Who is the Plaintiff in a Nursing Home Abuse Case in Columbia – You or Your Loved One?

January 14, 2020

South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyers have clients come in their office every week with stories of loved ones being mistreated. Perhaps they moved their parent into a nursing home only to find out the staff there treat their patients terribly. Or maybe they learned that their mom or dad were being abuse by a fellow resident. Any number of things can happen that makes you think your elderly parent is being abused.

There are several types of abuse that we see. While they’re all a bit different, any of them alone can serve as the basis for a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Some of the common types of abuse include:

  • Physical Abuse – If you see your loved one has bruises or other marks of physical abuse, you need to call our office. As terrible as it may sound, there are staff members who hurt their patients. They could hit or punch them. They may keep them restrained and cause injuries to their wrists. Or, they allow other residents to injure your loved one.
  • Emotional Abuse – Imagine being moved into a nursing home after living your entire adult life on your own. Then the people who are supposed to take care of you scream at you or taunt you. For example, if a patient is deaf, or has trouble hearing, staff members may yell and scream at them out of frustration.
  • Financial Abuse – Some nursing home employees may try to steal your loved one’s belongings. This can include their physical belongings. But it can also include people who steal their debit card or checks and steal their money. Either of these things can be the basis for a nursing home abuse complaint.
  • Sexual Abuse – Nobody ever wants to think about this, but it does happen. It doesn’t necessarily involve a staff member having sexual contact with your loved one. It could be that they force your loved one to watch pornography. Or, they allow other residents to engage in unwanted sexual contact with your family member.
  • Neglect- One of the hardest types of abuse to notice is neglect. Usually, it takes a few weeks or months before you notice a difference with your loved one. This could involve people leaving your loved one in soiled linens. Or, maybe they aren’t being fed or given their medications. These things happen all the time and it can be very hard to prove.

Whose Job is it to Notice the Abuse?

If your loved one is alert and able to communicate with you, they may tell you about the abuse. They could show you the bruises or cuts. They may have written down dates when they weren’t bathed or given their medication. However, most nursing home residents are not this astute. That is, after all, why they’re living in a nursing home instead of their own house.

This means that you really need to do your due diligence when it comes to your loved one’s health and well-being. Visit as often as possible. Ask questions, both of your loved one and the staff. Ask to see your mom or dad’s chart. Talk to other residents. If you ask the right questions, you’ll get the information you need. Then, you need to call a skilled nursing home abuse attorney in Columbia, South Carolina.

Your attorney can reach out to the nursing home’s administrator. They can also file a complaint with the county Ombudsman. If this doesn’t work, you may have no choice but to file suit.

Your Loved One is Actually the Plaintiff in the Nursing Home Abuse Case

Since the abuse has been done against your loved one, they are technically the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Now, if you have power of attorney over your loved one, you would be the one to file the suit. However, it would be on behalf of your loved one. Any damages received would be intended to go to your loved one – not the family.

Now, there are situations where you may be the plaintiff in the suit. For example, if your loved one dies, you may have to file a wrongful death case. However, if it’s just for simple nursing home abuse, your mom or dad would be the plaintiff named in the lawsuit.

If you suspect that they are indeed being abused, don’t wait. Call our office right away and we can schedule a time to meet with your loved one.