Nursing Home Negligence: How to Identify Neglect and Abuse

nursing home negligenceAccording to a 2001 study conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives, approximately one in three nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards that harmed or had the potential to harm a resident. One major factor that contributes to the prevalence of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes is the lack of information known by family and friends of nursing home residents on how to identify abuse and neglect.

Signs of Nursing Home Financial Exploitation

Anyone in a position of power over a nursing home resident, such as aides or even family members, can take advantage of her for financial gain. Financial exploitation can include stealing a resident’s money or valuables, coercing her into giving away money or valuables, or cashing checks without permission. Some visible signs of financial exploitation are a resident giving uncharacteristic gifts to caretakers, a lack of amenities in the room. or transferring power of attorney or other property without fully understanding what that means.

Signs of Nursing Home Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is one of the most difficult forms of abuse to detect, but it can be the most damaging. Emotional abuse can include humiliating or demeaning a resident, habitually blaming, threatening or intimidating him, isolating him from friends and social gatherings, or simply ignoring him. Some visible signs of emotional abuse in a resident are unexplained changes in behavior, isolation and withdrawing from usual activities. Some signs of emotional abuse in a caretaker include verbal aggression toward a resident, an uncaring attitude and/or controlling behavior.

Signs of Nursing Home Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can involve scratching, pushing, hitting, slapping, inappropriate use of restraints or threatening a resident with violence. Physical signs of abuse include any kind of injury, a delay between the injury occurring and the resident receiving medical care, and a history of repeated injuries, especially if those injuries have been treated at different hospitals for no discernable reason. Behavioral signs of abuse include the resident not explaining how an injury occurred, giving inconsistent stories or offering unlikely explanations for the injury.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect can take many forms. Nursing home workers are often responsible for caring for their residents’ health, nutrition, personal hygiene and living conditions. Failing to appropriately care for any of these is considered neglect. Personal hygiene neglect includes failing to give a resident needed help in bathing, brushing his teeth, nail-clipping, changing clothes or any other act of basic personal hygiene. Basic needs neglect involves failing to provide residents with food, water and/or a safe environment. Medical neglect involves failing to prevent or appropriately treat medical conditions. Victims of medical neglect may experience bedsores, preventable falls and/or incorrect medication.

Do You Need a Nursing Home Negligence Attorney?

If your friend or family member is the victim of nursing home negligence in South Carolina, contact the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson right away. We can investigate the standard of care at the victim’s nursing home, among other investigative acts. To get started on your case, schedule a free case evaluation online or call us at:

AMERICA’S TOP 100 PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS®

Photo of America's Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys

Contact: Kevin Wieser: Membership Director

Telephone: (714) 409-8126

Email: Membership@AmericasTop100Attorneys.com

Website: www.Top100PersonalInjuryAttorneys.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 25, 2019 – Announcing the selection of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr.  among America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys® for 2019. Selection to America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional litigators for high-value personal injury, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice matters. 

To be considered for selection, an attorney must focus more than 50% of their active legal practice on personal injury, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, product liability, and/or medical malpractice matters. These minimum qualifications are required for initial consideration. Thereafter, candidates are carefully screened through Advanced Data Analytics evaluating a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant personal injury settlements and/or verdicts, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state. 

Only the top 100 qualifying attorneys in each state will receive this honor and be selected for membership among America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys®. With these extremely high standards for selection to America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys®, less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States will receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of attorneys in the community.

South Carolina Bicycle Tours to Enjoy: Five Recommendations

Have you ever wanted to spend a few days exploring the natural beauty of South Carolina in a new and exciting way? Bicycle tours are the perfect way to see your state from a new perspective while getting more involved in an exhilarating sport. Here are the five best South Carolina cycling tours to help you start your adventure.

South Carolina Lowcountry Bicycle Tour

This six-day bicycle tour is a wonderful way to stay active while exploring some of the most fascinating sites in South Carolina. The Lowcountry Bicycle Tour is appropriate for all biking skill levels, but be prepared for long treks during the day. Each day involves 25 to 50 miles of biking or more, depending on your choice and skill level. An optional kayak tour is included on the second day.

