network of advocates for nursing home residents in each state who investigate and attempt to resolve specific complaints involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident.
State Laws & Regulations Protecting Nursing Home PatientsThe primary source of legal authority governing South Carolina nursing home abuse claims is the Adult Protection Act, which requires reporting and investigation when a vulnerable adult is suspected of being a victim of abuse or neglect.
Nursing staff might neglect to provide residents with needed treatment or counseling. Facilities deviate from providing critical care when they do not consistently administer medications, fail to provide needed emergency care or prevent residents from participating in social activities.
Upon receiving a complaint, the Department of Social Services and South Carolina Department of Health will assess the older adult's situation, and if it's determined they are at risk for abuse, neglect, or exploitation, secure alternative services for the vulnerable adult, who might be placed in a different facility or receive needed medical attention.
Each SC nursing home lawyer at the Nursing Home Law Center LLC can help you pursue an abuse claim with state Social Services and hold negligent facilities accountable. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
According to the University of California – San Francisco, nursing home residents stay in their facilities for approximately 13.7 months before dying.
The average age of the nursing center resident is approximately eighty-three years old.
Over half of all patients die within six months after admission into the rehab center.
Women tend to live longer on average (eight months) compared to men (three months).
According to the National Institutes of Health, state and federal laws protect nursing facility patients from improper transfers and unfair discharges from their facility. Medicare regulations restrict facilities transferring patients to other skilled nursing centers or discharging them from the facility unless:
- The assisted living center is closing
- The nursing center resident fails to pay their medical bills
- The discharge or transfer to another facility is required for the resident's well-being, safety, or health
- The patient's condition has declined, and the facility can no longer meet the resident's needs
- The resident's condition has improved significantly where care in the facility is no longer medically necessary
The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines patient neglect as "the failure of a designated caregiver to meet the needs of a dependent." In many cases, resident or patient safety is compromised when the nursing home staff neglects the resident's needs and care.
Other forms of patient abuse and neglect or personal injury in a long term care facility include:
- Leaving patients unattended at critical times
- Failing to provide patient's routine baths and showers on schedule or upon request
- Chronically failing to administer prescribed medications per the doctor's orders
- Keeping the resident's room cluttered and unclean
- Not reporting the patient's injuries, illness, or hazardous event to family members, physicians, or medical staff
- Depriving the resident of the necessities of life, including sufficient water, food, shelter, and proper hygiene
- Allowing the patient to remain lying or sitting in their feces and urine
- Ignoring or dismissing the patient's complaints
- Failing to answer the resident's call lights promptly
Filing a civil lawsuit against the nursing facility could provide an avenue to receive financial compensation for damages. However, proving a case could be challenging.
The victim, or their nursing home abuse lawyer, must prove negligence by showing how the nursing staff's behavior failed to meet the resident's physical, medical, or emotional needs. An attorney might prove the case by:
- Documenting problems witness to direct observations
- Gathering photographic, audio, and video proof
- Interviewing witnesses
- Reviewing medical records
- Obtaining doctors' diagnoses for the resident's mental health status, disorder, injuries, or harm
- Notifying federal and state regulators
According to the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), reporting what happened is essential to ensure justice is served. If your loved one was the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, act immediately. You should contact:
- Law Enforcement – The Police could protect your loved one from further physical danger while calling for paramedics and beginning a criminal investigation
- Local Caregiving Ombudsman – An ombudsman works in the local community as an elder care advocate to address concerns that might involve neglect, abuse, or other danger that requires legal action
- Adult Protective Services (APS) – The local APS office can investigate any non-urgent grievance involving neglect or abuse and take appropriate measures when necessary
- Social Service Worker – An APS officer often partners with social services to identify nursing home neglect and abuse in a facility and address any safety or health concern
- Senior Abuse Attorneys – A lawyer working on behalf of the victim might help resolve compensation claims and protect the victim's rights
Legal Help From Experienced South Carolina Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
While the number of nursing homes across the country is growing in response to the booming elderly population, they are still struggling to keep up with the rising need for nursing home beds.
They are also dealing with the many challenges that go along with caring for older residents.
However, they still have a duty to provide reasonable care and keep residents safe from nursing home abuse and neglect. Any staff member failing in their care responsibility should be held accountable.
Following are some of the most common and preventable form of abuse and negligence in nursing homes in South Carolina and nationwide, which can all lead to potentially life-threatening injury:
Staying idle with pressure on the nursing home residents skin pushing against the mattress, pad, or cushion could quickly develop a pressure sore (pressure ulcers, pressure wound, decubitus ulcers, bedsore).
The pressure constricts blood flow to a specific bodily area that could quickly become infected when left untreated, causing life-threatening consequences. Nursing home patients are at risk of developing skin sores when the staff regularly fails to turn or reposition the patient's body.
Advanced stage pressure sores are usually the result of negligence by untrained or unskilled nurses and nurses' aides. South Carolina law allows victims of negligence to recover damages for any treatment or other costs associated with the wound, pain caused by the wound, and preventable death when a resident dies from complications related to the wound.
