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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Breaking Down a Nursing Home Abuse Claim

Breaking Down a Nursing Home Abuse Claim

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Nursing home abuse, unlike nursing home neglect, is an intentional tort. The intent refers to the conduct, not the result. If Jacob plays his guitar loudly in the middle of the night, he might not intend to disturb his neighbor Alice, but that’s the result of his conduct. Likewise, if  Jacob forcibly pulls Alice out of bed so she’ll get up, he didn’t intend to hurt her, but injury is the result of his intentional conduct.

If a person intentionally, albeit non-maliciously, injures another person, a Columbia personal injury lawyer can obtain substantial compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Perhaps more importantly, legal actions force tortfeasors (wrongful actors) to accept responsibility for their poor decisions and the injuries they cause.

First Party Liability

The elements of an intentional tort are very straightforward. A Columbia personal injury lawyer must only prove:

  • A voluntary, intentional act
  • Cause injury.

Evidence in these claims is often difficult to acquire, especially on the first bullet point. Frequently, the participants were the only witnesses. Very few people deliberately lie on the stand. But we all have selective memories. Therefore, a participant’s recollection of events might not be entirely accurate.

Lawyers need corroborating proof to obtain maximum compensation. Frequently, a witness didn’t see the assault, but a witness did see the tortfeasor and victim arguing earlier.

Furthermore, South Carolina is a single-consent recording state. Therefore, hidden surveillance cameras, or granny cams, are legal in the Palmetto State. Using these cameras might or might not be a good idea. But that’s the subject of a different blog.

Additionally, lawyers use conduct to prove intent. Let’s go back to Jacob and Alice. If Alice has a bruise or other mark on her back, Jacob probably intentionally pushed her.

Third Party Liability

Actors are legally responsible for assaults, and nursing home owners are often financially responsible for damages. The negligent hiring or negligent supervision rule could apply in nursing home abuse cases.

Employers negligently hire workers if they hire incompetent workers. That incompetency could be a clear lack of qualifications, such as asking a patient care technician to do a registered nurse’s job, or a clear lack of character, such as prior assaults at prior nursing homes. Special rules apply if a criminal conviction is the character issue.

Employers negligently supervise workers if employers don’t monitor them in accordance with the industry’s standard of care. Negligent supervision could also be failing to properly investigate a misconduct allegation or failing to assess punishment based on that investigation’s findings.

Possible Defenses

Consent and the reasonable use of necessary force are the two most common defenses in nursing home abuse claims.

Very few nursing home residents consent to injury (the result). But they might sign boilerplate waivers that excuse pushing and pilling (the conduct). These waivers are often unenforceable in court.

The reasonable use of necessary force is a harder defense to establish. Many nursing home residents have pre-existing health conditions which make them more vulnerable to physical injuries. Therefore, a “reasonable” degree of force is usually less force than normal.

Connect With a Detail-Oriented Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.

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Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

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As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

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