Upstate South Carolina Cycling Tour

Schedule a group vacation close to home with this five-day cycling tour around Greenville. The tour begins with a 43-mile ride from Greenville to Tigerville, then another ride to North Carolina to visit the villages Saluda and Tryon. On the second day, participants bike to Hagood Mill in Pickens County for a picnic. These challenging rides lead up to the third day’s activity: the Hincapie Gran Fondo in Greenville.

Greenville Ride Camp

This riding camp is designed for avid riders looking for seven days of intense cycling, but less experienced riders are also welcome. Participants will have three days of self-guided rides and four days of planned routes in and around Greenville. With rides of up to 100 miles and climbs of up to 7,100 feet in one day, the Greenville Ride Camp is not for the faint of heart.

Charleston to Savannah Multi-Adventure Tour

Cyclists get the an expansive experience of South Carolina bicycling during the Charleston to Savannah Multi-Adventure Tour, which stretches from one end of the South Carolina coastline to the other. The tour begins with a walking tour of Charleston, includes rides in Wadmalaw Island, Hunting Island State Park and other scenic coastal areas, and ends in the Wormsloe State Historic Site in Savannah, Georgia.

North Carolina and South Carolina Bike Tour

This tour allows South Carolina bicyclists to expand their horizons with a ride from Greenville to Asheville, North Carolina. The tour focuses on the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the unique culture of Southern Appalachia. Participants begin with a ride through the Greenville Watershed area and the village of Saluda. On the third day, riders are guided through the mountains to Caesar’s Head. The tour ends with a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and a ride through the Biltmore Forest.

Do You Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney in South Carolina?

If you’ve been injured in a bike accident near Rock Hill, Lancaster, or Fort Mill, the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr. can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation today or call us at:

 

Suspect Nursing Home Negligence? Here’s What to Do

nursing home negligence

Around one in ten adults over the age of 60 have experienced at least one form of elder abuse or mistreatment. Even worse, only one in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported to authorities — and the effects of abuse and neglect can be devastating. In fact, victims of elder mistreatment have a 300 percent higher risk of death than those who have not been mistreated.

One environment in which elder abuse often goes unnoticed is nursing homes. While most nursing homes provide residents with a safe and healthy living environment, they can also create unbalanced power dynamics between residents and employees, and isolate residents from friends and family. If you suspect mistreatment of a loved one in a nursing home, here are four steps you can take to help.

Visit Often

The first step in stopping nursing home neglect or abuse is being present to see warning signs. Visiting your loved ones in a nursing home regularly allows you to notice unexplained changes in behavior, changes in physical health, troubling interactions between employees and residents, and cleanliness of living spaces.

Listen and Observe

If you notice any warning signs of abuse or neglect, you should ask your loved one for clarification on what you saw. However, also keep in mind that he may not want to admit to being mistreated. He may fear retribution, not want to get an employee in trouble, and/or feel that admitting to mistreatment would show weakness. Whether the resident confirms the mistreatment or not, start documenting relevant information in detail. Include the location, date, time and people involved, and the names of other staff members who may have witnessed the incident as well.

Report

Most cases of elder abuse go unreported. Don’t let fear of being wrong keep you from reporting your suspicions to the authorities. Even if your suspicions are incorrect, you will not be legally liable if you made your report in good faith. In South Carolina, you can report nursing home negligence to the National Center on Elder Abuse. For elder abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult in a community setting, call 888-227-3487. For elder mistreatment in long-term care facilities outside Richland County, call 800-868-9095. And for elder mistreatment in long-term care facilities within Richland County, call 803-734-9900. If you fear that a nursing home resident’s safety is in immediate danger, call 911 as soon as possible. You can also find county-specific information.

Seek Legal Representation

Once you’ve done all you can to get your loved one out of harm’s way, follow up with a nursing home negligence attorney, contacting him or her as soon as possible about your case. A lawyer will help you receive compensation for physical or emotional damages by finding an expert witness to testify for the victim, investigating standards of care for the nursing home and providing experienced legal expertise.

