Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Chicago, IL

Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Our law firm fights for the rights of the elderly in Illinois

Elder abuse in nursing homes happens at an alarming rate, especially in Illinois. One study by the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office ranked Illinois the highest in the country for abuse complaints in long-term care facilities. 

So what should you do if you fear your family member is being abused in a nursing home in Illinois? What are your legal options? What are your rights? You need to act fast – to protect their health and your rights.

We know what’s at stake. We understand the urgency of your case. That’s why we want to help. The Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Ferrell Young, LLC have dedicated their careers to helping injury victims and their families demand justice. We know the law. We understand how the system works. And we’re committed to resolving your case on your terms.

What is nursing home abuse?

Nursing home abuse is direct harm to nursing home residents – whether physical, sexual, emotional, or even financial. Acts of abuse can be committed by facility staff, other residents, and even visitors. Whatever form abuse takes, if someone intentionally harms a nursing home resident, that person and the facility should be held accountable.

This might sound simple. But holding nursing homes and abusers accountable for their actions can be difficult. Often, they deny doing anything wrong. Facilities might try to claim there was nothing they can do. That’s why it’s important to talk to a nursing home abuse attorney who will stand up for your rights and make sure your complaint gets the attention it rightfully deserves.

Nursing home abuse statistics

  • 1 in 3 nursing home residents have reported being psychologically abused.
  • 2 in 3 nursing home staff members admitted to abusing or neglecting residents within the past year.
  • An estimated 85% of assisted living facilities reported at least one case of abuse or neglect.
  • An estimated 97% of nursing home abuse cases in five U.S. states were not reported to local law enforcement as required by law, according to one study.

Sources – National Council on Aging, World Health Organization, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General

Types of nursing home abuse cases

As our population ages, nursing homes have become an increasingly common way for older adults to receive long-term care. Unfortunately, there are instances where vulnerable residents are subjected to abuse. Some of the most common types of nursing home abuse include:

  • Physical abuse – This type of abuse can take many forms, including hitting, pushing, or restraining residents. Physical abuse in nursing facilities often results in serious injuries ranging from bruises to broken bones, and can even result in death in some cases. Staff may be responsible for physical abuse, but other residents or visitors can also be perpetrators.
  • Sexual abuse – A serious problem that can have lasting effects on victims, this type of abuse can include any unwanted sexual contact, such as touching, fondling, or intercourse. Perpetrators can be staff members, other residents or visitors to the facility. Victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes may experience physical injuries, emotional trauma, and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Psychological abuse – This form of abuse can take many different forms, including threats from staff members, intimidation, or isolation to control residents. Psychological abuse can have serious mental health consequences and can even contribute to physical health problems.
  • Verbal abuse – This type of nursing home abuse can include yelling, insulting, or threatening residents. Verbal abuse can cause emotional distress and can even lead to physical health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
  • Financial abuse – Sometimes referred to as financial exploitation, this form of nursing home abuse may involve overcharging residents, double billing them for services, billing residents for services not performed or simply outright stealing from their bank accounts.

If you believe your elderly loved one has been injured or died due to abuse, it is imperative you reach out to an experienced nursing home abuse attorney at our law firm. We can answer your questions, review your case and explain your options.

What is elder abuse?

According to the State of Illinois, “Elder abuse is any knowing, intended, or careless act that causes harm or serious risk of harm to an older person— physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially.”

It is important for facility staff, residents, and family members to report any suspected abuse immediately. By taking action, we can work to prevent abuse and hold nursing homes accountable for their actions.

Why does nursing home abuse happen?

Ultimately, nursing home abuse is caused by abusers – but facilities also bear responsibility for acts of abuse committed on the premises. Some contributing factors include:

  • Understaffing, which can lead to overwork and burnout that exacerbate abusive tendencies in staff – and cause facilities to turn a blind eye to warning signs because they are desperate to keep employees.
  • Failure to conduct background checks on new employees.
  • Lack of security in the nursing home, especially in cases involving abusive residents or visitors.
  • Overall inexperience and neglect, which can cause warning signs to be overlooked.

How to choose the right nursing home for your loved one

One of the best ways to protect your loved one from the threat of abuse is to select a long-term care facility that is known for providing reliable, honest nursing care for its residents. It can feel overwhelming with so much on the line, but there are a few key factors to look for when choosing a nursing home for your elderly parent or family member.

  • Check the cleanliness and maintenance of the property.
  • Check the nursing home’s star review rating and patient reviews online.
  • Check the ratio of staff to residents as well as the general condition of the facility.
  • Keep an eye out for arbitration clauses that limit the facility’s liability.
  • Meet the nurses, assistants, and staff and tour the premises in person.
  • Observe the interactions between staff members and residents.
  • Visit multiple times, ideally on different days and at different times of day.

But even when family members conduct extensive research, there’s no guarantee that abuse won’t occur in a nursing home. And when such abuse happens, it’s our job to hold facilities responsible for what happened to your loved one. 

