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Nursing Home Negligence
Serving Cook and DuPage Counties

Elder Abuse: A Growing Problem

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse a minimum of one out of 20 nursing home patients are victims of negligence or injury. With increased life expectancy, our aging population is increasing at an alarming rate and putting more and more of our elders at risk (especially those with dementia).

Elder abuse can be a single episode or a repeated act, such as inflicting physical harm or not doing something (giving a patient food regularly). Elder abuse also includes financial abuse (signing a deed or contract, taking assets without permission, abusing power of attorney, and more).

The challenge with elder abuse is proving it. This is mainly due to either the patient’s inability to communicate or the family members not witnessing the abuse.

Types of Abuse

  • Physical: Someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing, or slapping the individual.
  • Emotional: Commonly referred to as psychological abuse. Emotional abuse may include a caregiver saying hurtful words, yelling, threatening, or repeatedly ignoring the older person. Another example could be that the person stops the elderly from having visitors.
  • Neglect: Occurs when those responsible for the elderly do not provide required care for the individual’s needs (either coordinating or fulfilling and in a timely manner).
  • Abandonment: Leaving an older person alone and not planning for required care.
  • Sexual: Any individual who forces an older adult to watch or be part of sexual acts.
  • Financial: Stealing and/or mismanaging elder’s financial assets. Financial abuse can include forging checks, taking Social Security benefits and/or Retirement funds. Financial abuse includes using a person’s credit cards and bank accounts without permission and buying things that do not benefit the individual whose name is on the accounts. Financial abuse include changing names on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or title to a house without permission from the person.
  • Healthcare: In this category, fraud can be committed by medical professionals, including healthcare workers. Examples of healthcare fraud include overcharging, billing twice for the same service, falsifying Medicaid or Medicare claims, or charging for care that wasn’t provided. With the amount of medical bills for most elderly, this is an area that needs to be watched consistently.

Signs of Abuse:

  • Untreated pressure ulcers
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Serious unexplained injuries
  • Unexplained wounds, cuts, bruises and welts
  • Fractures
  • Bed sores or other preventable conditions
  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Depressed or confused
  • Signs of trauma (rocking back and forth)
  • Agitated or violent actions
  • Withdrawal
  • Appearance messy (unwashed hair or dirty clothes)
  • Oder (smells like urine)

Causes of Declined Health, Injury, Behavior Changes, Death

  • Attacks
  • Beatings
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual harassment
  • Not given food and drink
  • Restricting freedom in a physical, chemical or psychotropic way without medical authorization
  • Drug overdose
  • Inappropriate drugs
  • Withholding of drugs

Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

There are various types of lawsuits that may be filed in instances of nursing home abuse. This could include a personal injury claim or a medical malpractice claim. In instances where nursing home abuse or neglect leads to the death of a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against the negligent party.

It is necessary for your Chicago nursing home abuse attorney to prove that the nursing home and their staff were careless based on the following elements of negligence:

  • Duty – There must have been a duty to care established between the plaintiff and the defendant. In a nursing home abuse case, this is generally not difficult to prove. If the victim was a resident at a nursing home, then the facility and staff owe a duty of care.
  • Breach – It needs to be shown that the nursing home breached its duty of care to the resident. This may require extensive investigation into the incident by your attorney.
  • Causation – Your attorney will need to prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Damages – The plaintiff (the nursing home resident) must have suffered actual damages from their injuries.
  • In Illinois, you have two years from the date of an injury or illness to file a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home.

Nursing Home Negligence Compensation

For elderly abuse cases, many factors will be considered regarding the amount awarded to the victim such as their age, injury severity, total loss, history of the care facility and staff, among other things. If negligence is proven, the victim may be entitled to compensation that includes the following:

  • Medical expenses related to the abuse
  • Pain and suffering
  • The total cost of staying in the nursing home
  • Relocation expenses if necessary
  • Possible punitive damages against those responsible for the abuse

Get Legal Help Today

If you suspect a loved one is being mistreated first step is to find out what’s been happening by asking the elderly person whether the issue is with another patient, workers or if self-inflicted.

Even if self-inflicted, you should seek help and guidance to further assess and make certain the issue is not due to something else. If you believe others are at fault, immediately contact the police or social services. In addition, it’s highly recommended consulting with a lawyer who specializes in bodily injuries. A personal injury attorney can help you take the best steps to protect your loved one’s health and rights.

Get a free case review by calling 855-980-0078 ‌or‌ ‌complete‌ ‌the‌‌ ‌case‌ ‌request‌ ‌form‌.‌  

 

Illinois Resources

The Attorney General provides a Senior Citizens Consumer Fraud Hotline. To contact the hotline please call 1-800-243-5377 or 1-800-964-3013 (TTY).

To report abuse, neglect or exploitation of an older person living in the community, please contact the 24-hour Illinois Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-866-800-1409 or 1-888-206-1327 (TTY). Online, visit www.state.il.us/aging/.

To report abuse, neglect or exploitation of an older person living in a long-term care facility, please contact the Department of Public Health at 1-800-252-4343 or 1-800-547-0466 (TTY). Online, visit www.idph.state.il.us/.

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