Hire a South Carolina Nursing Home Negligence Attorney Today

If you or a loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson can help. Schedule a free case evaluation online or call us at:

Personal Injury Lawyers: Three Most Common Questions Asked

 

Although each personal injury case is unique, the questions that usually get asked have plenty in common – and Craig Wilkerson shares what those three questions are, along with his answers.

Question 1: Do I need a lawyer?

The answer is, of course, it depends. But, if you’ve been in an accident and are thinking you can pursue legal remedies without an attorney, make sure you understand:

  • The difference between uninsured motorists and underinsured motorists
  • What subrogation means in connection with health insurance and how that concept can affect your eligibility for health care coverage
  • The difference between the North Carolina collateral source rule and the South Carolina collateral source rule – because they are mirror opposites of one another
  • The difference between comparative negligence and contributory negligence

If you’re good so far, be sure to also watch this video to find out what else you need to know if you’d like to proceed with your personal injury case without an attorney:

If you can accurately answer all of the questions in the video, then you may not need a lawyer. If you can’t, then you definitely do.

Question 2: How long will my case take?

Craig suggests that you reframe that question to “How long will it take for me to get well?” Think about what events have transpired to bring you to this point and what it will take to remedy that situation.

Question 3: How much is my case worth?

First, the simple answer. Craig says, “I can’t tell you.” He compares that to knowing how much it would take to build a house without seeing the plans for the house. What he can tell you: that he and his firm of personal injury lawyers provide excellent, aggressive representation with a proven track record of success, including in the South Carolina Supreme Court. Find more information about those court cases.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today

Our law firm provides representation in the following areas of service:

Our offices are located in Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Lancaster, and we primarily represent clients in three counties: York, Chester and Lancaster – but are available for representation through the state of South Carolina.

You can find more information about our personal injury lawyers here.

Contact us online for a free case evaluation from our personal injury attorneys or call 803-324-7200 today.

Most Dangerous Occupations: What That Means for Worker’s Compensation Cases

most dangerous occupations

Although workplace injuries can occur in virtually any industry, some occupations are more dangerous than others. Here are the top six most dangerous industries for workers in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2015 report on nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Do you or a loved work in one of them?

  1. Forestry and Logging

For decades, logging and forestry has consistently been reported as one of the top industries in the country for worker fatalities – and in 2015, 132.7 per 100,000 workers were killed due to a work injury. Loggers and forestry workers are particularly vulnerable to fatal workplace injuries due to their work in rough terrain and in rural areas with few medical resources.

  1. Agriculture, Fishing, and Hunting

Closely following the forestry and logging industry is the agricultural industry, including fishing, and hunting. Though the high risk of these professions may be initially surprising, studies show that approximately 100 agriculture workers are seriously injured every day and nearly 400 workers die each year due to an agricultural workplace injury.

  1. Transportation and Warehousing

Transportation and warehousing account for over seven million jobs, and they also account for a large percentage of workplace injuries and fatalities. In 2015, 201,600 transportation and warehousing workers were injured and 799 were killed in work-related accidents. The most dangerous jobs within this industry are couriers with 6.8 injuries per 100 workers, followed by air transportation workers with 5.8 injuries per 100 workers, then by warehousing and storage workers with 4.9 injuries per 100 workers.

  1. Health Care

Health care is another industry with a surprisingly high number of workplace injuries. Every day, healthcare workers deal with hazards such as radioactive material, bloodborne pathogens, waste anesthetic gas, and chemicals such as formaldehyde, ethylene oxide and peracetic acid. Because of these hazards, 4.3 healthcare workers out of 100 were injured in 2015. Caregivers at nursing homes and residential care facilities are even more at risk with 6.8 injuries per 100 workers, closely followed by hospital workers with six injuries per 100 workers.

  1. Manufacturing

Heavy machinery, hazardous substances and high physical demands can make the manufacturing industry an unsafe work environment. In 2015, 466,500 manufacturing workers were injured on the job. Wood product manufacturing workers are injured at the highest rate with 5.9 injuries per 100 workers.

