Financial Abuse and Exploitation
There are approximately 1.4 million people residing in nursing homes in the U.S. These institutions provide key services for elderly people who are no longer capable of living on their own and for families who may not have the resources or ability to provide around-the-clock care for their elderly loved ones. Although moving to a nursing home may provide important benefits for the resident and family, it may also create serious problems. The news is full of reports of nursing home staff taking advantage of residents or engaging in unspeakable acts of abuse and neglect. While physical and sexual abuse are widespread, financial abuse and exploitation are also common occurrences in nursing homes. At the Knie & Shealy Law Offices, our dedicated Greenville and Spartanburg nursing home abuse lawyer is ready to assist your family and you with seeking the compensation that you deserve.Identifying Nursing Home Abuse
In South Carolina alone, there are thousands of complaints filed each year reporting acts of abuse, neglect, intentional harm, and exploitation at nursing homes. Even more surprisingly, some experts project that fewer than 10 percent of all incidents are reported. Many people question why incidents are not reported at a greater frequency, but there are many aspects of a nursing home that make reporting difficult. First, victims are often bullied or threatened with harm if they do not remain silent. Also, without family members in the area or visiting on a daily basis to check the status of their loved one, the residents are left in the care of the staff, who may see this as a perfect opportunity to exploit the resident’s isolation. In other instances, the resident may suffer from a mental or physical illness that prevents them from speaking out on their behalf. Sufferers of Alzheimer’s or dementia are common targets of abuse because their ability to communicate is compromised.Establishing Liability for Financial Abuse and Exploitation
Since nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable, nursing homes have a duty to conduct thorough background checks of employees and to ensure that employees are not engaging in abusive or manipulative conduct. To help ensure that the appropriate level of care is being provided, nursing homes in South Carolina are subject to routine state inspections. If a nursing home has fallen below this level of care, the resident or their family may bring a negligence action against the nursing home and any staff members involved in the inadequate care. In cases in which the staff member has engaged in willful harm, such as manipulating the resident to obtain financial benefits or threatening the resident with abuse if they do not provide financial benefits, the nursing home and staff member may be liable for punitive damages.
In addition to being covered by certain federal laws, nursing homes that participate in Medicaid or Medicare are required to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” and to prioritize each patient’s self-determination and dignity. This South Carolina law, which is commonly known as the Nursing Home Care Bill of Rights, gives residents the right to handle their own finances and to designate a person to oversee their financial situation. This individual has access to all financial records, including information about nursing home fees. If a nursing home staff member uses undue influence or threats of force to convince a resident to name them as their financial advocate, the resident or their family may have a cause of action against the nursing home and the staff member.Retain a Dedicated Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Greenville or Spartanburg
Thinking about our loved ones dealing with financial abuse and exploitation at a nursing home is a devastating image. At the Knie & Shealy Law Offices, our Spartanburg and Greenville attorney has experience handling nursing home abuse claims on behalf of people in many areas of South Carolina, including in Cherokee, Laurens, and Union Counties. Gathering evidence from a nursing home and protecting your legal rights may be challenging, especially if the nursing home refutes the allegations. We can assist you with every step of the process, including retaining expert witnesses for trial. Call us now at (864) 582-5118 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with an injury lawyer.