Choosing to put an aging loved one in a long-term care nursing facility never comes easy. Once we take that leap and make arrangements, we expect our loved ones to receive exceptional care and to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. When facilities and caregivers fail at providing the care they are legally required to offer their residents, this failure can lead to physical and emotional injuries for the victim as well as a great deal of financial and emotional stress for the victim’s family.
The Life Care Center of Charleston has been fined more than $13,000 and cited for at least 13 deficiencies during inspections in the last few years—and the Hughey Law Firm has brought successful legal action to hold it accountable for the harm it did to our clients.
If you or a loved one resides at the Life Care Center of Charleston and has suffered emotional distress or physical harm as a result of the facility’s negligence, or neglect or intentional abuse by its caregivers, South Carolina law permits you to seek compensation for damages in civil court.
Contact the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm at (843) 881-8644 for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we may be able to help you hold the Life Care Center of Charleston accountable for their actions.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in South Carolina
South Carolina has specific legal definitions describing what constitutes nursing home neglect or abuse. South Carolina’s Omnibus Adult Protection Act provides these definitions. The law notes these important distinctions for determining abuse or neglect:
- Physical abuse refers to the intentional affliction or enabling of physical injury on a resident through action or the failure to act. Examples of physical abuse include slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, choking, pinching, burning, committing sexual battery, using mediation to control behavior, and subjecting patients to unreasonable confinement.
- Psychological abuse refers to intentional harassment, threats, or other intimidating behavior, which causes a resident to feel scared, humiliated, degraded, angry, or confused.
- Exploitation is forcing a resident to engage in improper or illegal activities or activities against the “reasonable and rational” wishes of the resident. Under South Carolina law, exploitation also includes financial abuse such as the unauthorized use of the patient’s funds, assets, or property, including theft.
- Neglect refers to situations where a resident’s health or safety suffers because their caregiver failed to provide the care, goods, or services the resident needed. Examples include not providing adequate or nutritious food, proper and clean clothing, medicine, supervision, and/or medical services. South Carolina courts view these situations as neglect when they cause the resident physical or emotional injury. For more information about neglect speak with a skilled attorney.
Recognizing When Your Loved One May Suffer From Abuse or Neglect
The fact that the Life Care Center of Charleston has been fined and cited for violating federal regulations does not automatically mean your loved one has suffered or is currently suffering from abuse or neglect if they live at that facility. But these violations should prompt you to pay extra attention to ensure your loved one is being treated with dignity and respect by the facility’s medical professionals and staff.
If you suspect your loved one may be a victim of abuse or neglect, call the Long Term Care Ombudsman at the South Carolina Department on Aging at 1-800-868-9095 as soon as possible, then get in touch with the Hughey Law Firm.
No matter what facility your loved one lives in, if you recognize any of the following signs, you should immediately alert the facility and look further into your loved one’s well-being:
- Physical signs of abuse are easiest to recognize. They include bedsores, cuts, wounds, welts, excessive bruising, burns, and an abnormally pale complexion. If you notice your loved one looks malnourished or dehydrated, with sunken eyes or cheeks, or they have lost an excessive amount of weight, they might be suffering from abuse or neglect.
- Behavioral signs of abuse are much more difficult to detect, and they might indicate other issues with your loved one besides abuse or neglect. Consider looking into your loved one’s situation further if they begin to behave in new and unusual ways. Signs include confusion, disorientation, excessive worrying, withdrawal from normal activities, withdrawal from other residents, suspicious stories about bruises and injuries, fear of speaking openly in front of caregivers, mention of suicide, depression, and anxiety.
- Signs of financial abuse can be obvious when you know where to look. Some examples of things that might indicate financial exploitation or abuse include missing cash, checks, jewelry or other personal property, unexplained charged on credit and debit cards, unauthorized address changes on financial accounts, and a change in your loved one’s credit score, which might mean someone else opened accounts in their name.
Recovering Damages in a Lawsuit Against Life Care Center of Charleston
If you decide to file a lawsuit and take your claim to court against Life Care Center of Charleston on your loved one’s behalf, you might be able to recover the following damages related to any abuse or neglect your loved one suffered:
- Medical costs related to the abuse and neglect, including medication and assistive devices such as canes, wheelchairs, and walkers;
- Costs related to transferring your loved on to a different facility;
- Expenses for therapy to help your loved one deal with mental trauma caused by the abuse or neglect;
- Compensation for physical pain and suffering;
- Compensation for emotional pain and suffering; and
- Punitive damages if your loved one suffered from intentional abuse or gross negligence.
Let the Hughey Law Firm’s Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys Fight for Your Loved One
Your loved one deserves the best care possible as they age. If caregivers at the Life Care Center of Charleston have harmed or neglected your loved one, we are here to help you hold the facility accountable for their egregious behavior. You can also provide evidence for criminal charges against the abuser, so when you take action, you may also be able to prevent the abuse and neglect of future residents.
After just shy of two decades of bringing hundreds of nursing home abuse and neglect cases against dozens of nursing homes, including the Life Care Center of Charleston, Nate Hughey has gained the experience to teach other lawyers how to fight these complex cases. Attorneys throughout South Carolina frequently consult him when they face particularly difficult nursing home abuse and neglect cases.
Contact one of our experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm at (843) 881-8644 or contact us online to discuss any suspected abuse and neglect so we can help you determine the best course of action for you and your loved one.