  1. Retail

Though retail jobs do not typically involve hazardous substances or heavy machinery, the retail industry has a surprisingly high rate of workplace injuries and illnesses, with 3.5 injuries per 100 workers in 2015. Most of these injuries are not the result of a sudden accident or mistake, but rather sprains, pain, soreness and carpal tunnel syndrome due to overexertion and repetitive movements.

Do You Need a Worker’s Compensation Accident Lawyer in South Carolina?

If you’ve been injured at work in Rock Hill, Lancaster, or Fort Mill, South Carolina, then call personal injury attorney F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr. today. We fight again the insurance companies to ensure that you receive a fair settlement for your worker’s comp case. Schedule your free case evaluation today or call us at:

How Much to Expect from Car Accident Settlement

How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement

This is the million-dollar question.  My most frequently asked question as a Personal Injury Attorney is “What is My Case Worth?”  And rightfully so.  Let’s face it, you are the victim of someone else’s negligence and you are forced to live with the consequences of someone else’s negligence daily.  You deserve to be fairly compensated for your injuries.  I want to be clear here that it is unethical for any attorney to talk to you and promise you a dollar amount for your case’s worth.  Every case is unique and must be considered on a case-to-case basis.

There are multiple variables which impact the outcome of how much to expect from a car accident settlement – for example, types of injuries, extent of medical care, length of recovery time, cost of medical bills, eyewitness testimony, opinion of medical experts, etc.….  What I can do, is talk to you about what you expect, compare previous settlement amounts for similar cases, and work with you to come up with a ballpark figure that you would like for me to fight for you to receive.  If anyone tries to tell you an exact dollar amount, please know that attorney is specializing in false promises.

Chained up money
A stack of currency chained together and padlocked. Used for any money inference where money is tight or protected.

Is there a Formula to Assess Case Worth?

The honest approach to assessing case worth is to utilize the following formula and to fight hard to try to reach the best results for a client: Liability + Damages + Ability to Pay.  I will spell out each step in this formula.

Liability: 

Who is at fault for the accident?  What did the other person do that was wrong?  If you are involved in an accident that is 100% the other party’s fault, the value of your case increases.  If the liability (or fault) is less than 100%, then your claim and the claim’s value decreases.

Should you pursue a claim if the accident was partially your fault?  The best answer, is talk to an experienced personal injury attorney during a free case evaluation.  Even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you could still receive some compensation under a personal injury claim.  Insurance companies will try to trick you into admitting some fault.  Claims adjusters are often trained in using questions that will make you guess at elements of the accident that you may not know or discuss injuries that are outside of your area of expertise.  You do not have to handle the insurance companies alone and you are not required to answer their questions right away.  Work with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney who can represent you when speaking with the insurance companies.

Damages:

The severity of your damages directly impacts the value of your personal injury case.  This makes sense – if you require more care to recover, this will be more expensive, and you should be compensated at a higher rate to cover the costs associated with your recovery.  Essentially, the law says that if you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you have the right to be put back into the same condition that you were in before the accident.  Conversely, if you were not injured, then you have incurred no losses, and you are unable to receive any personal injury compensation.

The cause of the damages is very important to your case.  Can we prove that your damages are directly linked to the accident?  This is why it is critical for you to receive medical care immediately after the accident; any delay in medical care or medical evaluation can make it more difficult to link causation to the accident.  If you have pre-existing injuries or medical conditions, this link can be even more difficult.  Insurance companies will try to say that you are blaming the accident on causing problems that already existed.  Again, if you’re in an accident, go to a medical professional right away.  This immediate medical evaluation can make or break your case.  I encourage you to go even if you do not notice pains right away, often the body starts to feel pain several hours or several days after an accident.

