South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Settlements
VALUE OF NURSING HOME CASES IN SOUTH CAROLINA
In the next few areas of this page, we summarize some important South Carolina nursing home lawsuits. They are important for a variety of reasons but primarily because of the type of injuries and accidents that the plaintiffs suffered such as the following: falls, abuse, pressure sores, medical errors, and inadequate care. Remember though, as critical as the harms and incidents are, it’s also good to note some other dimensions about each of these lawsuits. Here are some things you should focus on when you read about these South Carolina nursing home cases:
- Was the accident or injury in any way developing prior to when the plaintiff entered the nursing home?
- What was the physical, mental, and financial toll of the incident on the victim?
- Did the resident who suffered the injuries have any family members that relied upon him or her financially or in any other way?
- Had the nursing home committed this type of misconduct in the past?
- How did the accident impact the victim’s life prospectively?
- What type of insurance policy does the nursing home have for this type of incident?
Maybe the most common and costly kinds of accidents in South Carolina nursing homes are falls. They’re so common because they can arise in so many different circumstances. They’re so costly because they can quickly and dramatically change your life and take your money: broken bones, scars, concussions, and even death. In the next section, we review some relatively recent South Carolina cases that involve falls to give you a better sense of the value of nursing home lawsuits.
- $950,000 SETTLEMENT: Richland County, South Carolina nursing home fall case. The victim in this case was an elderly female nursing home resident. She was suffering from a number of conditions including arthritis, dementia, and atrial fibrillation among others. Due to these health problems, nursing home staff were instructed to not leave her alone under any circumstances. She required around-the-clock care. However, on one occasion, staff left her unattended while she was using the restroom and she fell to the ground. Staff took some time in returning and only helped her get up much later. Then, they didn’t call for emergency care until nearly two days later when her family came to visit. The woman eventually died because of the injuries sustained in this accident. Her family sued the nursing home for wrongful death and negligence. Some of their claims included failure to afford her proper care, insufficient employee training, and other similar allegations. The defendant denied all of these charges and claimed that the woman died from unrelated issues. Just prior to trial, both sides settled the cause of action for $950,000. Here are some factors that might explain this rather large compromise
- The nursing home staff ignored explicit instructions to never leave her alone.
- The nursing home could not explain why they didn’t call for emergency services or her doctors for several days.
- The woman died close in time to the accident and there were not many other reasons that could explain that occurrence.
- $50,000 VERDICT: Spartanburg County, South Carolina nursing home fall case. The plaintiff in this lawsuit was a recently-admitted elderly woman. She entered the nursing home to receive 24/7 care and support. Unfortunately, from the documents filed in this South Carolina lawsuit, that is not what she got according to her allegations. Apparently, while walking to the restroom one early morning, she fell and broke her nose, hurt her face, and sustained substantial emotional damage. She claimed that no staff was there to help her before she tried going by herself. She sued the nursing home for the physical injuries and financial costs that arose after the incident. The defendant nursing facility disagreed and refuses to settle so the matter went to court where a jury awarded her $50,000 in compensatory damages. The jury may have been motivated by these things:
- The woman incurred a lot of medical bills and other expenses to fix the damage that occurred because of the fall.
- The nursing home couldn’t justify the absence of staff at the time of the fall.
- The plaintiff’s resident profile suggested she needed help at all times which was not what she was getting at the time of the fall.
- $70,000 VERDICT: Richland County, South Carolina nursing home fall case. In this incident, a woman fell and broke her fibula and tibia while under the care of a particular Richland County nursing home. Soon after the accident, she passed away but that was unrelated to the events of the fall or subsequent lawsuit. In that lawsuit, the decedent’s estate stated that the woman fell or was dropped in transit as she was moved from a wheelchair to her bed. The plaintiffs claimed that the nursing home and its staff were negligent in handling her, alerting medical authorities, treating her, and generally giving her the kind and amount of care that she deserved. They sought compensation for the physical, mental, and financial toll that it took on the woman. The defendant denied all of these points and made its case to the jury. After deliberations, the men and women of the jury awarded the plaintiff $70,000 in damages. They might have been influenced by these facts:
- The nursing home owed the woman enough care to prevent these kinds of incidents by contract, law, and custom.
- The woman had thousands of dollars in verified medical bills and clear injuries because of the fall.
- The woman’s standard of living was likely lowered due to the disability and pain that resulted from this incident.
- $100,000 VERDICT: Aiken County, South Carolina nursing home fall case. This case involve various legal principles including negligence, comparative fault, and verdict reduction. The plaintiff was a female nursing home resident in her late seventies. She was exiting her room when slipped over a cord that was being used by the staff to clean the hallway. She experienced chondromalacia in her cartilage around her knee. This required surgery to correct and still left her with arthritis and extensive long-term pain and suffering. She sued the nursing home for the damages that resulted from this accident in a South Carolina court. In her complaint, she alleged that she was reduced to a wheelchair because of the event and that her right leg was 20% disabled now. The defendant denied all responsibility and replied that the accident happened because of the plaintiff’s carelessness. The jury compromised in its verdict. It gave the plaintiff $100,000 but also 25% of the fault; therefore, she only collected $75,000 in compensation. Here are some things to remember about this lawsuit:
- Just because nursing homes have a duty to care for residents, the latter must still exercise care while living there and cannot exculpate all blame for all accidents to these facilities.
