When you check your loved one into a nursing home facility, you would like to think that they are getting the best care possible. But the sad truth is, many people take advantage of the elderly, including nursing home staff members. It is not unusual to come across instances of neglect, abuse, and even sexual molestation.
If you think your elderly relative may be a victim of neglect or abuse, there are actions you can take to become compensated for damages and see to it that justice is served. Dan Pruitt is a Greenville, South Carolina, with extensive experience in nursing home abuse law. Read on to find out how he can help you win your case.
How Bad is the Problem?
Nursing home abuse is a bigger problem than many of us would like to believe. According to the United States Department of Justice, 11% of all seniors experience some form of abuse and neglect every year. This accounts for more than four million seniors.
What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
Nursing home residents have the right to be protected from any type of mental and physical abuse. They cannot be physically or chemically restrained as a form of punishment. However, they may be restrained if the staff believes their actions will cause harm to themselves and others.
These rights apply to residents of private nursing homes as well as those living in Medicare facilities.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It’s essential to identify abuse so you can determine if your relative has been a victim. Here are some things to look out for to protect your relatives.
- Signs of Neglect: Signs of neglect include bedsores, untreated illnesses, infections, a lack of hygienical care, and malnutrition.
- Signs of Physical and Sexual Abuse: Seniors may be victims of physical and/or sexual abuse. Telltale signs include cuts, bruises, broken bones, and other injuries, as well as STDs.
- Signs of Financial Abuse: Staff members may have access to your loved one’s finances for billing purposes and may take advantage of this privilege by moving their money around for their personal use. Keep tabs on senior’s financial records to ensure this isn’t happening.
- Emotional Signs of Abuse and Neglect: If a senior is being abused or neglected, they may have emotional symptoms. They may act withdrawn or fearful, especially around staff members.
Who is Responsible for Nursing Home Abuse?
When nursing abuse occurs, many parties may be to blame. The facility is almost always at least partially at fault. This is because they are ultimately responsible for any actions that occur under their roof.
However, other parties may be to blame, including the following:
- Staff Members: If a staff member went against protocol and purposely neglected or abused an elderly person, they will be responsible for their actions.
- Maintenance Staff: A maintenance staff is responsible for making sure the facility is safe. They must see to it that floors aren’t wet and handrails are secure to reduce the risks of falls and injuries. If the facility orders a repair and the maintenance crew does a shoddy job or fails to remedy the situation at all, they may owe the victim compensation.
- A Third Party: It is up to the facility to keep residents safe from violence and break-ins. If someone gets onto the property and harms one of the seniors, both the facility and the individual may be liable for damages.
What Should I do If I Suspect My Loved One is Being Abused
You can take several actions if you suspect a loved one is being abused, and the appropriate response will depend on the severity of the circumstances.
If you feel your loved one is in a life-threatening situation, it’s advisable to call the police or another law enforcement agent.
If you suspect neglect is happening, but you’re not sure, you may be best off calling Adult Protective Services. They will investigate the facility to determine what actions need to be taken.
You can also speak to the nursing home staff to find out if they can remedy the situation.
You may also choose to file a civil lawsuit. You are within your rights to do so whether or not law enforcement or Adult Protective Services feel you have a case. Because the lawsuit would be considered a civil suit and not a criminal suit, it will be easier to hold at-fault parties accountable.
However, if it is found that exploitation played a role in the case, it may then be considered a criminal lawsuit. Exploitation is the act of treating someone unfairly to benefit from their work.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Get for an Elder Abuse Lawsuit?
Nursing home cases are typically settled out of court, and the average compensation amount is $406,000. Some plaintiffs may try to take the case to court for additional compensation.
The damages rewarded typically cover the following:
- Medical expenses: Damages may be paid to cover any injuries caused by abuse and neglect.
- Emotional and Physical Pain and Suffering: Abuse and neglect are traumatic experiences, especially for the elderly. At-fault parties may owe compensation for these emotional damages and physical pain that diminishes the quality of life.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages will be rewarded if the defendant’s actions causing the injuries are considered excessively reckless. They are meant to discourage the individual from exhibiting similar behavior in the future.
Why Dan Pruitt is the Best Choice for your South Carolina Elderly Abuse Case
Elder abuse has to stop. By taking a stand against guilty parties, you are sticking up for your loved ones and preventing future cases of abuse.
Dan Pruitt has zero tolerance for individuals guilty of elder abuse. He will apply his years of experience to make sure defendants get what they deserve. He will fight to bring you the best possible outcome.
Don’t let guilty parties get away with mistreating seniors. Call Dan Pruitt to schedule a free consultation. He will see to it that justice is served.