Here is a list of Types of Damages to consider for a Personal Injury case:

  • Medical Expenses – current and future
  • Lost Wages
  • Have the injuries caused inconvenience to you or your family?
  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical Impairment
  • Property Loss

Ability to Pay:

Can the person responsible pay for their negligence?  Unfortunately, there are many incidents where liability is clear and the damages are excessive but there is inadequate insurance to cover the costs.  Collecting money outside of an insurance policy is extremely difficult; realistically, the majority of uninsured or under-insured individuals do not have sufficient funds to cover the costs associated with a major accident.  If the person responsible is under-insured, you may be partially compensated.  If the person responsible is un-insured, you may not be compensated at all.  I encourage everyone to carry uninsured motorist insurance coverage.  This coverage protects you if you are injured by someone who is uninsured or under-insured.

If the person responsible does have adequate insurance, then there may be sufficient coverage to fight for fair compensation of your losses, injuries, and damages.  You will get the best results when you work with a Personal Injury Attorney who is adept at fighting the big insurance companies.

What to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement?

While I can’t answer the specific question, “What compensation can I get?” with an exact number, I can commit that our legal team will work to help you determine the types of monetary damages that you are entitled and that we will fight for your fair compensation.  When you hire the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr., our personal injury attorneys will initiate the investigative work immediately to help you get the most for your accident.  We will take on the insurance companies and take care of all the details (accident reports, surveillance videos, eyewitnesses, medical experts, etc.…) necessary to give you the best strategy for your case.

In a personal injury case, money should be awarded to the injured person by the person or company who is found to be legally responsible for the accident.  I promise that we will go to battle for your fair compensation and that you will not be charged until we win your case.  The insurance companies know our reputation, our law firm is committed to our clients, even taking several cases to the South Carolina Supreme Court.  We have a history of success at trial.

In conclusion, every case is unique and if you have any other questions about how much your personal injury case is worth, please contact us for a free consultation at www.fcwlaw.com or 803-324-7200.  The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. – Big Enough to Fight, Small Enough to Care.

Summer Driving Tips: Safe Driving on Your Vacation

vacation driving tips

It’s finally summer vacation season, which means you may be preparing for a long road trip. Summer is the most dangerous time to drive, which means you should take extra precautions. Here are four tips for safe driving on your summer vacation:

Do a Safety Check

The last thing you want on the way to your vacation is a stressful and potentially expensive vehicle breakdown. Before taking a long trip, you should perform a general safety check on your vehicle or go to a mechanic to ensure that it’s in good working order. Be sure to check your tires, battery, belts, coolant, radiator, oil level, headlights and tail lights. If you have any doubts about your vehicle’s reliability, take it to a mechanic for a tune up.

Bring an Emergency Kit

You never know what could go wrong during your trip, so be prepared with an emergency kit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends packing a kit containing the following:

  • Cell phone and car charger
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
  • Work gloves and a change of clothes
  • Basic repair tools and duct tape
  • Water and paper towels for cleaning up
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water and medicines
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Maps
  • Emergency blankets, towels and coats

Also, be sure to pack your license, registration, and car insurance card, as well as a phone number for a national automotive assistance company.

Rest

Being well rested is an important part of long-distance driving. Driving while drowsy increases your risk of an accident and causes around 850 deaths per year. Don’t risk your life and the lives of your passengers by driving too long or driving while tired. Get a good night’s sleep before leaving and take turns driving, switching every few hours. If no one else can drive, be sure to make a pit stop at least once every two hours. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself awake; this also forces you to stop for bathroom breaks. If you start to feel tired, pull over for a short nap.

Practice Safe Driving

Safe driving practices are even more important during long-distance travel. Follow all traffic laws, including posted speed limits. Avoid distractions like talking on the phone, texting and eating while driving. Make a habit of looking far ahead of you for potential dangers. Look five cars ahead (or ten in dense traffic) to spot any problems ahead of time. You should also do your best to avoid heavy traffic, which can be dangerous and will slow your trip. When planning your route, avoid going through major cities during rush hour.

Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in South Carolina?

If you have been injured in a car accident, the professionals at the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson can help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you get the settlement you deserve. Contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation or call us at:

Do I Need a Workers Comp Lawyer?