Falls are perhaps the most common and costly assisted living facility accidents in South Carolina. Falls are the leading cause of death among patients over sixty-five years old nationwide, and patients in nursing homes are at the highest risk.
Many elderly patients are severely injured in falls due to the aging process or medical conditions affecting bone density, motor function, or balance. Nursing facilities must take reasonable control, so the existing risk of falls is not aggravated by negligence and a disregard for the patient's safety.
A leading and preventable cause of falls in nursing homes is when patients are dropped by staff while being transferred between beds and wheelchairs or into and out of toilet/bath facilities. Transfers can easily result in a patient getting dropped or falling when untrained or careless staff fail to follow proper safety protocols.
Nursing home falls can cause tragic and costly injuries, including broken bones, severe abrasions, brain damage, permanent disabilities, and even death.
Nursing homes are liable for fall-related injuries if the fall resulted from inadequate supervision, safety hazards, dropped patients, or other negligence.
Each personal injury lawyer at the Nursing Home Law Center LLC has prosecuted South Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits on behalf of families who have a loved one who has been seriously injured when dropped by staff.
Sample South Carolina nursing home fall damages can be found here.
Medication errors result in some of the most easily preventable injuries in nursing homes across the nation. While they are not always life-threatening, some patients can suffer catastrophic harm simply because those responsible for their protection failed to do their due diligence.
A chain of individuals is involved in how a medication is prescribed, filled, and administered to a resident, from the prescribing physician to the pharmacist to the caregiver. If there is an error in any part of the chain, disaster can result.
Unless the patient cannot participate in their care due to neurological or other disabilities, they should understand why certain medications have been prescribed and how they are to be dispensed. Many patients are too embarrassed to question why they are receiving medications, even though it is within their legal rights.
Some drugs have the potential to cause serious injury if not administered properly. Each South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer always examine the medication chain when investigating a case involving medication errors to determine which parties along the way neglected their responsibility.
Deliberate abuse. As horrible as it is to think about, elderly nursing home residents are uniquely susceptible to physical abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse. They are dependent, vulnerable, and incapable of defending themselves.
Helpless nursing home patients are often victimized by fellow residents, outside visitors, and most egregiously, the very caretakers and staff members paid to look out for their welfare.
If nursing home staff suspect a resident or other staff member of misconduct toward a patient, they are required to investigate the incident and separate the offender from the victim. Nursing facilities should also have adequate security measures to prevent outside visitors from entering the home and assaulting residents.
Many nursing facility abuse victims remain silent out of embarrassment or fear, so you must recognize the signs of abuse and know when to act to protect your loved one. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center LLC will step up for them to see their rights are protected, and they receive the recovery they deserve.
Read about some South Carolina nursing home abuse settlements here.
Attorneys Committed to Your Case
A nursing home abuse attorney from Nursing Home Law Center LLC is committed to holding negligent facilities accountable for inferior care.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers have experience with South Carolina lawsuits against nursing homes and hospitals involving pressure wounds, falls, and abusive treatment.
Put our expertise to work for you. Contact our firm for a free review of your case today.
Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
The warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are not always immediately apparent.
Family members need to recognize the signs of neglect or abuse of a loved one, so they can file a report with the South Carolina Department of Social Services and get the aged person needed medical attention and help.
Some of the following common signs are red flags that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect case; they include:
- Bruising and abrasions
- Open wounds
- Scratches or bleeding
- Sexual abuse
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Poor hygiene
- Anxiety or depression
- Broken bones
- Financial exploitation
- Lethargic behavior or fatigue
- Silence or indications of discomfort around staff workers
- Unchanged or soiled bedding or clothing
- Spoiled or rotten food
If you notice any of these potential signs of abuse or neglect, you should reach out to a South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer today.
We can help you file a report as soon as possible and gather evidence to strengthen your claims.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Skilled Nursing Facility
Tragically, death sometimes results from infected pressure wounds, falls, human errors, or other preventable negligence consequences. In many cases, the deceased patient suffers great pain and discomfort before their demise.
No resident in a medical facility, nursing home, or assisted living facility should ever die from a preventable injury.
When negligence is involved, the surviving family members can take legal action, including filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility responsible for their loved one's death.
Nursing Home Law Center LLC obtains justice for victims of nursing home neglect and abuse in South Carolina. We take cases on contingency, meaning our fees are paid only when we secure a positive financial outcome in your preventable death lawsuit for a loved one who died of elder home negligence.
Contact our law firm today or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation with a legal professional. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Please do not send sensitive information to our law office through voicemail, email, or text message. Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence Awards
Our nursing home neglect attorneys have compiled data from settlements and jury verdicts across South Carolina to give you an idea as to how cases are valued. Learn more about these cases here.
- South Carolina Nursing Home Inadequate Care Settlements and Verdicts
- South Carolina Nursing Home Medical Error Settlements and Verdicts
If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected in a South Carolina nursing home, you are advised to contact the state Long Term Care Ombudsman at 1-800-868-9095.
Other state services available for elderly citizens at risk for abuse:
* Similar results are not guaranteed. Each case must be evaluated on unique facts.