Here are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding nursing home abuse and neglect law in South Carolina.
What are some signs that a loved one or friend has been abused or neglected at a nursing home or other assisted living facility?
If an elderly or disabled person indicates to you that he or she has been abused, you should take these complaints seriously. Many instances of abuse go unreported and you should take action if you see evidence of bruising or other evidence of falls. Oftentimes elderly people are moved into and out of bed and improper or negligent handling can cause bruises or scrapes. Any medical treatment necessitated by falls, medication problems, or dehydration should be red flags.
Does South Carolina have any laws or statutes that protect persons living in adult assisted living facilities?
Yes, the South Carolina legislature passed a law known at the Omnibus Adult Protection Act to protect the rights of persons in nursing homes and other similar facilities. The law requires employees at nursing homes and certain medical professionals to report any suspected abuse. Failure to report abuse subjects a person to a fine. The act also establishes criminal penalties for neglect.
Should I be concerned about a nursing home interfering with an elderly person’s finances and bank accounts?
Yes. Depending on the situation, an elderly or disabled person may have a guardian that oversees his or her finances, including bank accounts, retirement benefits, and Medicare or Medicaid. Ideally the guardian will uphold his or her responsibilities. Unfortunately some elderly persons are very vulnerable and close attention should be paid to their finances including any large withdrawals. You want to make sure that no one at the nursing home is taking advantage of your loved ones.
Does a lawyer need to see the contract between the family and/or victim and the nursing home or assisted living facility?
Yes. It is very important that you bring a copy of the written contract or agreement if you have a copy and any other paperwork that you have regarding your contractual arrangement with the nursing home. Some agreements may affect your rights and the rights and obligations of the nursing home.
Will it be necessary to file a lawsuit regarding my family’s elder abuse claim?
This depends on your specific circumstances and the facts of your individual case. If we cannot get the compensation that you and your loved ones deserve, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. Your South Carolina nursing home lawyer will work with you each step of the way and let you know what your options are.
If an elderly person is incapacitated, how does he or she seek recovery for his or her injuries?
The courts have a process through which you can apply for a guardianship or conservatorship. The guardian then acts on behalf of the incapacitated person and seeks a claim on his or her behalf. Your personal injury lawyer can help explain this process and help determine the appropriate steps necessary to make sure that an abused person’s rights are protected. If the abuse results in fatality, the estate of the deceased can pursue a claim for wrongful death.
Who regulates the safety conditions in nursing homes?
Depending on the type of facility, the nursing home may fall under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, which requires that nursing homes receiving federal funds such as Medicare provide a safe environment for their residents. South Carolina and other local laws may also apply. If you suspect that someone is being abused at a nursing home, you should contact the appropriate state agencies and an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If you or a loved one are abused or neglected at a South Carolina nursing home, contact us for a free consultation.