Can I Sue My Parent’s Nursing Home for Neglect or Abuse?
A recent study published in the journal Gerontology found that residents in for-profit nursing homes are almost twice as likely to experience substandard care and neglect compared to residents in similar, non-profit facilities. This highlights a growing problem across the country: elder abuse in long-term care facilities.
If you have a parent or loved one in an elder care facility who has suffered injuries under their care, you may be able to sue. Here’s what you need to know about bringing a lawsuit against a nursing home.
When a Nursing Home or Care Facility Can Be Held Accountable
A civil suit may be brought against a nursing home or other long-term care facility, or an individual who works within that facility, when an elder resident has suffered harm due to abuse, neglect, or negligence.
The harm may be the result of the carelessness or malice on the part of an individual employed at the facility, or it may be the result of the institution’s policies and common practice. Either way, if injury results, the plaintiff may be entitled to compensatory damages and possibly even punitive damages.
Examples of Abuse, Neglect, and Negligence in Elder Care Facilities
Elder abuse may show up as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial abuse, or neglect. (You can read more about these different types of abuse here.) While the first five show willful behavior on the part of the abuser, neglect is about absence of behavior. It refers to the failure to meet the basic needs of a person owed a duty of care. Examples of neglect in a nursing home setting include inadequate water, food, hygiene, or essential medical care.
Like neglect, negligence is also about absence of behavior. When a person or institution is negligent, it means they have not lived up to their legal duty to others. Not keeping the facility safe and sanitary or failing to train employees adequately are just two examples of negligence in a nursing home setting.
Challenges of a Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home
There are challenges when bringing a case against an elder care facility. First, the suit must be filed in time; in South Carolina, the statute of limitations for a civil suit in such a case is typically 3 years from the date of injury (although certain causes of action under certain circumstances may be subject to a 2 year statute of limitations).
Then, you must be able to show that there was indeed abuse, neglect, or negligence. You must show the facility had a duty of care to the resident, that duty was breached, and that breach resulted in injury. Medical records, police reports, investigations of the claim by an outside party, and witness statements may help bolster your case.
In short, you must be able to show that the nursing home didn’t do what it was supposed to do and that a lapse of care on their part resulted in injury to your loved one.
The Elder Abuse Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group Can Help
If you think you have a case against a nursing home or other elder care facility, you should speak to an attorney. The personal injury attorneys at The Carolina Law Group experienced in elder abuse cases can help you build a case and get the compensation your loved one is entitled to. Schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your case by filling out this contact form or by calling one of the numbers below.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in upstate South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.757.5555). Call today.