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South Carolina Personal Injury Law Blog

Are assisted living facilities safe for people with dementia?

As the American population ages, there's been considerable growth in the assisted living industry. Approximately 40 percent of the people in assisted living facilities have dementia. Unfortunately, the people who work in many of these facilities aren't trained or equipped to properly care for them. This can be dangerous for those residents suffering from dementia as well as for other residents.

Some of our readers may remember the tragic 2016 case of a 90-year-old woman with dementia whose body was found in a pond behind the South Carolina assisted living facility where she'd been living. She'd been attacked by at least one of the alligators that lived in the pond. This wasn't the first time she'd slipped out unnoticed, but no one had noticed that the woman had gotten out of Brookdale Charleston until her body was discovered some seven hours later.

What are 'social host liability' laws?

If you're involved in a car crash with a drunk driver who's returning from a holiday party, can you hold the hosts of the party responsible along with the drunk driver? Fortunately, South Carolina has "social host liability" laws that apply to both adults and minors.

This means if someone encouraged — or even allowed — another person to drink excessively and that person injures or kills another person (or themselves) or causes property damage, they can be held liable. The same applies if a person gets stoned or otherwise impaired by drugs and then harms someone.

Program seeks to cut hospital readmissions by nursing homes

The federal government is taking steps to try to reduce the number of nursing home patients who return to the hospital within 30 days after their previous stay with a program they've recently implemented.

Based on readmission rates over the next year (from Oct. 2018 through Sept. 2019), nursing homes with the highest readmission rates will have their Medicare benefits cut by almost 2 percent, while those with the lowest rates will get 1.6 percent more money for their patients who are eligible to receive Medicare benefits.

Do dementia patients live longer in care facilities or at home?

If you have a loved one who's suffering from dementia, it's likely becoming increasingly more difficult to care for them and ensure their safety at home. They may wander away -- sometimes even taking the keys to the car and driving hundreds of miles -- if they aren't watched constantly.

However, many families hesitate to place their loved one in a nursing home or other care facility. One fear is that being away from loved ones and a familiar place -- even if they no longer recognize them -- will hasten their decline and even their death.

13 injured when South Carolina school bus goes down embankment

A field trip ended in multiple injuries on Oct. 19 when a school bus went off the road as it was headed southbound on U.S. 25, about 4 miles from Ware Shoals. The bus reportedly struck a fence and utility pole and then fell down an embankment.

Twenty-nine children were on the bus, along with five adults who were chaperoning the trip. The kids are students at Westwood Elementary School, which is located in Abbeville County.

Changes in reporting shed light on nursing home staffing issues

All of us who have loved ones in nursing homes are concerned about the staffing levels. We know that patients in an understaffed facility are more likely to suffer injuries because someone isn't always available to help them when they want or need to move. There are more likely to be errors in dispensing medication. Patients are more likely to get bedsores because they aren't turned or allowed to get up regularly.

It wasn't until recently, thanks to the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the requirements for Medicare and Medicaid funding, that we got an accurate picture of nursing home staffing levels. The law mandates that information about the patient-staff ratio of facilities be obtained directly from payroll records. In the past, the information had been self-reported by the facilities, and numbers could easily be inflated. That and other helpful information is available on the Nursing Home Compare section of the website.

How social media can derail your workers' compensation claim

Workers' compensation is a crucial benefit for workers who are injured or sickened on the job and for their families. Workers' comp provides income while they are getting medical treatment, recovering and unable to work. Obviously, employers and insurers have a vested interest in making sure that people receiving this compensation are doing so legitimately and that their illness or injury is indeed as bad as they say it is.

Claims fraud investigators have always investigated people receiving workers' comp. This might have included going to a person's home or following them and conducting physical surveillance in an attempt to catch them doing maintenance around the house, shooting hoops with their kids, helping a friend move or spending a day on the golf course with their buddies.

Nursing home evacuations during storms -- stressful but necessary

If you have a loved one in a nursing home in the path of a storm, you want assurance that they'll be safely evacuated if necessary. However, those evacuations can be highly stressful and frightening to elderly people. Further, the accommodations in the facilities to which they're moved are often inferior to what they're used to.

Recently, as Hurricane Florence hovered off the East Coast, more than 2,200 residents of some 113 South Carolina facilities were evacuated to inland locations on orders from the governor. One man felt that his wife, who's in her 80s and paralyzed, shouldn't have been required to move. He said she went from having a private room in her Summerville nursing home to a bed in a common room. He said that some evacuees had only mattresses on the floor. He doesn't fault the nursing home staff, whom he calls "a bunch of heroes," but the mandatory evacuation order from the governor.

Tips for driving in a school zone

Drivers always need to be cautious in school zones. However, now that the school year has started again, it's particularly crucial not just to obey all posted signs and crossing guards, but to keep your eye out for kids who might run into the street unexpectedly.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about 100 children lose their lives every year in this country while walking to school or walking home after school. Another 25,000 are injured by drivers in school zones.

Things you can do to avoid becoming a pedestrian statistic

Pedestrians rarely come out on the winning end of a pedestrian-versus-vehicle encounter. As pedestrians, we can't control drivers who are reckless or negligent. You may have been taught that pedestrians always have the right of way. However, don't count on drivers always giving you that.

Nonetheless, there are a number of things that pedestrians can do to minimize their chances of being struck by a vehicle. Let's look at some crucial steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that you can take to protect yourself when you're getting around on foot.

90 Wall Street
Pawleys Island, SC 29585

Toll Free: 866-586-0116
Phone: 843-235-6747
Fax: 843-235-6650
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235 Church Street
Georgetown, SC 29442

Toll Free: 866-586-0116
Phone: 843-527-8020
Fax: 843-485-4121
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Columbia Office
1116 Henderson St.
Suite 200
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: 803-254-5551
Fax: 803-252-2462
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