There have been recurrent news stories and reports about the widespread incidents of abuse that take place in nursing homes. For families who are unable to provide in-home care for a loved one, or for elderly individuals who have no surviving relatives, these facilities may be a necessary part of life. Some nursing homes take advantage of this situation, subjecting a resident to painful, humiliating, and devastating abuse. One of the most common types of misconduct is sexual abuse. At the Knie & Shealy Law Offices, dedicated Greenville and Spartanburg nursing home abuse attorney Patrick E. Knie has helped many elderly people and their families seek the compensation they deserve for their injuries or loss.Recognizing Sexual Abuse in a Licensed Care Facility
There are numerous state and federal laws that govern nursing homes and set minimum standards for the care that they must provide to residents. Despite this, violations are not uncommon. When a nursing home has engaged in abuse or neglect, it is rarely an isolated incident. In most cases, multiple residents have experienced similar abuses and traumas. This standard applies not only to the facility but also to its employees and agents. Under the respondeat superior doctrine, an employer may be held liable for the negligent or reckless acts of its employees when those acts are carried out during the course and scope of the employment relationship.
When it comes to sexual abuse, a nursing home may fail to conduct an adequate investigation before hiring a staff member, fail to respond to a resident’s report indicating that he or she has suffered from sexual abuse, or merely fail to take action against an abusive employee. Some victims may feel too scared or intimidated to report the incident. Additionally, in some instances, the abuser is not a staff member but instead a member of the public who enters an unsecure facility. Nursing homes must ensure that their premises are safe and that unwanted guests cannot access them.Hold a Negligent Nursing Home Responsible for Your Injuries
A nursing home facility owes each resident a reasonable duty of care. This includes ensuring that the resident’s medical and physical needs are met, in addition to ensuring that the resident is protected from unreasonable risks of harm. A nursing home facility that fails to adhere to this standard likely will be deemed negligent. Also, in any situation in which a plaintiff can show that the defendant failed to adhere to an applicable statute or regulation, a rebuttable presumption will arise that the defendant acted negligently.
In cases involving sexual abuse, the culpable person typically acts with a willful or intentional mental state, as opposed to committing a negligent act or omission. A victim of sexual abuse in a nursing home can bring an intentional tort claim against the nursing home. South Carolina also enables a plaintiff to seek punitive damages from a defendant, which are a type of damages designed to punish a defendant for particularly reckless, willful, or wanton conduct. These are awarded in addition to compensatory damages, which cover items such as medical costs and pain and suffering.Spartanburg and Greenville Attorney for Nursing Home Abuse Claims
If an aging family member has suffered from sexual abuse as a nursing home resident, you and your loved one may be entitled to compensation. Spartanburg and Greenville nursing home abuse lawyer Patrick E. Knie understands how devastating this situation can be for not only a victim but also the victim’s family. He can stand by you through each step of the process while ensuring that your rights, privacy, and dignity are respected. Call injury attorney Patrick E. Knie at (864) 582-5118 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. He represents people in many areas of South Carolina, including Cherokee, Union, Laurens, Spartanburg, and Greenville Counties.