What is Workers’ Compensation?

workers comp

Many of us are living paycheck to paycheck.  Now, imagine that you are severely injured at work.  You may have savings that you can utilize for a short while; however, it is likely that it will not sustain your family for long.  Therefore, we have Workers’ Compensation.  Workers’ Compensation is a benefit that is in place to protect individuals who are injured at work.  Workers’ Compensation provides medical and wage benefits to those who are injured at work or who become ill in the course of their work.

The basic requirement for Workers’ Compensation is for an injury or illness to have a direct tie to the workplace and/or job-related duties.  In general, an employee with a work-related illness or injury can get Workers’ Compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault, although there are some limits to this discussed in the coverage section below.

It is not a requirement for all employers to have Workers’ Compensation coverage. State laws vary, but an employer’s responsibility to provide coverage usually depends on how many employees it has, what type of business it is, and what type of work the employees are doing.  Certain types of employees are often excluded from Workers’ Compensation coverage, for example farm workers or seasonal workers do not often qualify for Workers’ Compensation coverage.  Also, independent contractors often do not qualify for Workers’ Compensation coverage.

workers comp lawyer

What does Worker’s Compensation cover?

Workers’ Compensation pays for medical treatment and loss of wages that result from a work-related injury or illness.  Here are some examples of what Workers’ Compensation does cover:

  • Injuries that occur while performing your line of work. Even if you are traveling for businesses and outside of your regular workplace, if you are traveling as a requirement for your work and injured then Workers’ Compensation benefits could apply.  The important factor here is if you were performing work-related duties.
  • Injuries that are caused by the aggravation of a pre-existing injury while performing work duties.
  • Injuries that are instigated from overuse or misuse of a body part at work over a long period of time, such as repetitive stress injuries or chronic back problems
  • Illness that occurs at work only if a medical expert confirms that the workplace did in fact cause the illness. Some examples of possible illnesses that are the gradual result of work conditions include heart conditions, lung disease, and stress-related digestive problems.
  • Mental stress caused by work only if the mental stress is directly linked to the workplace (i.e. extraordinary workplace conditions). It is very difficult to prove that the mental stress is directly linked to the workplace and as a result mental stress is the most difficult type of injury/illness for which employees receive compensation.

We have covered some of what Workers’ Compensation does cover, now here is a list of what Workers’ Compensation does not cover:

  • Injuries that occur because an employee is intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs
  • Self-inflicted injuries, including those caused by a person who starts a fight at the workplace
  • Injuries that occur while the employee is committing a crime
  • Injuries that occur while the employee is not working and is not engaged in work-related duties
  • Injuries that occur when an employee is in direct violation of company policy
  • Injuries that happen on the commute to or from work, when the employee is not performing any work-related duties

When Should I apply for Workers Compensation?

Speed is a necessity for any Workers’ Compensation issue.  If you are injured on the job you should notify you employer immediately; we recommend that you provide notice in person and in writing.  An employee has a limited number of days to report the injury and collect benefits.  If there is a delay in reporting the issue, then there will be a delay in filing for compensation benefits – a delay may create confusion over the legitimacy of the claim.

Reporting of the injury may be more difficult for cumulative injuries or illnesses.  In general, we recommend that you advise your supervisor of any short-term pains/illnesses that may be a result of work.  We recommend that you log these discussions.  Also, meet with your medical provider regularly to discuss your work-related concerns and any minor problems that they may be creating for your body.  Minor problems (such as wrist pains) can turn into major problems (such as carpal tunnel).

A typical Workers’ Compensation claims process is as follows:

  • Employee files a claim with the employer
  • Employee is referred to an approved physician for evaluation and treatment
  • Insurance company investigates and makes a determination of benefits

At this point, the employee should be notified of claims approval as well as the extent of medical and financial assistance available.  The employee has the right to dispute a Workers’ Compensation approval and can request a hearing.  This often occurs if an employee does not agree with the type, amount, or duration of benefits that were approved.  There are different avenues to explore if you do not agree with your Workers’ Compensation benefits, including mediation, hearings, and appeals.  It is advisable to speak with an attorney who will be able to determine which procedures apply to you.