- The plaintiff was able to bolster her argument by evidencing specific displays of disability and long-term affect.
- $117,500 SETTLEMENT: Horry County, South Carolina nursing home fall case. In this fall lawsuit, a female nursing home resident fell two different times, from her bed and from her wheelchair. Subsequently, she passed away from unrelated reasons but her lawyers were still able to bring a suit on her behalf for the pain and costs that the incidents caused her and her estate. The cause of action made a case that the nursing home was negligent in its care of her (including supervision and services) and that this negligence led to the falls that created her damages. The defendant nursing facility disagreed. They argued in the alternative that this was either the fault of the decedent or that it was beyond its control. Both parties settled prior the commencement of trial for $117,000. Here are some particular noteworthy things about this South Carolina nursing home lawsuit:
- The woman racked up over $30,000 in medical bills because of the two falls.
- The falls permanently and partially disabled the woman.
- The falls exaggerated her pre-existing condition of arthritis.
- $215,000 VERDICT: Richland County, South Carolina nursing home fall case. This tragic story involved an elderly female nursing home resident. She was in her late eighties and was suffering from multiple physical and mental conditions that left her unable to take care of herself and in need of constant care. Despite this knowledge, the nursing home left her unattended in a wheelchair one morning and she ended up falling down a flight of stairs. A few days after this incident, she died from complications due to the injuries she sustained in the fall. Her lawyers brought suit for damages for wrongful death and negligence. They argued that the defendant facility should have done more to prevent this, supervised her better, that some staff noticed her alone and did nothing, and that there were not alarms to alert them that she was near the stairs. The defendant said that it did all that it could and that it was not responsible for the fall or subsequent death. Yet, the jury still awarded the estate $215,000 in compensatory damages most likely for the following reasons:
- The defendant violated state regulations in not placing alarms on exit doors like the one that the decedent had to go through in order to get to the stairs that she fell down.
- The defendant could not justify why the plaintiff was left alone especially from the admittance report that stated 24/7 supervision was required for her.
- The plaintiff was survived by a number of family members that claimed lost support at the trial.
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME FALL CASE TAKEAWAYS
Once you look over these South Carolina nursing home cases, you might notice some things about them that can relate to your case. Here are some takeaways that we found useful:
- Plaintiff recoveries were higher when they could point to a specific public health code violation or state citation;
- The starting point for nearly every lawsuit was whether or not the nursing home created a risk assessment to prevent falls for the resident and then if they followed through on that plan.
- Cases that alleged the fall or falls led to a wrongful death typically saw higher recoveries than those that merely pled negligence and general damages.
- Cases targeting the negligent conduct of third-party companies on the nursing home’s premises generally recovered less than those brought directly against the nursing home.
- Recovery normally at least doubled if the fall or falls caused a disability or long-term impairment.
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME BED SORE SETTLEMENTS AND VERDICTS
Bed sores might seem mundane and harmless-a casual annoyance. However, if you get bed sores, they can fundamentally and fatally affect your health. In the context of nursing homes, we see a lot of bed sores emerge and expand on residents because so many of them are bedridden or constantly in wheelchairs. They come about from extended pressure or friction across the skin. Yet, as they develop, they eat into the underlying bones and surrounding tissue. If unchecked, they can become infected and take the life of victims. The next section analyzes South Carolina cases with bed sores and nursing home residents.
- $280,000 SETTLEMENT: Aiken County, South Carolina nursing home bed sore case. This case began because a woman died while living in an Aiken County nursing home. At the time of her death, it was discovered that she had been battling bed sores which developed to a serious stage. Also, she showed signs of malnutrition, dehydration, and general neglect. The lawyers for the woman’s estate claimed that the defendant nursing home was negligent and responsible for her death, suffering, and expenses as well as the damages that this created for her surviving family members. The defendant denied all of these things and offered that the woman passed away due to natural causes despite its best efforts. Both sides seemed to be at an impasse but they found agreement and settled the matter for $280,000 prior to trial. Here is why they probably settled:
- The woman was clearly a victim of negligence because she had been turned over and her bed sores developed while living there.
- However, she was also a very old woman suffering from a number of things that the facility was not to blame for that could have complicated the issue of how responsible it exactly was.
- $240,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing home bed sore case. A man died in this incident from the misconduct of the nursing home management and staff at least according to the deceased man’s lawyers. They found that he had advanced stage bed sores and symptoms of abuse and neglect at the time of his passing. They sued his nursing home for wrongful death and sought compensation for his pain, costs, and familial burden. The defendant facility replied that it complied with all South Carolina laws and regulations. It added that the man’s death had nothing to do with its care and that he died from unrelated causes. Though the two parties went back and forth for awhile, they eventually settle for $240,000. The plaintiffs probably got that amount for a few reasons, including these:
- The man had a son who was left with a significant amount of expenses because of the incident.
