When you leave your loved one in a senior living facility, you expect them to get the best care possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many nursing homes are known to neglect residents. They may even abuse them physically and take advantage of them sexually and financially.
If a nursing home staff neglects or abuses your loved one, it’s not okay. Your family has a right to pursue compensation.
With Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney in your corner, you’ll have extensive experience with nursing home abuse cases in your corner. Call us at 843-701-7029 to request a consultation for your nursing home abuse claim.
What Types of Abuse and Neglect Can Occur in a Nursing Home?
There are many types of abuse and neglect that can happen in a nursing home. These include:
- Physical abuse: This includes forceful acts against residents such as hitting, using restraints improperly, misusing drugs, and confinement.
- Emotional abuse: The staff may partake in acts that cause mental anguish such as threatening, humiliating, ignoring, isolating, terrorizing, or blaming the elder.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse occurs when a member of the staff forces the elderly to engage in non-consensual sexual activity.
- Financial abuse: Nursing facilities may have access to elderly resident’s financial records and may use these to siphon cash. They may also steal money or items from their rooms.
- Medical neglect: A nursing home staff may neglect the patient’s medical needs by failing to care for bed sores and infections and not administering medications.
- Basic needs neglect: This involves failing to provide the resident with basic needs such as water, food, safety, and cleanliness.
- Personal hygiene neglect: The staff may neglect the elderly’s personal hygiene needs by not bathing them, brushing their teeth, or doing their laundry.
- Emotional neglect: Emotional neglect happens if the resident is ignored, yelled at, or left alone.
Neglect may be intentional or unintentional. However, nursing home staff have the responsibility to see to it that the elderly’s needs are met. Not doing so can result in life-threatening consequences.
What Are Signs of Elder Abuse?
If your loved one is being abused, they may not come out and tell you. They may be dealing with dementia or other kinds of mental incapacity. Or they may simply be too embarrassed or depressed to open up.
However, you can look for signs of abuse in your loved one. These include:
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Reluctance to speak in a staff member’s presence
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Bed sores
- Unexplained cuts and bruises
- Unexplained fractures
- Becoming easily upset or agitated
- Signs of being medically sedated
- Being easily startled or afraid of being touched
- Instances of wandering
- Worsening of physical symptoms
Who Is Liable in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
If your elderly relative was a victim of nursing home abuse, it’s important to find out who is responsible for damages. The nursing home itself is likely to be at least partially to blame. After all, it’s their responsibility to provide a caring staff and a safe atmosphere for their residents.
In rare cases, a defective product like a faulty wheelchair or malfunctioning powered bed may be responsible for an elderly nursing home patient’s injury. A manufacturer or outside contractor may be to blame.
Who Can Represent an Elderly Relative in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
It is not unusual for elderly people to be unable to file their own lawsuits due to dementia, Alzheimer’s and failing mental competence. If this is the case, you will need to represent them by filing for guardianship or by using your power of attorney.
A power of attorney is an estate planning document that allows a person to appoint another person to take legal action for them if they become incapacitated. It would have been put in place before the incident occurred, while the victim was still enjoying optimal mental wellbeing.
If power of attorney wasn’t granted, you can petition for guardianship. To do so, you will need to file an official petition with the official probate court in South Carolina.
The court will determine if the person can be declared “incapacitated”. This will require a physical exam to diagnose the person as being mentally ill or deficient. Incapacity can also be based on advanced age, chronic drug use, physical illness, or disability.
Other interested parties and the ward will have an opportunity to object to guardianship.
Filing for guardianship is a long and complex process that may hold up your case. It is best to file for guardianship during early signs of dementia to ensure processes aren’t delayed should a legal claim arise.
What Kind of Damages Can I Collect in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
A nursing home abuse lawsuit can yield significant compensation. Damages can be collected for the following:
- Economic: These include stolen money and medical expenses.
- Non-economic damages: These will reimburse the victim for emotional pain and suffering. It is difficult to put a monetary value on these emotional damages, but your Charleston nursing home injury attorney will come up with an amount that is fair.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are put in place if the defendant’s behavior in causing the injury is considered excessively reckless. They are made to discourage them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
A nursing home abuse lawsuit can yield more compensation than other types of cases as you are going after a company that is likely to have liability insurance. Your Charleston nursing home abuse attorney will let you know how much you may be awarded.
Contact a Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
If a loved one was injured in a nursing home abuse incident, call Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney today. We care and we hold negligent nursing facilities and individuals accountable. We’ll use all our resources to manage your case smoothly.
Don’t delay, call Trey!