Often, a Workers’ Compensation claim is stalled or denied.  This can create additional stress for the injured as there is no progress toward replacing lost wages that resulted from the workplace illness or injury.  Insurers may stall or deny a claim if:

  • Injury or illness did not occur on the job
  • Suspicion of fraud
  • Claim was not filed in a timely manner
  • Employee did not follow through with a physical examination in a timely manner
  • Insufficient evidence to tie the injury/illness to workplace duties

Do I Need a Workers Comp Lawyer?

The Workers’ Compensation law in South Carolina was revised on July 1, 2007. It is a comprehensive law that changes many of the previous statutes and common law. It may be particularly important to contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney about your Workers’ Compensation case due to the many new standards and proofs that must be met to successfully prevail in a Workers’ Compensation case.  Workers’ Compensation Attorneys help employees to navigate the laws; build their case; determine appropriate compensation; and then fight for that fair compensation.

If you are having problems getting Workers’ Compensation benefits, consult with an attorney who is experienced in disputing Workers’ Compensation claims and who will fight for your rights. A Workers’ Compensation attorney is best qualified to resolve the dispute and get you the medical and financial assistance that is lawfully yours.

If you have suffered any injury or illness as a result of work, please contact the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr.  Our expert knowledge in matters of Workers’ Compensation will help you receive all the benefits you are entitled to under the law.  Schedule a free consultation or call 803-324-7200.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing Home Abuse in America

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

According to the US Census, there is currently a greater number of people living over the age of 65 than in any other time in which the census was taken.  Approximately 15% of our current US population is over the age of 65.  We are approaching an even larger percentage for this population as our baby boomers continue to reach the age 65 milestone.  Americans are living longer, with approximately 6 million Americans currently over the age of 85, and this number is growing as well.  All of this has a huge impact on South Carolina.  According to an article by Top Retirement, “The Carolinas are a red-hot retirement destination; both North and South Carolina enjoy a very favorable image among baby boomers. As great places to retire, both have become as popular as Florida.”

With an increase in our aging population, there is a direct correlation to an increase in individuals living in nursing home facilities.  More than 3 million people in the United States are currently living in nursing homes.  In one recent survey with nursing home residents, about 44 percent indicated that they had suffered from abuse, and more than 95 percent indicated that they had been neglected by their caregivers.  Federal nursing home regulations state that “the resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.”

nursing home abuse attorney

What is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

First, let’s distinguish the difference between nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect.

  • Nursing Home Abuse: Intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care/service deprivation or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish
  • Nursing Home Neglect: Failure, intentional or not, to provide a person with the care and services necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain; a failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation resulting in resident harm or anxiety

An individual can be the victim of either nursing home abuse or neglect or a combination of both.  The mistreatment of the elderly is any factor which harms or creates a risk of harm to the elder by a trusted caregiver.  While exact numbers of nursing home abuse/neglect are difficult to determine (many cases are unreported or unfounded); we understand that only about 1 out of every 14 cases of elder abuse ever reaches authorities.  We do know that women over the age of 65 are most likely to be the victims.  We also know that with increasing age, comes increasing vulnerability, and an increase in the likelihood of abuse/neglect.

The impacts of nursing home abuse and neglect are devastating.  The abuse victim is placed at a 300 percent greater risk of death when compared to non-abused individuals.  Studies have shown that victims of elder abuse suffer from an increase in psychological stress and struggle with negative feelings of self-worth.

The total cost of elder abuse and neglect is enormous.  There is a direct impact on the life of the individual as well as his/her family.  Additionally, there is an increase in medical costs associated with caring for the victim.  The medical costs of caring for violent injuries against the elderly are believed to be more than $5 billion per year.