- The progression of bed sores across the man’s body was evidence of a certain amount of negligence on the defendant’s part.
- $500,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing home bed sore case. This recent South Carolina lawsuit was brought by a middle-aged man after his mother died while in the care of a nursing home. Her death was due to a number of factors but, most prominently, because of the rise and spread of bed sores across her body. They developed so badly that they even became infected and the infection spread to fatal levels. His lawsuit was for negligence and wrongful death. He alleged various points including the following: there should have been an inspection for bed sores; there should have been a plan to prevent and treat bed sores; there should have been better supervision; and there should have been better care. The defendant replied that the circumstances of her death were beyond its control. Yet, settlement was not long after this statement and the son received $500,000 in compensation maybe for the following reasons:
- The son had to spend over $10,000 in burial, funeral, and other costs.
- Medical companies had already filed over $30,000 in liens for the care that they gave the woman due to the injuries from these events.
- The lawsuit also made a substantial showing of damages for the woman’s pain and suffering prior to her death as well as the son’s losses going forward from it
- $30,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing home bed sore case. A woman in this case sued her nursing home after she developed bed sores while living there. She sought damages for the pain they caused, costs they imposed, and change they made in her life. However, the defendant came back swiftly with a strong defense. It said that the only reason that she got bed sores in the first place was because some other party mistreated her. It is not clear from court documents who that party may have been but it was a forceful enough reply that the plaintiff was encouraged to settle early. She received $30,000. Think about this when looking at the value of this case:
- She did not contract that many bed sores and they had not spread or developed significantly before trial.
- Her medical expenses to correct the matter were only a few thousand dollars.
- It was clear how they would substantially impact her life going forward from the events of this lawsuit.
- $310,000 VERDICT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing home bed sore case. This incident got so bad that the nursing home resident involved ended up needing an amputation. He was checked into the facility after spending some time nearby at a hospital. Once he got there, his condition worsened extraordinarily: first, he developed bed sores; second, to treat the bed sores, he needed to get an amputation below the knee; third, he actually died. Lawyers for the man’s family sued the nursing home. Early on into the lawsuit, it was determined that the death was not related to these events but the plaintiffs still sought compensation for the pain and suffering he experienced prior to passing away as well as the enormous costs this imposed upon him and his family (like the expensive amputation procedures). The defendant refused all of these claims so the matter went to trial in Charleston, South Carolina. The issue before the court was whether the defendant facility was responsible for these injuries and if so by how much. The jury found that it was and to the tune of $310,000. Here is how they might have arrived at that number.
- The plaintiff’s lawyers were quite good at showing the explicit financial toll that the bed sores and subsequent amputation took on him (for instance, by showing the receipts of the surgery, follow-up, and medication, etc.)
- However, the plaintiff’s lawyers could not make an argument of long-term pain and suffering, disability, or reduced quality of life because he died shortly before trial began from unrelated causes.
- Yet, they still recovered a sizeable amount because the nursing home was clearly in the wrong by allowing the bed sores to arise and spread.
- $200,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing home bed sore case. This case was rather unique than many other South Carolina nursing home cases because at the outset it was known that the victim had bed sores. In fact, as he was admitted to the nursing facility he was also simultaneously receiving treatments at a local hospital for the matter. However, the nursing home still had obligations to render care to him for this condition and generally. However, according to the complaint filed in court, that is not what he received. Apparently, the nursing home failed to turn him over regularly, failed to monitor the bed sores he already had to prevent them from getting infected, and failed to stop the rise of other bed sores. The complaint continued by making the claim that this led to his death and, consequently, sought compensation for wrongful death and other damages. The defendant nursing home responded to these points in its response. In that document, it set out how it gave the standard of care that the resident deserved and that it could not be held responsible for his death as a matter of law. However, despite these differences, both sides did agree on a number to settle so that they could end the matter: $200,000. Here is why the victim’s estate got a rather low number for a wrongful death bed sore case:
- The plaintiff could not allege that the defendant was responsible for the bed sores-only that it was responsible for their spread and/or worsening.
- The man was already in very poor health from other pre-existing conditions and would have a hard time showing by exactly how much the defendant’s mistakes caused his death.
- However, it was obvious that the defendant had error in some capacity by failing to turn him over and continually check his bed sores.
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME BED SORE CASE TAKEAWAYS
South Carolina nursing home lawsuits involving bed sores are medically and legally complex. If you’ve never experienced them or known anyone that’s gone through them, it can feel impossible to predict if you’ll be successful in court. Here are some lessons from these cases that are important to remember:
- On almost every occasion, a nursing home has an affirmative obligation to screen new residents for bed sores, create a plan to prevent from developing or continue developing if they already have emerged, and follow through on that plan with constant care and supervision.
- Consequently, nursing homes will typically always have to take responsibility if residents develop bed sores while living at that facility or if their bed sores worsen while they are there.
- It’s important to research if the particular nursing home has had this problem in the past because it might evidence a lack of proper policies and procedures that will help show that it legally caused your sores and other injuries.
If the bed sores become infected and even take the life of someone you know and love, then you can bring a wrongful death claim in addition to a negligence claim and this can open whole new dimensions to your recovery in court.
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME ABUSE SETTLEMENTS AND VERDICTS
The number of nursing homes across the country is rising to keep up with the booming population of elderly Americans. As they set up shop, they are dealing with the known and novel issues of treating older residents and that is no easy task. However, it does not excuse them from the high duty they have to provide excellent care. If they shirk from that responsibility and abuse their residents, then they should pay for the damage that they cause. The next set of cases highlight abuse across South Carolina nursing homes and how victims were able to recover from juries and settlement.
- $2,000,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston, South Carolina nursing home abuse case. The nursing home victim in this dispute was an elderly female resident. She was in her late seventies and had been living in the establishment for nearly five years. However, after a series of events had transpired, she passed away in its care. What apparently had happened was that she was being abused by some of the staff and other residents. The abuse included physical and mental suffering. The deceased woman’s family believed that had the nursing home taken further action she would not have died. They thought that it should be held responsible for her death and in their complaint they cited a failure to adequately train, hire, and supervise its staff members. The defendant denied that it was responsible or at least that any of their failures had anything to do with her death. Yet, facing an upcoming trials, they still decided to settle and gave the family $2,000,000. The family had the following factors going for them heading into settlement:
- The woman had visible scars and bruises from the physical violence of other residents.
- The plaintiffs could show that staff ignored her calls for help.
- The nursing home could not point to policies and procedures designed to prevent resident-on-resident violence.
- $100,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing home abuse case. The apparent victim in this South Carolina lawsuit was a 84-year-old woman. She had been living at the facility in question for almost ten years. In that time, she had developed cancer as well as a number of other significant health problems. Consequently, she was taking multiple medications at the time of the accident. However, her lawyers claimed that at some undetermined point in time she died due to the abuse of certain nursing home staff. There wasn’t anything specific mentioned but the general allegations painted a picture that she was hit, forced to the ground, and these injuries took her life. After doctors unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate her, she was pronounced dead. The lawsuit complained of negligence and wrongful death but the defendant disagreed entirely. Just before trial was to begin, they settled for $100,000. Here is what might explain the relatively low number for a wrongful death case.
- The plaintiffs did not clearly show that the injuries from the incident had more to do with her death than her pre-existing conditions.
- There was a lot of confusion about what actually happened, some say was pushed by the nursing home staff but others said that she actually just fell.
- She was already seriously ill before the accident took place.
- $30,000 SETTLEMENT: Aiken, South Carolina nursing home abuse case. In this case, an elderly female nursing home resident was sexually and physically assaulted by another resident. The man jumped upon her when she was sleeping and attacked her. She suffered injuries all across her body including her genitals, face, arms, ears, and neck. After people subdued the man, she was taken to a hospital for examination and care. Eventually, she brought a lawsuit for the injuries and damages that she sustained from the event. She sued the attacker as well as the nursing home. With respect to her allegations against the nursing home, she charged that they did not adequately hire, train, or monitor their employees. Due to this negligence, she suffered various damages in her opinion. While the nursing home disagreed with this line of reasoning, they still decided to settle and she received $30,000. Here are some important points about this case:
- The woman incurred thousands of dollars of medical bills because of the attack.
- It took the nursing home staff over ten minutes to remove the man from her bed.
- The man was inappropriately able to gain access to her room.
- $175,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing home abuse case. The plaintiff in this instance was an eighty-three-year-old man. He had been living at the same nursing home for almost five years before the events described in the lawsuit took place. On that day, he alleged that he was hanging out in the common area when the staff improperly removed him and took him to his room. In the process, he received multiple bruises across his arms and legs some of which even turned into scars. He had to be taken to the hospital for treatment them and endured pain and suffering long after the incident. In their reply, the defendants suggested that the man was acting violently and that he was removed from the area in order to protect the other residents. Furthermore, they alleged that its treatment of him was proper and that any injuries he sustained were the result of his own actions. However, they still settled the matter and gave him $175,000. Here is why he might have received that much when it appears he was at least a little at fault:
- The disfigurement he sustained seemed unnecessary because the staff had a significant strength and numbers advantage.
- The plaintiff had over $10,000 in medical bills.
- The nursing home did not have clear evidence of what had transpired either through recordings, witnesses, or other sources.
