Springfield Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
As more Americans are living longer, more families are turning to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to care for their loved ones. This increase in demand for long-term care has coincided with an increase of reported nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Our elderly loved ones deserve to live in a safe, nurturing environment where they are treated with courtesy and respect. If you believe they are being neglected or abused in a nursing home or care facility in central Illinois, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys today.
Why Choose Us?
- We are a client-oriented law firm, committed to serving the best interests of the people we represent.
- Our Illinois injury lawyers have more than 40 years of experience representing individuals and families wrongfully injured due to negligence.
- We operate on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay us no fees until we recover compensation for you.
How Do You Prove Nursing Home Abuse?
To obtain financial compensation for your nursing home abuse case, you or your attorney must prove that the abuse occurred, and that someone else is responsible for paying damages. Hiring a lawyer to take care of the burden of proof for you can give you peace of mind, and the ability for your family to focus on recovery instead of legal processes. Nursing home abuse cases require specific elements of proof to succeed.
- Duty. The nursing home, employee, caretaker, or another defendant must have owed your elderly loved one a duty of care at the time of the alleged abuse. Duties of care to seniors may include providing a safe living environment and nutritious meals.
- Breach. The defendant must have breached, or failed to fulfill, a duty of care. Elder abuse and neglect are examples of breaches of duty. Your lawyer must show evidence of abuse, such as eyewitness testimonies, surveillance footage, or expert medical examiner opinions, to prove a breach of duty.
- Causation. Your lawyer must establish a direct, causal link between the nursing home abuse and your loved one’s injuries, illness, damages, financial struggles, or wrongful death.
Finally, the victim in question must have suffered real damages as a result of the nursing home abuse. Without damages, the victim will have nothing to claim during the lawsuit. Damages may include physical injuries or illnesses, wrongful death, medical bills, financial losses, and pain and suffering.
Who Can File a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Abuse?
Most personal injury lawsuits involve the victim of the accident bringing a claim. In a nursing home abuse case, however, the victim may be incapable of filing the lawsuit him or herself, either due to physical or mental disabilities. This can lead to someone else filing the claim on the victim’s behalf. Not just any loved one can file, however; your family must take steps to assign a power of attorney. Then, only this person will have the authority to file a claim on the elderly victim’s behalf.
What Damages Can a Victim Recover?
Filing a nursing home abuse claim in Springfield could result in monetary awards for your loved one’s abuse-related damages. These can be economic or noneconomic losses. Economic losses are those that financially hurt your loved one, while noneconomic damages are intangible losses. The state of Illinois does not cap either type of compensation in nursing home abuse claims.
- Abuse-related medical bills or hospital stays
- Related treatments and prescription medications
- Disabilities and long-term care from the abuse
- Any financial losses due to exploitation
- The elderly victim’s pain and suffering
- The family’s mental anguish
Determining how much your case is worth will take a professional evaluation from an attorney. The answer will depend on the severity of your loved one’s losses and injuries, as well as the actions of the nursing home. Many successful nursing home abuse lawsuits result in additional punitive damages from the judge, as a means of punishing the facility or employee for gross negligence or criminal acts.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can occur in several different ways.
- Physical Abuse – can be expected to cause bodily harm, impairment, or physical pain, and may include striking with an object, slapping, shaking, shoving, pushing, biting, kicking, force-feeding a resident, using drugs inappropriately, or using physical restraints
- Emotional or Psychological Abuse – can be used to inflict pain, anguish, or emotional distress through verbal or non-verbal means, and may involve insulting, humiliating, intimidating, or threatening the resident, or engaging in verbal assaults
- Sexual Abuse – Sexual abuse of an elderly person is defined as non-consensual sex. It may involve unwanted touching, coerced nudity, taking nude pictures, sexual assault, sodomy, or intercourse
- Neglect – can be defined as failing or refusing to provide an elderly resident with the care he or she needs to live comfortably, and may involve failing to provide necessities of life such as food, water, clothing, medical treatment, hygiene, personal safety, and comfort
Laws Protecting Nursing Home Residents in IL
The federal government has enacted several laws protecting senior citizens and nursing home residents from abuse and neglect. These laws include the Elder Justice Act and the Older Americans Act. The Elder Justice Act is part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It created specific federal funds to help address and prevent elder abuse. The Older Americans Act authorized elder abuse prevention programs throughout the nation, including the Elder Justice Coordinating Council.
In addition to federal regulations, the state of Illinois has enacted its own laws protecting the vulnerable elderly. One such law passed in 2016: the Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act. This law gives family members and guardians of elderly nursing home residents the right to electronically monitor the resident’s room, through a video camera or audio recording device. It is against the law for nursing homes to retaliate against residents with such devices in their rooms.
How Prevalent Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse nationwide is not precisely known, partly because of widespread underreporting. Most nursing home facilities participate in Medicare and/or Medicaid programs and are therefore subject to annual surveys and complaint investigations under federal laws and regulations. The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found 4,707 abuse complaints involving nearly one-third of the Medicare/Medicaid-certified facilities from one survey cycle covering one year in 10 states.
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Many elderly victims fail to report abuse out of humiliation, fear, or shame. However, there are signs that should arouse suspicion, including:
- Decubitus ulcers, Bedsores, or Pressure Sores
- Wandering away
- Sudden changes in behavior
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
There is no excuse for nursing home abuse, and negligent facilities should be held accountable. Contact the dedicated Springfield personal injury attorneys at Kanoski Bresney at (888) 826-8682 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss the injuries a loved one has received due to nursing home neglect or abuse.