Negligence at Nursing Homes in South Carolina
With our aging population, 24-hour assistance and long-term care is becoming increasingly important for nursing home residents. When you or a loved one takes up residence in a nursing home, you trust that the facility and staff will put patient care first and foremost. Yet that trust is sometimes broken. If you or a loved one has suffered injury or worse as a result of nursing home neglect, contact the nursing home negligence lawyers at Strom Law Firm, LLC today.
Most families are confused over how much supervision is legally required to keep their loved ones safe from self-injury and properly cared for. The legal guidance is not well-defined, leaving families to rely on experienced nursing home neglect lawyers who know the boundaries and understand how to establish what reasonable care is for each individual case.
Self-Injury and Accidents May Result From Negligent Supervision
When a South Carolina nursing home or patient care facility places profit over adequate care, whether due to inadequate supervision, under-staffing, or otherwise and your loved one is injured or killed as a result, that injury may be due to nursing home neglect. Our nursing home injury lawyers at Strom Law Firm, LLC have been fighting negligence for over 15 years and we can help you build your case. Call 803.252.4800 today to schedule your face-to-face free consultation at our Columbia, SC office or we can discuss your case over the phone if it’s more convenient.
Establishing Negligence for Your Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit
Nursing home operators are under a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid injury to their patients. The reasonableness of that care is assessed relative to the patient’s physical and mental condition. A nursing home has a duty to safeguard residents from the foreseeable consequences of their various physical and mental impairments, which includes taking reasonable precautions to protect those who are unable to protect themselves. This includes protecting residents from hazards that may either cause them to injure themselves or be injured by others, including other residents. A nursing home must consider each resident’s physical and mental condition, and formulate an appropriate standard of care for each resident.
Strategies Used To Pursue Suits Against Nursing Homes For Negligence
Our team of nursing home negligence attorneys has years of experience investigating and building negligence cases, holding nursing homes accountable when injury or death occurs as a result of neglect. The strategies we employ range widely and vary by each individual case. Here are a few examples of the methods that may be used.
It may be necessary to offer expert medical testimony about what is and is not proper practice. Sometimes the lack of care given by the nursing home is so apparent that anyone can identify it as neglect. Say, for example, a nursing home administrator is alleged to have failed to properly maintain the nursing home facility, that situation will likely not require expert testimony. However, the way a nurse treats a patient’s condition might require testimony of a healthcare expert.
Expert testimony can help establish the standard of professional care against which the conduct of a defendant nursing home should be measured. This testimony will also help establish that the resident’s injuries were the result of the nursing home’s failure to exercise the appropriate care.
Breach of Contract
Usually, a nursing home enters into a contract with a resident, setting out what services it will provide, and the cost of those services. If the perceived abuse or neglect of the nursing home or its employees is contrary to promises made in the contract, the nursing home can be sued under a breach of contract. Many contracts require only that the home provide such services as are “reasonably necessary” for the resident’s well-being, but even under this standard, a nursing home can be found negligent if it failed to meet the basic needs of a resident.
Make Sure Nursing Home Facility Has Burden of Proof
If an injured resident does not know exactly what caused his or her injury, but it is the type of injury that would not have occurred without negligence on the part of the nursing home, his or her attorney may invoke a legal doctrine known as “res ipsa loquitur,” which places the burden on the nursing home to show that it was not negligent.
This doctrine might be successfully invoked, for example, in a case where a bedridden resident is injured by the use, or failure of, a medical instrument operated only by nursing home staff, and which does not ordinarily injure patients.
If a nursing home has knowledge of special facts relative to certain residents, liability for failing to respond appropriately to such information may be imposed.
Examples of Special Knowledge Cases
The following are examples of cases when the failure to respond appropriately to certain facts resulted in nursing home liability:
- Where a nursing home is aware of the violent or aggressive behavior of a patient who later attacks other residents, the nursing home can be found liable for failure to protect the other residents;
- Where a nursing home knew a resident was subject to occasional dizzy spells, the home was liable for an injury caused by a fall;
- Where a resident was a smoker, had the use of only one hand, and was otherwise immobile, his death from burns sustained when his clothing caught fire was attributable to the nursing home’s negligence;
- Where a resident who had recently had cataract surgery fell down a stairway, the nursing home was found liable;
- Where a resident suffered from cerebral arteriosclerosis and senile psychosis, the nursing home was found liable for injuries caused by resident’s leap or fall from window
Call Today for a Free Nursing Home Neglect Case Consultation
If you suspect that an elderly loved one has been the victim of negligence at their care facility, or if you have been injured, or if a loved one has been injured or has died as a result of negligence on the part of a nursing home or its employees, contact the nursing home negligence lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today. We offer free consultations so you can discuss your situation and learn more about how we can put our experience to work for you.