- $400,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing home abuse case. In this nursing home dispute, the staff neglected the resident who was the plaintiff that eventually filed the lawsuit. She was sixty-five at the time and suffering from dementia as well as paralysis when one of the employees gave her a cigarette and left her unattended. The results were severe. She suffered third-degree burns and scarred over ten percent of her body. When her recovery in the hospital was complete, she brought a lawsuit against the nursing home for damages from the incident. She alleged that the facility was negligent in its supervision of her and did not give her the care that she deserved. The defendant was not moved by any of her arguments. It said in its response to her complaint that it had no affirmative duty to protect her while she smoked and that it gave her the exact level of care that she required and deserved. Yet, it still was moved to settle and offered her $400,000 just before the trial started. She accepted. The plaintiff’s case had some strengths that might have influenced this settlement including the following:
- The defendant didn’t tailor its supervision to the fact that she was senile; therefore, its claims that she should have watched out for herself were not that convincing.
- The woman sustained significant disfigurement which might have weighed heavily on the jury considering her mental impairment.
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME ABUSE CASE TAKEAWAYS
Current controversies and stories in the media have shined a light on the kind of abuse that regularly takes place within South Carolina nursing homes. After reading over the lawsuits that we summarized in the previous section, take a look at these takeaways so you have a better sense about why these plaintiffs got what they did and what might be possible.
- Investigation and records collection are critical to form the foundation of your abuse case because this will help rebut any claim or presumption that your injuries are overstated or pre-existing.
- In nursing home abuse cases, the first thing you need to do is analyze the facility’s hiring, training, and supervising policies, procedures, and enforcement. This will help you put the nursing home on the hook instead of just a particular employee.
- You must remember that many of the insurance policies that nursing homes take out to cover resident injures might not apply to abuse situations because it generally applies to intentional conduct instead of negligence. This has important consequences for who might be liable (and actually paying you) in court.
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME INADEQUATE CARE SETTLEMENTS AND VERDICTS
Most of the time, residents enter nursing homes because they cannot give themselves the care that they require. They need a helping hand. Yet, not all South Carolina nursing homes deliver the care that their residents expect and the latter get hurt in the process. If you keep reading, we review some cases were nursing facilities across the state doled out inadequate care and residents suffered all kinds of injuries: physical, mental, financial.
- $470,000 VERDICT: Florence County, South Carolina nursing home inadequate care case. This case was unique because it involved a nursing home contractor and not exactly a nursing home per se. However, it occurred on the premises of the nursing home and at the behest of the nursing home because it called the vendor to come get the resident that got injured. The victim was an elderly woman who had been living at the facility for a long time. What happened was that as they were moving here from the home to the hospital, she tripped over one of them and fell. The damage was much more severe than what you might expect from a normal accident. She broke her ankle and tore a ligament in her knee. Since that incident, she continued to experience a lot of pain and had to work with physical therapists on the new disability. She sued the people who were moving her as well as the nursing home. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, she claimed that the home was responsible since the movers technically worked for it. The nursing home denied this allegation as well as most of the claims in her lawsuit. It alleged that her damages were not that severe and the matter went to court to settle the issue. After both sides had their say in front of a jury, it found for the plaintiff in the amount of $470,000. Here are some points that support the verdict:
- The woman was severely disabled after the incident because her mobility was drastically limited.
- The cost of emergency and long-term, rehabilitative care was going to be tens of thousands of dollars.
- Due to the surgery from the accident, she sustained a large and visible scar that impacted her quality of life.
- $75,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston County, South Carolina nursing inadequate care case. What might be fascinating about this case is how common it seems to be. The setting, victim, and accident sound the same as a lot of other lawsuits. Here, it’s a woman in her middle seventies living at a nursing home in Charleston, South Carolina. She passed away while living there and her family chose to bring suit against the institution. They alleged a number of errors that the facility committed including a lack of supervision, employees, or resources. The consequence of all these missteps, in their opinion, was that she suffered abuse, dehydration, malnutrition, and a variety of other harms. They sought damages for all these things. As you can expect, the defendant denied all fault. It said that it delivered the proper standard of care to her and should be free of all blame. The two sides went back and forth for awhile but eventually found room to settle for $75,000. Here are some things to remember about this lawsuit:
- The family’s demand was around $200,000 and the defendant’s offer was $30,000 so the settlement was closer to the latter.
- The woman was extremely sick before the events of this lawsuit.
- $200,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston, South Carolina nursing home inadequate care case. This female nursing home resident turned South Carolina plaintiff was ostensibly a victim of deficient service. She suffered from malnutrition, dehydration, and constipation while living at the facility involved in the dispute. In fact, the latter condition got so bad that she sustained an injury to her rectum. She sued the home in court because the incident left her with significant pain as well as a serious amount of medical bills. Her complaint alleged a series of faults on behalf of the defendant facility including a lack of care, employees, and supervision. She sought various forms of legal relief for her tangible and intangible damages. The defendant wholeheartedly disagreed with the bases of the plaintiff’s lawsuit. It countered that it gave her the requisite standard of care; the plaintiff had not been injured to the extent that she claimed; and that it could not answer some of the plaintiff’s contentions because it didn’t have enough information. Possibly because of this last point, the nursing home still offered $200,000 to settle; however, the plaintiff had other things going for her including the following:
- The plaintiff clearly had not received her medicine or sufficient food or water over an extended period of time while staying there.
