Nursing home abuse is a serious problem throughout the country, including in Chicago, IL. If your loved one has been abused in a nursing home in the area, you should talk to our Chicago injury attorneys. Our attorneys can help you collect evidence and build a strong case against the facility. These cases can become complicated, and it is helpful to have an advocate with experience on your side.
Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers has over 30 years of combined experience in personal injury law. This includes handling nursing home abuse cases throughout the City of Chicago. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients and have successfully fought for justice on their behalf.
Our elders are extremely vulnerable, and they deserve to be treated humanely and with respect. Contact our office at (312) 929-2884 to set up a time to discuss your Chicago nursing home abuse case today. Your initial consultation is completely free and an opportunity to learn more about your legal options.
How Can Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers Help You Pursue a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
Nursing home abuse lawsuits can be complex. There is a lot of bureaucracy in nursing homes, and ultimately they are a business. They do not easily take responsibility for the abuse, and usually, there is a tough negotiation to get damages.
Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers will fight for damages that you or your loved one deserves. We will take the weight of organizing a lawsuit off of your shoulders so that you can focus on healing. When you trust us to pursue a nursing home abuse lawsuit, our Chicago personal injury lawyers will:
- Investigate the abuse
- Collect evidence
- Calculate your damages
- Review your medical records
- File an insurance claim, if applicable
- Negotiate with insurance
- Consult with expert witnesses
- File a personal injury lawsuit (when necessary)
- Appear on your behalf at all court dates
- Argue your case in front of a jury
Of course, every case is different, and some will need a different strategy. We always consider what is best for each client and will adjust our work based on their best interests.
To learn more about our personal injury law firm in Chicago, Illinois, and how we can help you, to set up a free consultation.
What Is the Definition of Nursing Home Abuse?
The definition of nursing home abuse is relatively straightforward. It is defined in the Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Act as “any physical or mental injury or sexual assault inflicted on a resident other than by accidental means in a facility.”
Nursing home abuse can be confusing when people also mention nursing home neglect and nursing home exploitation.
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect is, in a sense, the opposite of abuse. Instead of an intentional action that causes injury, it is often inaction.
Specifically, nursing home neglect happens when a nursing home fails to provide certain services, such as:
- Adequate medical care
- Mental health treatment
- Psychiatric rehabilitation
- Personal care
- Assistance with daily activities that are necessary to avoid physical or mental harm
An example of nursing home neglect would be failing to call a doctor when a resident is sick. The staff hasn’t proactively done something to make the residents sick, but they are neglecting to respond to their needs.
Nursing Home Exploitation
Nursing home exploitation is also different from abuse or neglect. It most often happens when a resident is taken advantage of through manipulation, coercion, or threats.
A very common example is the financial exploitation of a resident. Commonly in these cases, someone in the nursing home coerces or manipulates a resident into giving an employee money or access to their private financial information.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Happen in Chicago?
The most common situations leading to nursing home abuse in Chicago, IL, are:
- Lack of training for nursing home staff
- Unqualified staff or nurses (negligent hiring)
- Inadequate supervision and oversight
- Understaffing and lack of resources in the nursing home
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why the abuse happened. What matters is getting justice and accessing resources to heal after the abuse. Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers will find out what led to the abuse and hold the nursing home responsible for damages.
There Are Many Types of Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Nursing home abuse can look different from case to case. Many actions can constitute abuse. Sometimes it is hard to identify abuse, and many of our clients question whether or not the situation is abusive.
Under the umbrella of nursing home abuse, there are four main categories that we see in Chicago.
Sexual abuse is very common in our culture, but especially in nursing homes. Unfortunately, nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse because they often suffer from illnesses like dementia or Alzheimer’s and have limited cognitive capacities.
Furthermore, nursing home residents are not in peak physical condition. They are usually unable to physically remove themself from an abusive situation if they recognize what is happening.
Sexual abuse happens when nursing home staff has non-consensual sexual contact with a resident. This can be non-consensual because the resident is mentally unable to consent or because of the use of force or intimidation.
Sexual abuse may include unwanted touching, rape, or even sexual harassment. Depending on the type of abuse, it can be difficult to prove, and there might not be any physical evidence.
An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help you investigate the sexual abuse so that you are in the best position to prove it later in court.
Physical abuse is what most people think of when they hear the term nursing home abuse. This happens when a staff member uses force or violence to physically harm a resident. It usually causes an injury, which is sometimes severe or even deadly.
Examples of physical abuse may include:
- Hitting or kicking a resident
- Confining a resident to a space for no legitimate reason
- Forcing medications on a resident
- Force-feeding a resident
- Corporal punishment
- Restraining a resident to a bed or chair
Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware that their loved one is being physically abused. The injuries may be hidden by clothing during short visits. Unless the injury is in an obvious location, like on the hands, face, or head, it might go unnoticed. This is especially common with nursing home residents who have trouble verbally communicating.
Furthermore, as we age, we are more likely to bruise and get hurt, even absent abuse. This all makes it very difficult to identify physical abuse.
Emotional abuse happens when an employee abuses a resident mentally instead of physically. They might achieve this through:
Mental abuse is often verbal. An employee could continuously make degrading or humiliating remarks that wear down the resident and begin to cause psychological damage.
Unfortunately, many residents are starved for human interaction. They may not have family and friends outside of the home that visit them. This makes them particularly vulnerable to the words of people that they see regularly and with whom they have relationships.
Financial abuse is usually achieved through exploitation. It happens when a nursing home employee improperly gets access to a resident’s assets. This could be money stored or property within the nursing home or that held in financial institutions.
Sometimes the employee will steal the money, but other times they will coerce the resident into handing it over willingly. This might happen through coercion or even threats.
People who financially abuse elders are often taking advantage of financial planning. They know that residents are preparing to leave their assets upon their death and use their relationships to gain access. This is abusive and should not be tolerated.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Chicago, IL
Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse in Chicago include:
- Inexplicable infections
- Poor hygiene
- Disorganized and unsanitary living arrangements
- Physical injuries (bruises, broken bones, cuts)
- Weight loss
- Sudden mental illness or personality changes
- Bed sores
- Lack of access to medical care
If you aren’t sure whether the signs you are seeing are abuse, call a lawyer to discuss. It is better to be overly cautious than to regret ignoring the signs later. If abuse goes on for extended periods, it can lead to serious illness and even the wrongful death of a resident.
What Are the Available Damages in a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Case?
You can recover the same damages in a Chicago nursing home abuse case as any other personal injury case. Your damages will vary depending on how you have been impacted by the abuse.
Nursing home abuse victims can seek payment for both economic and non-economic losses. This includes:
- Medical bills
- Mental health treatment
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of move to a new facility (and any increase in cost)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In some cases, you might be entitled to punitive damages as well, depending on how the abuse happened. Call an attorney to discuss your case and learn what damages may be available.
What Is the Statute of Limitations To File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in Illinois?
In Illinois, you have two years to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. If you try to file a lawsuit after two years have passed, then you lose your legal rights.
The statute of limitations can be confusing in a nursing home abuse case. Sometimes abuse is ongoing, not just a single incident. You should consider speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible to get advice on when the deadline will run. This will also give your attorney time to file insurance claims and build a case before filing a lawsuit.
Call a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer To Schedule a Free Consultation
Don’t let a nursing home get away with abusing you or your loved one. They deserve to be held accountable, and you deserve justice.
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