What is the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act?

Created in 1979, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act protects the rights of nursing home residents. Sometimes known as the Patient Bill of Rights in Illinois and officially known as the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, 210, ILCs 45, this state law provides a wide range of rights and protections for nursing home residents, including:

  • Right to not being physically restrained unless the nursing home can prove there is a documented medical reason for doing do.
  • Right to control how their own money is spent. If a nursing home resident personally has any money, they can decide how to spend it. And if the facility has more than $100 of a resident’s money, they must pay interest and provide quarterly statements.
  • Right to choose their own doctor. A nursing home cannot dictate who provides medical care for residents if they pay for their own medical care.
  • Right to access their medical records. Nursing homes cannot prevent residents from having access to their medical records, including documentation of medical treatments.
  • Right to receive regular mental health screenings.
  • Right to leave if they want to be discharged from the facility.
  • Right to see visitors during regular visiting hours.
  • Right to privacy, including private communications (phone calls, emails, letters, etc.) with other people.
  • Right to speak with a lawyer or social worker.

If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of a violation of Illinois law, take action right away. Talk to a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney at our law firm.

What should I do if I suspect nursing home abuse?

As explained above, you need to act fast to protect your rights and your health. If you or a family member is being abused in a nursing home, such steps include:

  • Seek immediate medical care, especially if they have a life-threatening injury.
  • If a crime has been committed, call 911 or call the police.
  • Tell the nursing home you believe abuse is taking place in their facility. Get it in writing so there’s a record. If you’re not comfortable notifying the nursing home, our law firm can help you do so.
  • Document any physical injuries sustained due to nursing home abuse. Such documentation can include photos of injuries and medical records explaining what medical care was provided for those injuries.
  • Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health. They investigate allegations of nursing home abuse throughout the state.
  • Talk to a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer at our law firm right away. We can answer your legal questions and explain your options.

How do I report nursing home abuse in Illinois?

As briefly explained above, you have several options for reporting nursing home abuse in Illinois. You can notify one or all of the following if you believe abuse occurred at a long-term care facility:

  • The facility itself.
  • Local or state police, if a crime was committed.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health, which investigates nursing home abuse allegations.
  • The Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
  • Our Chicago law firm. We can help you every step of the way – from reporting your abuse to other local and state agencies, to gathering evidence in support of your injury claim or lawsuit. We’re familiar with the warning signs of nursing home abuse and know exactly what to look for.

Who investigates nursing home abuse in Illinois?

Often, the Illinois Department of Public Health serves as the primary investigator in nursing home abuse cases in the state. But as explained above, other local or state agencies (including local police, if a crime was committed) may take part in the investigation.

When in doubt, simply talk to an attorney at our law firm. Our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers have years of experience dealing with such complicated legal cases and understand how the legal system works in Illinois.

How do I prove nursing home abuse?

Evidence is essential when building a strong nursing home abuse case. Such evidence in support of your injury claim or lawsuit can cover a wide range, including:

  • The facility itself.
  • Local or state police, if a crime was committed.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health, which investigates nursing home abuse allegations.
  • The Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
  • Our Chicago law firm. We can help you every step of the way – from reporting your abuse to other local and state agencies, to gathering evidence in support of your injury claim or lawsuit. We’re familiar with the warning signs of nursing home abuse and know exactly what to look for.

Should I file a nursing home abuse lawsuit?

Sometimes, the best way to get the money you need for your injury-related expenses is to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit. This is especially true if the facility denies doing anything wrong or their insurance company denies your claim.

If you decide to take legal action, keep in mind that there’s a deadline to do so in Illinois. Usually, you have two years from the date of the abuse to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, according to Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 210, Section 45.

This two-year deadline (known as the statute of limitations) might seem like a long time. But if you wait too long to take legal action, you might have a hard time finding the evidence you need to build a strong legal case. This is why it’s best to talk to a lawyer right away. That way, you don’t miss out on your opportunity for justice.

How much is my nursing home abuse case worth?

The short answer is you should be paid for all financial losses due to abuse. What you might not realize is just how many expenses your loved one should be compensated for, including:

  • Cost of all medical care due to the abuse, including emergency medical treatment, ambulance fees, overnight hospital fees and surgical procedures if necessary.
  • Transportation costs.
  • Housing costs.
  • Pain and suffering.

Add up all these expenses and your nursing home abuse claim or lawsuit could be worth thousands of dollars or significantly more.

Demand justice. Contact a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney at our law firm

Despite people’s best efforts, nursing home abuse can and does still occur. Mistreatment in a nursing home can take the form of physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse—and the results can be devastating.

If a loved one has suffered abuse in a long-term care facility, reach out to one of our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys right away. We can help you fight for justice and demand the money you deserve.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. Contact us online or call us to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our dedicated legal team. We’re here to help you move forward with your life. Se habla Español.

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