- The rectal injury was a patent sign of neglect on behalf of the nursing home at least to the extent that it never noticed it had developed in the first place.
- The settlement could have just been a compromise to settle many of the woman’s medical and related bills which were in the high tens of thousands.
- $300,000 SETTLEMENT: Spartanburg, South Carolina nursing home inadequate care case. This case was very complicated. The nursing home resident involved was extremely ill prior to the events described in the lawsuit. She was fifty-two and a quadriplegic who was suffering from multiple serious health conditions. However, while under the care of the defendant nursing home, she died. Her family and their lawyers looked at the incident and decided that it occurred because of the misconduct of the nursing home. They argued in their complaint that the nursing home didn’t properly hire or train employees to care for residents like her. Also, they said that the facility didn’t put in place procedures to stop these events from happening. The defendant nursing home disagreed. It replied that it did all that it could and couldn’t be held liable for something beyond its control. The matter looked like it was going to trial until they decided to settle for $300,000 just before it started. Here are some takeaways from this case:
- The plaintiff had special needs and the defendant couldn’t show it put in place anything to take this into account.
- The chain of events that led to her death wasn’t recorded and the defendant facility had difficulty attesting to what exactly transpired. This made the plaintiff’s case stronger.
- $500,000 SETTLEMENT: Anderson County, South Carolina nursing home inadequate care case. This nursing home incident happened to a relatively young resident. He had barely turned fifty when the events of this lawsuit transpired. Prior to the event, however, he sought treatment and care in the first place because he was suffering from a number of health problems that he could not manage on his own. This led him to enter this particular nursing home in Anderson County, South Carolina. However, not long after he was admitted there, it became apparent that he would not get the amount and kind of care that his health required. The evidence was clear and fatal when he was passed away at a remarkably young age from a number of preventable causes. Representatives of his estate filed a lawsuit in court for damages soon thereafter. They alleged that the nursing home committed a number of failures including general neglect and an inability to care for his particular conditions such as constant urinary tract infections. They sought compensation for wrongful death and negligence for the pain, suffering, and expense of the incident. The plaintiffs received $500,000 in settlement from the nursing home probably because of these facts:
- There was no evidence that the nursing home was taking care of his urinary tract infections which ultimately was a factor in his death.
- The man died at such a young age.
- He didn’t that many medical or other costs before passing away outside of the typical expenses related to funeral and burial events.
- $160,000 SETTLEMENT: Columbia, South Carolina nursing home inadequate care case. This particular nursing home resident suffered a terrible ordeal: bed sores; dehydration; malnutrition; a knee amputation; and even death. Apparently, once the nursing home where she was staying discovered how dire her situation was, they transferred her immediately to a local hospital. After doctors evaluated her condition at that facility, they moved her to another location where she could receive specialized attention and care. However, it wasn’t enough to prevent her rapid descent and eventual death. Lawyers for the woman’s family brought suit against her doctors and the nursing home as well as some of the hospitals that she stayed along the way. They alleged that their combined misconduct caused her death. With respect to the nursing home, the complaint alleged that the facility completely failed its duty to watch over her and care for her and that it was largely responsible for the bed sores and amputation. The defendant nursing home denied this theory and in reply stated that the events would have happened regardless of what it did because of her old age and pre-existing conditions. Yet, they did contribute $160,000 to her settlement. Here’s why that number is rather low:
- The woman’s estate received a significant amount of money from the other defendants.
- The woman had not been at that particular nursing home very long prior to being transferred to the hospital and passing away.
- $500,000 SETTLEMENT: Anderson County, South Carolina nursing home inadequate care case. This lawsuit involved one elderly female resident and a lot of neglect on behalf of the nursing home. As she was being admitted to the care facility, her doctors instructed the staff to put procedures into effect that would keep her from falling because she was at high risk for falls. However, they did not do as they were instructed and she fell on a number of occasions. Eventually, injuries that she sustained from one of the falls even killed her. She was survived by a number of children and grandchildren. They decided to bring a lawsuit against the facility to recover compensation for the cost and pain that the death caused them. Their suit alleged that the nursing home’s deficient care caused her death and that they had the legal right to recover under South Carolina law. The defendant denied these claims but didn’t want to go to trial so it offered to settle and the plaintiffs accepted for $500,000. Here are some facts that might help you understand this settlement agreement:
- The woman was already battling cancer and a number of other health problems but still had a life expectancy of at least a few years.
- The costs the incident imposed upon the family were significant including emergency medical care as well as funeral expenses.
