Granny Cams and Nursing Home Abuse: Good or Bad?
Granny cams, or hidden surveillance cameras in nursing home rooms, are technically legal in South Carolina. The Palmetto State, like most other jurisdictions, is a single-party consent state. Only one party to a conversation or contact must agree to the recording (e.g. I give myself permission to record this call). The consenting party to a granny cam recording must usually be the nursing home resident, as opposed to a family member.
However, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, especially in all cases. A Columbia personal injury lawyer is more than a good litigator and negotiator. An attorney is also a good advisor who knows the law and knows how the law affects people. So, to fully protect a friend or family member in a nursing home, always speak with a lawyer before you install a hidden surveillance camera in the resident’s room.
Hidden Surveillance Camera Benefits
Evidence of nursing home abuse is the biggest benefit of a granny cam. Some kinds of nursing home abuse in South Carolina include:
- Physical: Most nursing home employees don’t intend to hurt residents when they push or shove them. But they intend the conduct, which is all that counts. Many nursing home residents are very frail. So, a tiny amount of force often causes a very serious injury.
- Financial: Granny cams are also useful evidence in financial abuse cases, mostly theft cases. A nursing home theft usually causes significant pain and suffering. So, a Columbia personal injury lawyer may usually file a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress in these situations.
- Sexual: This form of nursing home abuse is surprisingly common. Generally, unscrupulous nursing home employees use sexual abuse to humiliate victims. Direct sexual abuse includes unwanted touching and fondling. Indirect sexual abuse includes forcing a resident to watch pornography or a sex act.
Proof is vital in a nursing home abuse case. The victim must prove abuse by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). Surveillance camera footage is often much more compelling than the victim’s statement. Additionally, there’s usually a relationship between the quality of evidence the victim presents and the amount of compensation a jury awards.
Cons of Granny Cams
Now, for the bad news. Surveillance cameras often reduce morale and involve evidence admissibility issues.
Individuals rarely post warnings that a hidden surveillance camera may be in use. That defeats the purpose of a hidden camera. However, to protect their employees, nursing home administrators often post such warnings.
Morale is dangerously low at many long-term care facilities. These businesses usually have very high turnover rates. A hidden camera could reduce morale even further, increasing the chances of abuse.
Furthermore, camera footage is not self authenticating. Someone, usually a camera technician, must testify that the camera was in good working order and the footage truly and accurately depicts the events it recorded. Usually, this authentication is a formality. However, it adds an additional complex dimension to an already complicated case.
Rely on a Diligent 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.