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Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence

Chicago Lawyers for Victims of Wrongful Conduct in Elder Care Facilities

When you entrust a nursing home with the care of a loved one, you expect your loved one will receive competent, professional care. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and negligence are common in Illinois. Often nursing homes are understaffed, or the staff is inexperienced and not adequately trained. They may not follow state law or industry guidelines. They may be more focused on profit than care. Sometimes nursing home residents are not able to communicate neglect or abuse to loved ones. If you are concerned that your loved one has been a victim of misconduct or mistreatment in this kind of facility, you should discuss the situation with one of the seasoned Chicago nursing home negligence attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence

Nursing home abuse and negligence may manifest in different ways. Abuse may involve chemical or physical restraints, sexual or physical assault, choking, burns, and more. Signs of negligence include pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, sepsis, malnutrition, unexplained falls, clogged breathing tubes, medication errors, improper medical care, and wandering or elopement.

Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence

Illinois nursing home residents have protections under both federal and state laws. Under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes must comply with certain basic minimum requirements. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act offers rights to all nursing home residents in the state. Among many other rights provided under the Nursing Home Care Act, as a nursing home resident, you have the right to be free from neglect or abuse. Under this Act, you can recover common law punitive damages, in addition to compensatory damages, if you can prove the defendant’s willful and wanton misconduct. A knowledgeable nursing home negligence lawyer in Chicago can help you evaluate the types of damages you may be eligible for.

Filing a Lawsuit

Often a lawsuit alleging nursing home abuse and negligence will include counts for common law negligence, along with counts for statutory violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Generally, you can file a lawsuit against a nursing home if a nursing home’s employees or agents violate your rights or injure you, whether the harm is inflicted in violation of statute, negligently, intentionally or in breach of contract. A lawsuit under the Act isn’t an action for healing art malpractice. Accordingly, you won’t ordinarily need to support a complaint with an affidavit or a certificate of merit the way you would in a medical malpractice case. However, if you allege medical or nursing malpractice separate from violations of the Act in your complaint, an affidavit and certificate of merit should be filed to support them.

Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, you can’t sue a staff member or another resident in the facility for civil damages arising out of a violation of a nursing home resident’s rights. You can only sue the owner or licensee of the facility. The rationale is that the owner or licensee must adequately supervise staff and residents to stop abusive or negligent actions.

Only those people who have standing to do so can bring a nursing home abuse lawsuit under the Act. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act gives standing to both the nursing home resident whose rights were violated and his or her authorized representative. Sometimes the authorized representative is a family member or friend; regardless of the personal relationship to the victim, the authorized representative is somebody who has been designated as a legal guardian or who has received power of attorney to act on behalf of the nursing home resident. A Chicago nursing home negligence lawyer can help you navigate the procedural aspects of your case.

Damages

If your lawsuit is successful, you can recover economic and noneconomic damages, along with survival claim damages and wrongful death damages. Under the Act, if you succeed in establishing liability, you may be entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs.

Wrongful Death

Courts have found that the protections provided by the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act are not taken away when a nursing home resident dies due to a violation of the Act. The decedent’s representative can maintain any statutory or common law actions that have accrued under the Illinois Survival Act, including wrongful death claims.

Coronavirus in Nursing Homes

A higher standard must be met if you are trying to hold a nursing home or other similar facility accountable for malpractice arising out of COVID-19. Under Illinois Executive Order 2020-19, all health care professionals, health care volunteers, and health care facilities — including skilled nursing facilities — that provide assistance to support Illinois’ response to COVID-19 have civil immunity, unless it’s shown that their care constituted willful misconduct or gross negligence. This Executive Order has been amended to extend immunity to supportive living facilities and assisted living facilities.

Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys Serving Chicago

If you or a loved one has been harmed by nursing home abuse and negligence in Chicago, you should talk to the seasoned lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We represent nursing home residents and their families in Quincy, Champaign, Aurora and Rockford, along with Winnebago, Kane, Adams, Sangamon, and Cook Counties. Contact us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or via our online form.