Empty nursing home bed indicating nursing home abuse neglect and wrongful death

Our Compassionate Personal Injury Attorneys Explain Holding South Carolina Nursing Homes Legally Accountable for Preventable Deaths

Nursing home neglect and abuse can tragically lead to wrongful death cases. Grieving families are left shattered and seeking answers. In these facilities entrusted with the care of vulnerable individuals, instances of abuse and neglect can have devastating outcomes. Amid the pain and confusion, skilled wrongful death lawyers experienced in nursing home abuse advocate fiercely for justice, accountability, and restitution. Shed light on the distressing reality of nursing home neglect and secure closure with compassionate legal representation. 

Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Unfortunately, common nursing home accidents happen all too often. In many cases, they can prove deadly if not properly addressed. Many types of abuse and neglect in nursing homes aren’t accidents at all. They are negligent and frequently preventable. This is especially troubling given that senior assisted living and nursing homes owe their residents a vital duty of care.

Problems that can escalate to wrongful deaths in nursing homes may include:

  • Understaffed facilities with inadequate resources to properly care for residents
  • Safety rule violations by nursing home staff
  • Unsanitary conditions that cause infections to develop and spread
  • Intentional abuse or assault on residents by care home staff
  • Malnutrition and/or dehydration
  • Failure to diagnose and treat medical conditions like bedsores
  • Slips and falls due to hazards like wet floors and lack of necessary precautions
  • Failure to give the correct doses of medication and other treatments
  • Other forms of medical malpractice leading to wrongful death
  • General neglect of the long-term health care needs of nursing home residents

Steps to Take If a Loved One Dies in a Nursing Home

In the wake of a loved one’s tragic death, families are at a loss for what to do next. If the deceased had one, it’s often their spouse who speaks on their behalf, as they’re usually responsible for managing their affairs. Otherwise, an advocate might be another heir or a representative named in the will. 

At Pracht Injury Lawyers, we understand how overwhelming and challenging this is, especially with such dire responsibilities, so here are the actions we often recommend. 

Meet With a South Carolina Attorney

The initial consultation is always free and they can provide some clarity after reviewing your case. A wrongful death attorney has in-depth knowledge of laws governing nursing home care and their legal obligations to residents. Our skilled and empathetic legal team is ready to outline your options and guide you through this difficult process.

Collect Evidence and Keep Records

Work with your lawyer to arrange the necessary evidence to support your case. This may include testimony from other residents and families of the care home. Keep all records and documentation that may be relevant to the case. Medical bills, funeral home invoices, and other receipts will substantiate your compensation claims. 

File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

On request of the administrator of the deceased person’s estate, your attorney can file a wrongful death lawsuit with the court. The defendant(s) then have an opportunity to respond to the pleadings, presenting their side of the story. This initiates the discovery phase when both sides exchange case details. Your lawyer will work to secure nursing home records to review for compliance with federal and state law. 

Negotiate a Settlement

While you must file the lawsuit within three years, you don’t have to settle the case within that time frame. Cases of wrongful death due to nursing home negligence often settle outside of court. The two parties agree to a settlement amount to close the case. It’s important to speak in detail on this topic with your lawyer, as you can’t seek additional damages after you accept a settlement payment. 

Take the Case to Trial

If you and the nursing home cannot agree on a settlement amount, the case may proceed to trial in front of a judge or jury. This can be a long and drawn-out process, sometimes followed by appeals by the losing side.

Possible Compensation in Nursing Home Abuse and Wrongful Death Cases

Families can never feel completely compensated for the preventable death of a loved one. Even so, it’s fully their legal right to seek maximum restitution for wrongful death caused by nursing home neglect and abuse. Pracht Injury Lawyers has a proven track record of representing our client’s interests to the fullest. In one case, we recovered a $1.2 million settlement for a grieving family. 

Potential damages families may be able to recover from negligent nursing homes may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and future earnings
  • Loss of future benefits and support
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Pain and suffering before their death
  • Mental and emotional anguish by surviving family members
  • Loss of consortium, care, and compassion

South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-32-510 discusses punitive damages. More specifically, plaintiffs may seek punitive damages in cases where the “harm was the result of the defendant’s wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct.” If the death was deliberate or reckless, the court may award punitive damages to discourage wrongdoers from engaging in similar behavior moving forward.

Importance of Pursuing Legal Action

It’s vital to hold nursing homes accountable for their actions or inadequate care. Wrongful death cases are critical to pursue not only for families to seek fair compensation: they’re equally important to help prevent future nursing home abuse and deaths from happening. As more nursing home cases are brought to light, the hope is they discourage negligent practices from continuing. These actions may also encourage nursing homes to update their policies so that staff provide the compassionate and complete care their current and future residents deserve. 

South Carolina laws governing liability in nursing home deaths are complicated and nuanced. It’s essential to have a knowledgeable and skilled attorney who can fully evaluate your case and clearly present your legal options. The professionals at Pracht Injury Attorneys take the time to explain the differences between wrongful death and survival action cases, for instance. We’ll also work tirelessly to help your family get the justice and closure you deserve. Let us handle the legal details as your family takes the time for emotional recovery.