Nursing Home Lawsuit Statistics in South Carolina

May 27, 2024 / RP Legal

Elder abuse is an unfortunately common problem in South Carolina. According to a recent report, the state ranks 48th for legal protections for older citizens and 49th for elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation complaints. These are troubling numbers for our citizens.

While these nursing home lawsuit statistics may seem grim, you have options to protect the rights of yourself or your loved one. If you need help with a lawsuit against a nursing home, our team at Rikard & Protopapas can help you determine the value of your case and the steps you should take to pursue it. Contact a Columbia nursing home abuse attorney to begin.

What Nursing Home Lawsuit Statistics Are Important To Know?

South Carolina has over 2,000 long-term care facilities with more than 43,000 beds. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program investigates more than 8,000 elder abuse complaints annually. However, research suggests that for every one report, there are 24 unreported cases.

These statistics indicate that elder abuse is a common problem. Unfortunately, due to factors such as the inability to communicate or fear of retaliation, many victims do not report their abuse. This makes it important for family members to watch for signs of abuse and pursue justice on behalf of their loved ones.

What Are Nursing Home Settlements?

Nursing home lawsuits are a way for victims of elder abuse or their families to recover damages from abusers. Only about 5% of cases go to trial. Plaintiffs settle the majority of cases outside of court.

A nursing home settlement is a legal agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant. When the two parties settle, the defendant, or their insurance company, pays a negotiated amount of money to the plaintiff to resolve the case.

A nursing home settlement may include compensation for:

  • Medical costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Estimated future losses
  • Punitive damages
  • Other expenses

When the parties to a nursing home lawsuit agree to settle, the court dismisses the case.

What Are the Benefits of Reaching a Nursing Home Settlement?

Settling a nursing home case is usually faster than going to court. It is also less risky.

If you go to court, you could receive more money, but you could also receive less, or lose your case and get nothing at all. Settling your case doesn’t make the trauma suffered by your family go away, but it can provide a sense of justice.

Settling instead of going to court protects your privacy and may be less stressful. It is also usually less expensive.

How Much Money Can I Get From a Nursing Home Settlement?

There is no way to predict an exact settlement amount for a specific case. A nursing home abuse lawyer can estimate your potential settlement based on the factors of your case.

According to research, an average nursing home neglect settlement ranges from $30,000 to $500,000. However, cases can settle for millions of dollars, particularly if the abuse leads to the death of the victim.

The team at Rikard & Protopapas has a 97% success rate and has won more than $100 million in recent verdicts and settlements for clients across a wide variety of cases. We can’t guarantee a specific outcome in your case, but we will use our years of combined experience to pursue the justice you deserve.

What Factors Affect Nursing Home Settlement Amounts?

Nursing home settlement amounts vary widely depending on several factors.

The severity of the abuse

More severe abuse usually results in more severe injuries and substantial emotional trauma. The worse the abuse was and the longer it went on, the larger the settlement is likely to be.

Abuse history of the nursing home

Nursing home lawsuit statistics show that settlements against nursing homes with previous violations tend to be higher. Our nursing home abuse attorneys will investigate the defendant’s history to determine if there are any previous violations.

Cost of medical treatment

The cost to treat medical conditions that result from abuse typically constitutes a large portion of a nursing home settlement. The higher the costs are, the larger the settlement will be.

Strength of the evidence that supports your case

Strong evidence, such as photos and videos of staff abusing or neglecting the victim, can increase the value of your case. The more likely the defendant is to lose if they go to court, the larger settlement they are likely to offer.

Possibility of punitive damages

Courts award punitive damages to punish defendants for wrongdoing. However, only cases involving willful, wanton, or reckless conduct merit punitive damages.

Type of case

Nursing home abuse cases typically involve either a breach of contract or a tort claim. In a breach of contract case, the plaintiff alleges the nursing home failed to provide a contractually obligated service.

If you win a breach of contract case, you may be able to recover all or a portion of the money paid to the nursing home for services. Tort cases involve the wrongful actions of the defendant.

Nursing home liability policies typically cover the types of damage that occur with tort cases but may not cover breach of contract. As a result, nursing home lawsuit statistics for tort claims usually reflect higher settlements.

State and local laws

The statute of limitations in South Carolina is three years from the date of injury. If you miss this deadline, you may not be able to collect compensation. Additionally, South Carolina law caps the potential award for some claims.

However, there are exceptions to those damages caps.

What Are the Steps for Seeking a Nursing Home Settlement?

While every case is unique, nursing home lawsuits follow a basic five-step process:

  1. File a civil suit.
  2. Collect evidence to support your case.
  3. Issue a demand letter and begin settlement negotiations.
  4. Attempt mediation if you can’t agree to a settlement.
  5. Accept or reject a settlement offer.

If the plaintiff accepts the settlement offer, the case ends. Otherwise, the plaintiff may choose to continue with the civil suit, and go to trial. Our lawyers have significant trial experience and can guide you through all the different steps of these complicated cases.

Where Can You Get Legal Help To Secure a Nursing Home Settlement?

Vulnerable older adults often can’t advocate for themselves, and families may not know how to help their loved ones. If you need legal help with a nursing home abuse case, Rikard & Protopapas provides a no-cost consultation.

We will review your case, explain your legal rights and options, and represent you and your loved one. Your case doesn’t have to become just another nursing home lawsuit statistic. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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