Elder abuse is a term that refers to the exploitation and mistreatment of seniors. It can occur in a nursing home, a medical facility and even the home of the elderly person. When a nurse or a therapist is hired to assist an elderly person, they can be held responsible for abuse.
Every state has specific elder protection regulations. In South Carolina, there are some shortcomings when it comes to holding individuals and medical facilities accountable for physical and mental suffering. This is one of the key reasons why partnering up with an elder abuse lawyer in Greenville happens to be so important for a positive outcome.
If you suspect that nursing home or elder care abuse is taking place, you may be wondering whether pursuing legal action is a viable option. To answer this question, you will have to get some additional information about the types of elder care abuse punishable by South Carolina law.
The Elder Abuse Protection Laws in South Carolina
Greenville lawyers that work in the field of elder protection are familiar with several important statutes that pertain to abuse and how it is punishable by law.
One of the most important local regulations is the Omnibus Adult Protection Act – S.C. Code 43-35-5. The code states that several entities are responsible for the protection of elders. Neglect, abuse, and exploitation are punishable by law.
The law clarifies the procedures for reporting abuse, requesting emergency protective custody and establishing criminal penalties for the individuals that commit elder care abuse.
The act provides protection from physical abuse (intentionally inflicting pain and physical injuries upon a vulnerable person), exploitation (causing a vulnerable person to engage in improper activities, using their funds in an unauthorized way and causing a vulnerable adult to make purchases providing an advantage to a third party through harassment or coercion). Also included is protection from neglect, which is defined as an omission by a caregiver to provide a vulnerable adult with assistance and care tailored to their needs.
A few other legal provisions that apply throughout the US and that protect the rights of the elderly include the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Elder Justice Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Types of Abuse a Greenville Elder Abuse Lawyer Can Pursue
The legal framework already sheds some light on the types of elder abuse that can be punishable by law in South Carolina and across the US. If you are concerned about the elder care a loved one is receiving, you should familiarize yourself with the various types of abuse that can be addressed in court.
Physical abuse is the broadest and probably most easily identifiable category regarding nursing home and elder care abuse. Senior abuse against senior citizens can have minor or profound consequences. It entails the use of physical force to cause injuries, pain, impairments or even death. Physical abuse can occur through hitting, kicking, slapping, striking, beating, pushing roughly or even causing burns to an elderly person.
The category extends beyond these obvious ways to inflict physical abuse. Force feeding an elderly person classifies as physical abuse. Using medications excessively or for personal benefit can also be considered abuse.
The second category is emotional abuse. Unfortunately, this can be more difficult to prove than physical abuse. Emotional abuse is a broad term that refers to an act aimed at causing emotional pain, distress or anguish. It could consist of harassment, intimidation, making verbal threats, insulting a senior citizen or treating them like children.
Two other broad categories need to be examined in relation to South Carolina elder care abuse laws. These categories are: neglect and self-neglect.
Neglect is defined as the failure of a caregiver to fulfill all of their duties aimed at ensuring a good quality of life. Neglect can occur both in nursing homes and in the residence of a senior citizen. It can be both passive (unintentional) or active (intentional).
Self-neglect refers to elderly abuse that does not have a perpetrator. It refers to an elderly person that threatens their own safety and wellbeing through undernourishment, a failure to take medications or poor hygiene. While another party is not involved, self-neglect is classified as elder abuse.
A few other types of elder care abuse punishable by law include sexual abuse, financial abuse, and abandonment.
Seek Legal Guidance from a Greenville Elder Abuse Attorney
Seeking legal action is possible in all of these scenarios. For this purpose, you have to consult an attorney that is competent enough in the field of South Carolina elder abuse laws. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Brumback & Langley attorneys have handled multiple such cases through the years, and they know how to address your concerns. Reach out to us today to schedule your first consultation.