Examples of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

  • Assault and battery
  • Lack of care for medical problems
  • Prolonged deprivation of food or water
  • Rape or other forms of sexual assault or battery
  • Unreasonable physical restraint or seclusion
  • Use of a medication for any purpose inconsistent with the intended purpose (i.e. pushing medications to force a person to sleep more)
  • Emotional Abuse (humiliating or demeaning a resident, habitually blaming, threatening or intimidating him, etc.…)
  • Financial Exploitation (stealing a resident’s money or valuables, coercing a resident to cash checks, etc.…)

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

According to a 2001 study conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives, approximately one in three nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards that harmed or had the potential to harm a resident.  It’s important for all of us to gain a better understanding of nursing home abuse and neglect.  Often, healthcare professionals are insufficiently trained on this topic and may not notice the signs.  The victim of abuse or neglect may be hesitant to report due to fear.  The victim may be unable to report due to cognitive issues (dementia, Alzheimer’s) or other limitations caused by their age and/or physical state.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect:

  • Dehydration
  • Falls, fractures, or head injuries
  • Malnutrition
  • Emotionally upset or agitated – sudden changes in behavior
  • Extreme withdrawal or refusal to communicate – unusual changes in behavior
  • Infections
  • Bed Sores
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Repeat attempts of elopement
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Reluctance to interact with nursing home staff
  • Injuries in various states of healing or with unknown cause
  • Heavily medicated or sedated individual
  • Provision of incorrect medication

What to do if you suspect Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

The decision to move your loved one into a nursing home is never easy.  When you move a loved one to a nursing home, you expect that they are cared for with respect and that their medical needs are met.  Many wonderful nursing homes help us to care for our loved ones as they age, and their medical/supervision needs increase.  However, the reality of a nursing home facility is that there are strangers who are given a great deal of authority over your loved one.   You cannot possibly be present at all hours to supervise and if the nursing home staff are less than ideal then this can create an unfortunate negative consequence for your loved one.  We encourage you to go with your gut, if you suspect anything then stay diligent.  You know your loved one best.  Also follow these steps if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect:

  1. Visit Often: The more often that you are present, the increase in likelihood that you will see warning signs.  You can observe your loved ones for any unexplained changes in behavior, and changes in physical health.  You will be better able to observe your loved one’s interactions with nursing home staff.  You can assess for cleanliness and any sanitary concerns.
  2. Listen and Observe: Talk to your loved one about his/her care.  Ask your loved one how s/he feels about the staff.  Be direct and talk to them one-on-one.  Do remember that your loved one may be hesitant to make a disclosure, they could be fearful or ashamed of the situation.  Start documenting your concerns in detail, even if there is no clear disclosure.  Record the location, date, time and people involved.  Make certain to have the names of any staff who may have been an eyewitness to your concern.
  3. Report: Speak up in order to protect your loved one.  It is not your job to prove fault.  Report your concerns to the authorities and let them investigate within their realm of expertise.  In South Carolina, the State Long Term Care Ombudsman (SLTO) investigates reports of abuse or neglect within a nursing home facility.  All initial reports should be made to SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) and SLED will forward it to the SLTO.  Contact 1-866-200-6066 (24/7).  If you have an urgent, immediate concern for your loved one, call 911.
  4. Seek Legal Representation: Once you have taken the steps to report the suspected abuse/neglect and have done all that you can to protect your loved one, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer right away.  A nursing home abuse attorney can help you to receive compensation for any physical or emotional damages that may have occurred.  The attorney will investigate the issue, find expert witnesses to testify, investigate the nursing home, and provide experienced legal guidance.

Hire a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

What do you do when you trust someone to compassionately care for your parents or grandparents only to find out that trust has been misplaced?  South Carolina has a Statute of Limitations, meaning a suit must be filed and served in a certain time frame.  The best advice is to follow up immediately with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.   At the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr., our knowledgeable and compassionate team of nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys understand that elder abuse is a societal issue, as well as a very personal one.  We are committed to helping you in your pursuit of legal justice.  If you suspect abuse or neglect led to your loved one’s injury, sudden decline, unexplained injuries or death, it’s important to contact a nursing home negligence attorney right away so that we can initiate the investigative process and hold the nursing home facility accountable.

If your friend or family member is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in South Carolina, contact the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson right away. We can investigate the standard of care at the victim’s nursing home, among other investigative acts. Schedule a free case evaluation or call us at: 803-324-7200.