- $175,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston, South Carolina nursing home inadequate care case. This incident started off small and insignificant but ended up being very serious and costly. The victim was an elderly woman living in a nursing home. One day she needed to use the restroom so she called for assistance. The nursing home staff came and helped her get to the bathroom but then left her there by herself. While she was using the facilities, she fell and injured herself. Her harms were not minor. She sustained a subdural hematoma, herniated disc, and other various injuries. Her medical bills to fix these things were over $10,000. To make up for the damage that this incident caused, she brought a lawsuit against the nursing home where she was staying at the time. Her complaint made out a claim of negligence and, in particular, alleged that the defendant facility should have trained its employees better and monitored more carefully. She sought compensation for the damages that ensued. The defendant decided to settle and she received $175,000 most likely because of the following:
- The incident left her with long-term pain, suffering, and disability.
- The accident could have been avoided if she was handled better by the nursing home staff.
- The woman racked up a lot of bills due to the accident that she had to pay for out of her own pocket.
- $425,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston, South Carolina nursing home inadequate care case. The victim in this incident died from a combination of health conditions including dehydration, anemia, and a staph infection. The woman’s family brought suit against the nursing home for negligence and wrongful death. They contended that the facility’s deficient care was the cause of her suffering, death, and expenses. They sought all recovery available under South Carolina law. The defendant nursing home denied that it was responsible for her passing and instead pointed to other possible causes for her death. Yet, as the trial approached, they chose to settle with the plaintiffs for $425,000. Here are some important points to remember about this settlement value:
- The hospital where she was treated also settled with the family for approximately $250,000.
- The defendant nursing home struggled to offer evidence of treatment with respect to the decedent’s specific health problems.
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME INADEQUATE CARE CASE TAKEAWAYS
Nursing home facilities have a duty to provide proper care and supervision to each of its residents. If they don’t deliver on that promise, then they owe the people that they failed whatever it takes to make them whole again. Here are some important questions regarding South Carolina nursing home litigation with inadequate care:
- What was the difference between what the facility said they would give to the residents (most visible in its policies and procedures) and what they actually delivered to them? Plus, what can they prove in their records regarding this treatment?
- Were other residents the victims of similar acts of inadequate care and, if so, what laws or cases did they rely upon when seeking compensation in court?
- Did the nursing home staff blatantly ignore advice or instructions from the victim’s doctors, family, or other people?
- When did the nursing home become aware of the victim’s injuries, what did they do when they became aware of them, and who did they notify when they became aware of them?
- Did the nursing home’s inadequate care complicate the victim’s pre-existing conditions or did they not relate to each other?
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME MEDICAL ERROR SETTLEMENTS AND VERDICTS
A lot of South Carolina nursing home residents require advanced medical care. If the nursing home that houses them cannot provide that, then they are supposed to help the resident acquire the medical attention that they need. Unfortunately, this does not always happen: residents are given the wrong medications; staff ignores the resident’s doctors; the resident is not timely sent to the emergency room. The next few cases show you how nursing homes often error in providing residents with the medical attention that they demand.
- $1,050,000 VERDICT: Spartanburg, South Carolina nursing home medical error case. This case represents a tragic outcome to the unavoidably complex nature of nursing homes in America. More and more people are flocking to them as the Baby Boomers retire and they are growing older and older thanks to modern medicine. However, this makes their jobs increasingly complex. This lawsuit arose because the nursing home staff mixed up the medicine that the resident was supposed to receive. The resident was a woman in her late eighties. She was suppose to receive a barrage of prescriptions for a whole bundle of health problems she was dealing with but she was not suppose to receive insulin. Yet, that’s what she got and she got a lot of it. The result was that she went into hypoglycemic shock. About fifteen months after the accident, she died from injuries she sustained from it. Her two children sued on her behalf and sought compensation for her pain and suffering and expenses as well as the cost that it put on them like lost support and funeral expenses. The defendant nursing home knew that it was in the wrong but haggled over how much so the case went to trial. After the proceedings, the jury awarded the plaintiffs over $1,000,000-$1,050,000 to be exact. Some things of note about this award:
- The woman had nearly $20,000 in medical bills because of the accidental insulin injection.
- The children claimed almost $40,000 in lost services.
- The plaintiffs received $1,000,000 in punitive damages.
- The woman was said to have suffered a great deal before she died from the insulin overdose.
- $350,000 VERDICT: Pleasant, South Carolina nursing home medical error case. The wrongdoers in this nursing facility home were the facility and a pharmacist that worked there. Apparently, on almost ten occasions, the latter prescribed a course of Methotrexate to a resident at a dosage level of nearly five times what it should have been. Eventually, the elderly woman had to be taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and examination. The effects of the incident left her with long-lasting pain and changed quality of life. She brought a lawsuit against the nursing home and the pharmacist for the pain, aggravation, and costs that the events caused her. The defendants denied that they were at fault but decided to settle for $350,000. Here are some things to note about this lawsuit:
- The plaintiff sued the pharmacist for medical malpractice and the nursing home for negligent supervision/hiring/etc. Once she was able to show that she was hurt because of their actions, it was the responsibility of each of them to exculpate themselves from any wrongdoing.
