Victims of nursing home abuse may be eligible for compensation to cover damages, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering and other psychological harm.
Having a licensed Charleston nursing home abuse attorney from our firm review your claim in a free consultation could be an important step in the recovery process. Roden Law has helped numerous injury victims recover compensation.
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Do I Qualify for Compensation?
You and your attorney need to review the details of your situation to determine if negligence was involved in causing harm and creating damages for you or your loved one.
To establish negligence, you or your lawyer must prove that the following four elements were present at the time the nursing home abuse or neglect took place:
Duty of Care Owed
There must have been a situation where a person or entity owed your elderly loved one a duty of care. For example, nurses, caregivers and other staff members may be legally responsible for your loved one’s physical well-being, including personal hygiene, nutrition, medication and other needs.
Breached Duty of Care Occurred
The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care, resulting in your or your loved one’s damages. In other words, the at-fault party failed to act in a reasonable manner, such as by providing medication or assisting with personal hygiene, such as bathing.
Link to Damages
There must be a causal link between the breached duty of care and your damages. You or your lawyer must prove that your or your loved one’s damages would not have occurred if the at-fault party upheld his or her duty of care.
Damages Were Generated
You or your lawyer must provide proof that damages were created, such as with medical bills and health reports.
If you are unsure whether you may qualify for compensation, schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Charleston nursing home abuse lawyer from Roden Law.
Possible Liable Parties in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
The legal team at Roden Law is prepared to hold all negligent parties liable for your or your loved one’s nursing home abuse damages. Negligent parties commonly include:
- The owner(s) – Sometimes this could be a single person or a business group that may be responsible for operating multiple facilities.
- Staff members – This may include doctors, nurses, nurses’ assistants, therapists, nutritionists and others.
- Third parties – This could include visitors or outsourced vendors, contractors, suppliers or other health care workers hired by the facility.
There are various reasons why these parties could be held accountable for nursing home abuse, such as:
- Insufficient security – This could result in outsiders gaining access to the facility, including criminals. Residents could be assaulted physically or sexually.
- Poor management – This can lead to understaffing, neglect of residents, negligent hiring and many other problems that may result in neglect or abuse.
- Understaffing – May cause residents to be neglected and can result in residents’ health being severely compromised.
- Lack of proper training – Staff members need to know how to do their jobs properly to keep residents safe and ensure residents receive the care they need.
- Unqualified staff – Nurses, caregivers and other staff members must have the proper training and qualifications to do their jobs. Unfortunately, facilities may cut corners during the hiring process and not properly vet the people who are interviewed.
What Are My Rights as a Nursing Home Resident?
Nursing home residents in South Carolina and across the nation are protected by the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. South Carolina has a Resident’s Bill of Rights detailing nursing home residents’ rights under federal and state law.
Our Charleston nursing home abuse lawyers are well-versed in these laws and determining when a residents’ rights may have been infringed.
Under federal and state law, residents have the right to:
- Assistance in applying for Medicare or Medicaid coverage
- Be treated with dignity and respect
- Be free from physical or mental abuse
- Sufficient security, including for personal property
- Live free from neglect, manipulation, seclusion, exploitation or coercion
- Fair treatment and quality care that is free from discrimination
- Refuse medical treatment
- Privacy when communicating with visitors
- A safe, clean and comfortable living environment
- Manage their own finances
- Privacy with their medical records
- Take part in community social activities, including religious practices
- Receive a detailed explanation of all facility services and fees when they are admitted
If you or a loved one were denied any of these rights, you could be eligible for financial compensation. Contact our Charleston nursing home abuse lawyers to learn more about your rights as a nursing home resident in the state of South Carolina.
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What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Loved ones are often the ones who discover abuse or neglect of residents, as residents are often afraid or unable to speak up and advocate for themselves. Abusers often threaten residents to get them to remain silent.
That is why it is important for loved ones to know the common signs of different forms of abuse and neglect:
This refers to a failure to provide for residents’ basic needs, either intentionally or because of understaffing that prevents staff members from looking after each resident properly. Examples of neglect often include:
- Pressure sores/bed sores – These are blisters or wounds caused by the victim being stuck in one position for too long, such as lying in bed or sitting in a wheelchair because he or she is physically unable to move or get up without assistance. Not moving allows pressure to build up in certain areas, such as the legs or heels. Residents who are dehydrated are at higher risk for developing these sores when they are left alone for too long.
- Dehydration – This often results in dry skin, canker sores and pressure sores. Dehydration is often caused by understaffing at the facility.
- Malnutrition – This can result in lack of energy, feeling tired often, infections, dry skin and weight loss.
- Overmedication – When a victim is overmedicated it may result in sleepiness, social withdrawal, hallucinations and sometimes seizures.
This is non-consensual sexual contact between the resident and someone else, such as a staff member or unauthorized visitor to the facility. Some signs of sexual abuse may include:
- Bruises on the arms, legs, breasts or genital area
- Underwear that appears to be torn or damaged
- Injuries to the pelvic area
- Unexplained bleeding
- Difficulty walking and/or sitting
- Panic attacks
This refers to physical violence, such as slapping, hitting, pushing, shoving, punching or biting. This can result in:
- Bone fractures
- Sprains and strains
Examples include yelling at, belittling, harassing or otherwise being verbally abusive to residents, forced social isolation, threats and other actions meant to result in fear or other psychological stress for a resident. Possible signs of this abuse include:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of appetite
- Thumb sucking
- Fear around certain staff members
Sometimes residents can be taken advantage of when managing their finances. For example, others may open credit cards in a resident’s name, withdraw money, steal personal property, buy things with a resident’s money, make changes to power of attorney, or open bank accounts in a resident’s name. Some signs of financial abuse include:
- Bills for treatments or medications that are not related to the resident’s needs or illnesses
- Missing personal belongings
- Unusual purchases
- Unusually large withdrawals from bank accounts
If you notice any of these signs of abuse, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately to discuss your nursing home abuse claim in a free consultation. The Charleston nursing home abuse attorneys at Roden Law are prepared to help answer any questions you may have about your claim.
Steps to Take if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Whenever it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 to get your loved one out of harm’s way. The police can investigate, and charges may be filed. This may serve as powerful evidence in a personal injury claim.
Contact the facility and report your concerns and take note of how they respond. If they are helpful and attentive, you may have an easier time getting to the bottom of what happened. If they are defensive or unwilling to listen or help, it may be a sign they are covering something up. This could indicate negligent hiring practices or understaffing.
You should also contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman with the South Carolina Department on Aging, which handles reports of abuse or neglect at a long-term care facility. They can begin an investigation and work to hold the abusers accountable.
Be sure to document conversations you have with government officials and people at the nursing home, including witnesses. Take pictures of visible injuries throughout your loved one’s treatment and keep track of expenses you and your loved one accrue.
Reach Out to a Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing home abuse is a widespread problem that can cause physical, emotional and psychological stress and harm to victims and their loved ones.
The licensed lawyers at Roden Law are dedicated to helping recover compensation for those who were injured due to another’s negligence. We have obtained millions on behalf of our clients and are ready to help you.
Let us handle the legal process on your behalf so you and your loved one can focus on medical treatment and recovery. We charge you nothing for your initial consultation and we collect no payments, unless we help you obtain fair compensation for your nursing home abuse claim. There is no obligation to hire our firm, so there is no risk to you.