South Dakota Nursing Home Abuse Laws

South Dakota Caps on Damages

Caps on personal injury cases limit the amount of compensation a victim can recover from the party that caused the harm. In response to tort reform lobbying efforts by insurance companies and big business, many states have placed caps on certain types of damages, like pain and suffering damages or punitive damages.

The state of South Dakota caps noneconomic damages in medical malpractice actions at $500,000. However, there is no cap on economic damages.

The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits

South Dakota’s statute of limitations on actions for personal Injury is three years. See § 15-2-14. In cases for wrongful death, the statute of limitations is three years after date of death. See § 21-5-3.

Attorney’s Fees

It is the norm for attorneys to take nursing home neglect and abuse cases on a contingent basis. This means that the lawyer will accrue a percentage of the award or settlement made on behalf of the client instead of billing the client at an hourly rate. The South Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct provide that a lawyer’s fees and expenses must be reasonable. To determine whether a contingent fee is reasonable the lawyer should examine the facts and circumstances of the case including the risk and expense involved in taking the case.

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota

South Dakota Nursing Home and Long Term Care Regulations

South Dakota is home to over one hundred nursing home facilities. Under federal and state law, each nursing facility must establish policies to protect and promote the rights of each resident, and must also inform residents of their legal rights. Nursing home residents’ “bill of rights” can be located in South Dakota’s regulatory code at Chapter 44:04:17. Under the code, each nursing home resident has the right to:

  • Be informed of their rights from the facility.
  • Be informed of information on available services, such as contact info for client advocates and information on how to apply for Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
  • Be notified when their condition changes.
  • Be notified of a change in room assignments or a change in rights.
  • Expect privacy and confidentiality in accommodations, medical treatment, personal care and written and telephone communications
  • Manage financial affairs or authorize the facility to do so
  • Choose a physician and have a choice in planning care and treatment.
  • Be properly cared for in an environment that contributes to the resident’s quality of life
  • Be informed of survey results
  • Refuse to perform services on behalf of the facility
  • Self-administer medications
  • File a grievance or complaint without fear of reprisal.

Residents also have to the right not to be:

  • Discriminated against in admission.
  • Transferred or discharged without proper notice and unless the resident’s needs cannot be met or other limited circumstances.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice.  The legal statutes, laws and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

Image via Flickr via Richie Diesterheft 

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