Nursing Home Abuse
Often, victims of nursing home abuse feel powerless to stop the negligence or misconduct. They may not be able to tell anyone what happened, or they may not be cognitively aware of what is happening. It is important for family members to keep an eye out for warning signs of abuse, such as bedsores, unexplained bruises or fractures, broken bones, significant changes in behavior or mood, hygiene issues, malnutrition, or dehydration. They should retain a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer if they are concerned that their loved one has been harmed. At Moll Law Group, our injury lawyers represent people throughout the nation in pursuing claims against nursing homes for harming loved ones, including bed sores, burn injuries, choking, clogged breathing tubes, drowning, and falls. Other ways in which elderly individuals may be harmed include financial exploitation, malnutrition and dehydration, medication errors, the use of physical and chemical restraints, physical abuse, sepsis, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, or wandering and elopement.Establishing Liability for Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is prohibited in Illinois under the Nursing Home Care Act. Under the Act, abuse is defined as any injury or sexual assault that is inflicted on a nursing home resident other than by accident. Physical abuse can include hitting, punching, slapping, or using unnecessary roughness. Emotional abuse includes threatening residents or shouting at them. Sexual abuse includes any unwanted sexual touching or rape.
The Act also includes a residents' bill of rights, which guarantees residents specified protections, including the right to be free from neglect or abuse by nursing home staff. Neglect in this context means that the home failed to provide or willfully withheld appropriate medical or mental health treatment, personal care, psychiatric rehabilitation, or help with daily living activities that were necessary to avoid the patient suffering physical harm, mental illness, or mental anguish.
For example, a nursing home may be understaffed and therefore fail to keep an incapacitated resident properly hydrated and moved around to prevent bedsores or ulcers. If the bedsores worsen and an infection develops, an undertrained or overworked staff member may fail to seek the appropriate medical care. This can result in serious illness or death, which likely is actionable. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help Chicago families pursue a claim in these circumstances.
The Act gives the Department of Public Health enforcement and regulatory power, and it provides for civil and criminal penalties. Moreover, it also gives residents the right to sue for damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and an injunction against a nursing home owner or operator that has violated the Act. You may also recover punitive damages if you show that the defendant acted willfully and wantonly in the nursing home abuse.
Some nursing home residents may be concerned that they may suffer retaliation or another adverse action if a complaint is filed. However, it is illegal for an agent or employee of a nursing home to transfer, harass, evict, or otherwise retaliate against a resident or his or her agent for filing a complaint.
An ordinary nursing home abuse case is not considered a medical malpractice case, and therefore it is not necessary to provide an expert's affidavit or report. In some cases, however, there may exist a medical malpractice claim in addition to a nursing home abuse claim.Discuss Your Nursing Home Abuse Claim with a Chicago Attorney
If you are considering a nursing home negligence or medical malpractice claim, the Chicago attorneys at Moll Law Group can help you explore the scope of your options. We represent nursing home residents and their families in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. Billions of dollars have been recovered in cases in which we were involved. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us through our online form to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney.