Many of us depend on caregivers to provide for our aging family members later in life. We often turn to assisted living facilities to help ensure that our loved ones get the care they need when we are unable to do so.
Sadly, when we place our trust in a nursing home or similar facility, the people who should be caring for our family may fail to do their jobs, and in some tragic cases, may actively abuse the people they are supposed to be helping. Nursing home abuse takes place more often than many people realize. Fortunately, the people living in these facilities and their families have rights that the law protects.
If you suspect that your relative suffered or is suffering from any form of abuse or neglect at an assisted living facility or nursing home, you need to reach out to Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers. We’re experienced nursing home abuse lawyers that can answer your questions.
Hiring an attorney means that you and your loved ones will have a powerful legal advocate who understands the system and how to navigate the legal landscape of elder abuse.
Although the legal process can be stressful and trying, it is often worth holding the wrongdoer accountable. Not only will a successful claim mean the victim or their loved ones will recover compensation, but it may also help to prevent future similar cases of abuse.
If you believe that your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact an Illinois elder abuse attorney to discuss your options and rights.
The signs of abuse are often hard to identify. Even when injuries are less severe but frequent, they could indicate a pattern that might result from abuse or neglect. If you suspect a family member is getting abused, we strongly recommend you start your own investigation or contact our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers for guidance and recommendations. Use the form on this page.
You and your family should take bruising and broken bones seriously. Falling is one of the most common ways that older people suffer injuries. There are times when they fall at no-fault of anyone else. It’s also an easy way to miss signs that abuse is occuring.
Frequent bruising and less severe injuries are still a concern. Small, minor injuries but all of a sudden more frequent could be an indicator of abuse. This might not be of a concern in small occurrences, but if you notice a pattern developing – you should start asking questions.
Any broken bones or bruises should be investigated by the family first. If you’re suspicious and not satisfied with any answers please keep digging until you are.
STI’s can indicate possible abuse. STI’s and STD’s can be common in some assisted living homes but it’s always worth checking if a problem persists or seems out of nature.
Many older people are not as mobile as they once were. All nursing home or assisted living facilities should have staff that is trained to prevent such an easy injury. Staff should be repositioning your family member regularly.
Get medical advice if your loved one suffers from malnourishment or dehydration. Most of these are easily prevented with proper diet and care. When they happen it not only can be abuse but a possible underlying medical condition.
Missing or incorrect medication can indicate that the facility is failing to properly adhere to medical care for the patient. If the patient fails to receive needed medication, receives too much medication, or the wrong drug, then the staff is not doing their job.
If you notice changes in the behavior of your family member – they appear to become withdrawn and silent – this can be a sign that the patient is suffering from mistreatment but incapable of explaining what is happening to them. Further investigation or medical professionals should be considered.
You should also be cautious of any changes to legal documentation or requests to enter new agreements. If your family member begins asking to change wills or other documents, that person could be suffering from manipulation at the hands of caregivers.
We take nursing home abuse and elder abuse seriously. If you feel you’ve done as much as you can but are still not satisfied please don’t hesitate to call our elder abuse attorneys. And if you know for sure your loved one is suffering at the hand of someone else – Don’t Wait Contact Us.
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:
If you believe that a family member is suffering abuse at a nursing home, speak to an Illinois elder abuse attorney to learn more about your rights to investigate and pursue a claim. Your lawyer can help you get the information that you need to find evidence of abuse.
Sometimes, the nursing home might have previously faced disciplinary actions because of their treatment of patients. Regulators will have records regarding those earlier incidents, which could be informative and actionable for your claim.
You and your family should also keep track of any records regarding a loved one. Reviewing bills and medical records to ensure that nothing is out of place might help identify something suspicious. Learning the laws that pertain to nursing homes can also help people feel empowered.
If you believe that a loved one suffered nursing home abuse, contact our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys to learn how you might be able to file a lawsuit against the facility.
If you believe your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or stay in-home nurse – you may have a right to file a civil claim against the facility or company. Nursing home neglect and abuse claims are forms of personal injury lawsuits. In the event of a death, a wrongful death suit. For these types of cases, it’s best to get the help of an experienced attorney. An attorney will provide you guidance, and support so you know what to expect next.
Your attorney will investigate the claim and draft a complaint, which they will file with the court. This step begins the litigation process. With the complaint on file, the discovery process will begin. In most nursing home abuse cases, the discovery process will involve exchanging medical records and records from the facility. Medical records from the victim are vital evidence of abuse and neglect. Those records will be important to your attorney as well as to the defense attorney.
Depositions, which are a form of an interview conducted in the course of a lawsuit, can help each side collect information from the victim, if possible, alleged abusers, and witnesses. Sometimes, it may be necessary to hire an expert witness who can testify regarding possible medical indications of abuse or neglect.
Your attorney and opposing counsel will likely engage in multiple settlement talks or negotiations in an attempt to reach a conclusion to the lawsuit. If your attorney feels the settlement offers do not adequately compensate you and your family, your case may proceed to trial. A trial would involve a jury who will decide whether the nursing home is at fault and liable to you and your family. If you are successful, the jury will determine the number of damages which the defendant will owe to you and your family as compensation for the harm that they caused.
