Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Neglect Help

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At our office of The Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers: Marriett & Murati, we understand and seek to find justice for those injured or harmed in nursing home abuse cases. We devote an ample part of our personal injury law practice to nursing home abuse and elder abuse cases and understand the ins and outs of standardized care for such facilities. With a local network of experts in the long-term facility healthcare field, we are uniquely positioned to help those injured in such a case. These connections enable us to quickly ascertain where and what policies or actions caused various injuries to a client, which helps not only prepare our trial strategy from the very beginning of a case but also results in more favorable outcomes when we enter settlement negotiations with various insurance carriers, and corporations that may not wish to go to trial in the face of overwhelming evidence. We also will work closely and diligently with our client’s family to ensure that they can be placed in a better facility moving forward.

Nursing home abuse is a growing problem as our population continues to age, with baby boomers reaching retirement age, and many others adjusting to life in assisted-living facilities or full-scale nursing homes. While standards of care have been honed over the decades to better care for our elderly, many of these types of facilities are no longer stand-alone businesses and instead are owned by large health care operations that may oversee the day-to-day performance of numerous facilities. What this means for the standard of care is that low-level day-to-day employees, such as facility managers, may deviate from the legal standard of care and be more worried about their month-to-month performance (profit) than they are in taking care of their vulnerable patients.

Perhaps the most concerning issue about nursing home abuse is that most often such abuse will go unreported, and thus unpunished, because the victims have few channels to report the abuse. At our office of The Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers: Marriett & Murati, our goal is to aggressively investigate alleged abuse of elderly or disabled patients so that we can not only get compensation for the victims but also help them find a more reputable facility to reside in.

Forms of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can happen in various forms such as the following:

  • Physical abuse, such as intentional infliction of pain from punching, hitting, slapping, etc.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse.
  • Financial exploitation, including theft or other improper use of an elderly or disabled patient’s information or identity.
  • Neglect, such as failure to adequately care for an individual, that can lead to physical harm or mental problems. In some situations, a vulnerable patient may be deprived food or medicine, and the effects that may have on other medications being taken on an empty stomach could cause a domino effect on that patient’s health due to medicines causing adverse side effects by not being administered correctly.

A recent example of neglect played out in an unfortunate local case, where a facility did not properly secure its exits, which led to a patient with a cognitive disability leaving the facility and losing their life to extremely cold weather.

What to Look For When You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you have a family member in an assisted-living or full-time care facility and you suspect they may be being abused, some of the key things to look for are:

  • Delays in access to your loved one (are you unable to contact them by phone, are you refused or delayed in your visits?)
  • Marked weight loss
  • Bed sores, bruises, cuts, infections
  • Disheveled or torn clothing, bedding or destroyed personal property
  • Poor facility cleanliness (do you smell feces or urine in the patient’s room or elsewhere in the facility?)
  • A change in the patient’s cognitive ability, or in their personality since they started living at the facility
  • Personal property missing or being reported stolen
  • An increase or decrease in typical financial activity
  • And most telling — any change in personality or in conversation while employees of the facility are present

Additional Things to Watch Out For

Nursing home injuries can happen in a variety of ways, but prevention is key. Here are some common things to watch out for if you or a loved one is being cared for by a nursing home:

  • Sudden social withdrawal
  • Noticeable agitation
  • Reluctance to speak
  • Unusual behaviors such as biting or rocking back and forth
  • Soiled clothing

Common Nursing Home Injuries

Nursing home abuse and neglect can cause a variety of injuries to residents such as the following:

  • Bed sores
  • Fractures
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Infections
  • Bruises, welts, or lacerations

Illinois Law in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases

Nursing Home Abuse Cases - Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers: Marriett and Murati

While the law recognizes that accidents can happen, there is an assumption of responsibility by the party responsible for the physical or emotional damage. Would a reasonable person or organization have acted differently in a similar situation? That is at the heart of most personal injury cases, and it’s why having an experienced attorney on your side is critical.

That’s because a party’s negligence is determined by four key elements and the common law principle of the “reasonably prudent” person. The four elements are best understood when posed as questions:

  • Did the defendant owe a duty of care to safeguard the plaintiff against harm?
  • Did the defendant breach that duty?
  • Was the defendant’s breach of duty the cause of the plaintiff’s injury? And was the injury foreseeable and preventable by the defendant?
  • Are the plaintiff’s injuries actual damages that can be compensated?

Compensation in Nursing Home Injury Cases

Monetary damages can be awarded if someone is found to be legally responsible for injuring a person. Those monetary damages are called compensatory damages or actual damages. The purpose of compensatory damages is to attempt to put the injured person in the position in which he or she would have been had the injury not occurred. These damages may include medical expenses (past and future), pain and suffering (past and future), lost wages (past and future), loss of a normal life, and loss of society. It’s important to keep records of your medical bills and time off from work, as these can help you calculate your actual damages.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the defendant if his or her conduct was negligent, reckless, or intentional. Punitive damages aren’t recovered for any specific loss. Instead, they are levied against the defendant as punishment to discourage negligence in the future. The court will determine whether to award the plaintiff with punitive damages and how much the award will be. According to Illinois law, punitive damages may only be awarded if actual damages are also awarded.

Contact a Skilled Attorney Today

The Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers: Marriett & Murati strive to get our client’s justice in nursing home injury cases with favorable terms. For a confidential, compassionate, in-depth, free, and, most importantly, thorough consultation with a Rockford Personal Injury Lawyer about your nursing home injury case in Rockford, Belvidere, Freeport, Rochelle, Oregon, Loves Park, Byron, Machesney Park, Roscoe, Rockton, or elsewhere in the State of Illinois, call or text message us (815) 315-4967 or e-mail us  24/7/365. We offer in-office consultations, and routinely make visits to clients’ homes, hospital rooms, nursing homes, and other off-site locations to make retaining our services as easy as possible.