- The woman clearly received much more medication that she should have.
- The plaintiff’s lawyers were very organized about showing and proving all immediate and long-term costs that the incident imposed upon her.
- $200,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston, South Carolina nursing home medical error case. After a man passed away in the care of a nursing home, his family decided to file a lawsuit for damages that the incident caused all of them. There was a sizable class of plaintiffs: one wife and ten children survived him. Their lawsuit claimed that the nursing home’s misconduct was the reason why he died. Specifically, it alleged that they ignored the man’s doctors, didn’t give him the proper medications, and failed to alleviate his cancer and bed sores. The defendant disagreed with all of these contentions. Further, it added that he was already going to die based upon his pre-existing injuries. However, these disagreements didn’t preclude a settlement, both sides agreed to move on from the matter for $200,000. Here is what the plaintiffs had going for them despite the man’s significant pre-existing injuries:
- The plaintiffs could point to a lack of plans, procedures, and policies specifically tailored to the man’s health condition.
- The man was clearly given doses of the wrong medication.
- The man died precipitously after the nursing home’s misconduct and the plaintiffs could have alleged that it hastened his death.
- The plaintiffs were left with sizeable medical, funeral, and burial costs due to the events in this lawsuit.
- $250,000 SETTLEMENT: Georgetown County, South Carolina nursing home medical error case. The nursing home resident that was injured in this dispute was a 95-year-old woman. She was suffering from a number of physical ailments and required many medications. One day while the nursing staff was helping her take of the prescriptions, she coughed up one of the pills. While the incident may have seemed slight in nature, the consequences were drastic. She tore her esophagus along the pharyngeal esophagus juncture point. The medical care required to treat the accident cost her tens of thousands of dollars. It also drastically changed her standard of living. She lost the ability to speak and needed assistance to eat and do normal, daily activities. She sued the nursing home where she was staying at the time for the injuries and expenses that resulted from the incident. She alleged that its negligence and the negligence of its employees caused her damages. The defendant did not deny that it was fault but dispute the extent of her injuries. They settled not long after the nursing home filed its response for around $250,000. Here are some key points from this lawsuit:
- A big source of recovery for nursing home residents is where they can show that an incident changed their life for the worse on a daily basis and that’s what happened here.
- The plaintiff not only had a significant amount of medical bills because of the accident but also had to pay a nurse to stay with her every day to take care of her and that cost a lot of money.
- $200,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston, South Carolina nursing home medical error case. This South Carolina cause of action began as a bed sore case but evolved into a medical error case. The victim was an elderly female resident in her early seventies. When she was admitted to the nursing home, she had bed sores but they were in the very early stages of development. Her doctors gave the nursing home staff specific instruction on how to care for them and prevent them from spreading across her body. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what ended up happening. Apparently, the staff assigned to care for her didn’t follow through on the doctors’ plans and didn’t regularly shift her or clean her wounds. Eventually, they became infected and spread to the surrounding areas like her bones and tissues. When the nursing home finally discovered the problem, they rushed her to the hospital for emergency treatment but the damage had already been done. After some time in recovery, she brought a lawsuit against the facility for damages. They didn’t think that they were responsible but still gave her $200,000 to settle. She accepted and used the money for the following costs:
- Thousands of dollars of past medical bills.
- Long-term rehabilitative care.
- Assistance for daily activities.
- $500,000 SETTLEMENT: Charleston, South Carolina nursing home medical error case. The victim here was a woman in her late forties that was suffering from diabetes. Surprisingly, she died a little more than just two weeks after being admitted to the nursing home in question in this lawsuit. From the allegations within the complaint, the nursing home did not direct its staff to properly care for her, medicate her, or supervise while she lived there. As a result, she developed bed sores, infections, and complications due to her diabetes all of which led to her death. The plaintiffs sought damages for the negligence and wrongful death because she did not receive the appropriate level of care in their opinion. While the defendants did not agree with this analysis, they nevertheless chose to settle and move on from the incident for a reported $500,000. Remember these points about this case:
- She developed sepsis while there and there was no reasonable justification for that outside of negligence on behalf of the nursing home.
- She clearly had not received any of her diabetes medication while living there and that was a blatant deviation of the standard of care.
- She was survived by a number of family members who claimed lost companionship, expenses, and other things.
SOUTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME MEDICAL ERROR CASE TAKEAWAYS
It’s important to have the right questions in mind when you are reviewing your medical error case because they can get very complex very fast. Here are a couple of things to watch out for before bringing suit against a nursing home that was responsible for your injuries:
- What exactly was the appropriate level of care as defined by the local medical community and how did the nursing home or its staff deviate from that?
- Were there specific instructions on file for this type of incident and, if so, how were they ignored or not otherwise followed?
- What was the total cost to the victim because of the medical error: hospital bills, ambulance bills, lost income, reduced quality of life, etc.
- Did the medical errors leave the victim with any disability or changed quality of life?