A case will rarely proceed to a trial. In most situations, the parties will resolve litigation through a settlement.
It is important to recognize the strict time limits that exist in Illinois law that will prevent the filing of the lawsuit long after an alleged instance of abuse or neglect.
The Illinois statute of limitations allows people to file claims up to two years following the alleged abuse. In the case of injuries, the two years beginning at the discovery of the injury and no more than four years from the day on which the injury occurred. Wrongful death cases are subject to a two-year statute starting on the day on which the victim died.
Statistics indicate that nursing home abuse is disturbingly common in the United States. Sadly, abuse in these environments frequently goes unreported.
Estimates state that more than eight out of every ten cases of abuse involving older Americans are never reported or recognized. More than 10,000 known cases happen each year nationally, illustrating the scope of this problem.
Many individuals in nursing homes are in vulnerable positions. Patients suffering from physical disabilities may be limited in their ability to prevent abuse and rely on caregivers for even basic necessities like food, medicine, and cleanliness. Patients with various forms of dementia may not even be capable of reporting abuse or understanding what is happening to them.
When we place vulnerable patients in the hands of a facility that fails to safeguard those individuals, the risk of abuse becomes high. Of course, the families will take steps to ensure that the facility provides proper care for their relatives, but those who work in these facilities may hide their abuse from visitors’ and families’ eyes. The abuse frequently happens behind closed doors when the abuser feels that they need not fear consequences for their actions.
The abusive environment in many of these homes is often caused by poor management at the upper levels. Most nursing facilities in Illinois are private businesses that are seeking to earn a profit. The desire to increase earnings can, at times, mean cutting corners. Sometimes the steps that a facility’s owners take to save money will lead to a dangerous environment for the people living in the home.
Funding cuts can mean that the facility will end up understaffed, staffed with inexperienced personnel, ignoring signs of abuse, and hiding abuse to prevent families from pulling their relatives. Other issues can happen because the facility does not maintain necessary equipment or fails to comply with nursing homes’ mandatory guidelines and standards.
The business motivation to save funds can lead to terrible living situations for the residents, including abuse.
Civil lawsuits permit plaintiffs to recover economic damages as well as non-economic damages.
In cases of a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit, the damages that are available will vary considerably depending on the nature of the injuries that occurred in the course of the abuse.
Economic damages compensate victims and their families for actual monetary losses caused by the defendant. If the injuries resulted in the need for medical attention, then medical bills will be part of the victims’ economic damages. Rehabilitative care, which can be costly as well, is another form of economic damages. Of course, the harm caused by nursing home abuse goes far beyond the financial impact of injuries to a loved one.
Non-economic damages can compensate for pain and suffering. It is possible to also collect punitive damages in these cases.
Punitive damages are not a form of compensation. While other forms of damages are used to compensate victims for harm caused to them, punitive damages serve as penalties for the defendant. Punitive damages are only available when the wrongful conduct carried out by the defendant qualifies as particularly egregious or willful.
When you reach a settlement or a jury awards a verdict, Medicare might have the right to collect some amount of that compensation. If the neglect or abuse led to the need for medical care, Medicare likely covered many of those costs. If the compensation that you recover as a result of a successful claim includes coverage for medical bills, Medicare, who paid those bills, has the right to recover funds to cover that which they paid. This policy is important to remember when negotiating a settlement as it impacts the amount of money that the victim will recover.
Frequently, settlements in nursing home abuse cases will be for large sums that far exceed that which would cover medical bills and expenses. Speaking to an attorney will help victims, and their families understand their rights and the likely outcomes of their claim.
Civil lawsuits can serve as a deterrent against wrongful actions. When an abuse victim files a case against a facility, that facility will spend resources defending that claim. The litigation cost should help prevent future negligence or abuse at the hands of individuals at nursing homes. However, the impact of the civil lawsuit is not the only result of reporting nursing home abuse.
In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health carries out abuse and neglect investigations in nursing homes. When a person complains about potential abuse at a facility, the IDPH investigates those claims and has the authority to penalize that facility.
If a resident is suspected to be in immediate danger, the IDPH must begin its investigation within 24 hours of the complaint. In abuse and neglect cases that do not pose an imminent danger, the Department has up to seven days to start their investigation. Other less severe forms of complaints still undergo investigations, but the IDPH has 30 days to investigate such allegations.
When the IDPH investigates nursing home abuse cases, the identity of the person filing that complaint will remain anonymous. This policy is important because many people fear that reporting abuse cases will result in potential retaliation against the person reporting or that person’s loved one.
The IDPH will carry out interviews as part of their investigation, including those of residence and staff members working at the facility. The Department can place staff and faculty under observation, and investigators will also likely review the facility’s records. If the Department finds evidence of abuse, there are many possible actions that they can take against that facility. Potential consequences include fines, limits on the facility’s license, requiring a remediation plan, and in serious cases, the suspension or revocation of the license.
If you or a loved one has been hurt or injured while residing at an assisted living, or nursing home facility call, text, or email the Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers for a 100% free, honest, no hassle consultation on how we may be able to help. We have a former assisted living director/R.N. on staff and are uniquely situated in the Rockford, Illinois metro area to build a strong case for your loved one’s recovery. We’re available 24/7/365.