Vicarious liability, temporary workers and wrongful death in South Carolina nursing homes.

South Carolina – December 28, 2021

If a South Carolina nursing home resident dies because of the negligence of care facility administrators, management, or employees, surviving family and loved ones may have a cause of action for a wrongful death lawsuit.  Even though families take painstaking efforts to make sure their loved ones are placed in high-quality residential centers, gaps in care may result in a resident’s untimely death.  If a family believes this is the case, they should immediately take time to consult with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in South Carolina.

Resident rights.

The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 outlines residential rights to protect the over one million elder Americans living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. A nursing home facility can be held liable for any personal injury, or neglect that causes harm, exacerbates health conditions, or results in an untimely death of a resident. Legal action may be taken against a nursing home based on acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions, or place residents in danger.

  • Neglect means the failure of a caregiver to provide care, goods, or services necessary to maintain the health and safety of a resident by providing nourishment, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, or medical services.

Family confidence in their loved ones’ caregivers is paramount to maintaining trust in resident safety and care.  Due to shortages of qualified long term care workers, many facilities have had to hire from temporary staff agencies to fill gaps, often removing a critical connection to quality care and patient familiarity.  Individuals who are concerned that their loved ones were abused, or neglected by a staffing agency caregiver should contact a nursing home attorney in South Carolina and share their concerns.

Standard of care.

The nursing home facility can be held liable for any personal injury or neglect causing harm to a resident or patient in their care.  Continuity of care is a precept of nursing home treatment. This negligence may have occurred by their part through:

  • negligent hiring,
  • understaffing,
  • breach of regulatory obligations to guidelines,
  • insufficient employee training, or
  • errors in treatment or medication dispensing.

Vicariously liability is a legal doctrine assigning liability for the injury to a person, even if they did not cause the injury directly, but had a legal relationship with the negligent person who caused the injury.  Talk to a nursing home abuse attorney about the impacts of temporary personnel caring for a loved one in a South Carolina nursing home and how any injury, abuse, or neglect may be the responsibility of the facility in terms of damage recovery.

Wrongful death statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations for personal injury, or  wrongful death claims in South Carolina  is three years from the date of the occurrence. Industry groups such as the American Health Care Association (AHCA) have emphasized that nursing homes face “a legitimate crisis.”  Between the decrease in occupancy and the changes to staffing, residents should be very aware of their rights and watch for signs of abuse, or negligence.

Seek legal counsel.

When sub-standard care results in harm to a resident, or outright abuse occurs, consultation with an experienced attorney at the McDougall Law Offices should be the next action to seek guidance for remedies to the individual situation.

McDougall Law Firm, LLC

115 Lady’s Island Commons
Beaufort, SC 29907

Phone: 843.379.7000








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