Chicago Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
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Families trust nursing homes to care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, some nursing homes violate that bond. Instead of providing nursing home residents with the care and attention they deserve, some facilities neglect them, resulting in serious injuries or illnesses.
Nursing home neglect cases demand strong legal action. Facilities should be held accountable for what happened. But knowing what to do can be confusing. Even knowing what your legal options are in Illinois might not be clear.
That’s why we want to help. The experienced Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys at Ferrell Young, LLC have dedicated their legal careers to helping injury victims and their families during this difficult time in their lives. We know what’s at stake and we will be there for you every step of the way.
What is nursing home neglect?
Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to properly care for residents. In legal terms, this responsibility is known as a duty of care. Nursing home neglect is a failure to meet those responsibilities, resulting in injury or illness.
This might sound straightforward. However, nursing homes often deny neglecting residents or not performing their duties. As a result, injury victims and family members often need to work hard to build a strong legal case against the nursing home. That’s our job and we’re ready to get right to work on your Chicago nursing home neglect claim or lawsuit.
Types of nursing home neglect cases
Because nursing homes are contracted to provide comprehensive services for residents, there are many possible types of neglect, including:
- Basic needs neglect: failing to assist residents with eating, drinking, toileting, and other activities of daily living. Basic needs neglect can lead to serious health problems such as dehydration and malnutrition.
- Personal hygiene neglect: failing to regularly bathe residents, wash their clothes, and so on. Poor hygiene can lead to an increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTI) and other health problems.
- Medical neglect: failing to provide residents with the medical care they need. This includes medication errors, failing to promptly treat injuries and illnesses, and failing to send the resident to the doctor or hospital when needed.
- Social or emotional neglect: leaving residents isolated in their rooms for long periods of time and leaving them unable to interact with others.
In addition to neglecting residents, nursing homes can also cause injury or illness by neglecting their premises. Poor lighting in walkways, failing to clean up spills and trip hazards in the facility, and failing to keep the premises secure can all put residents at risk.
Injuries and illnesses caused by nursing home neglect
Elderly and disabled people are placed in nursing homes for a reason: to protect their health. When facilities fail to meet their responsibilities, serious complications can result, including:
- Bedsores – Sometimes called pressure ulcers, bedsores are serious skin injuries that occur when residents are not regularly moved or turned in bed.
- Infections & Sepsis – Infections can be caused by poor sanitation and personal hygiene neglect.
- Malnutrition/Dehydration – Some nursing homes don’t give residents enough food and water or fail to monitor them during meals to ensure they are eating and drinking.
- Choking – Nursing home residents with certain medical conditions are more susceptible to choking. Facilities need to monitor residents during meals to prevent choking incidents.
- Medication Errors – Serious medical conditions often occur due to nursing homes giving residents the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or drugs that interact.
- Fall Injury – Nursing home residents are quite vulnerable to falls. Facilities need to take appropriate steps to prevent residents from falling.
In many cases, these injuries or illnesses can be fatal. In such cases, family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home.
What causes nursing home neglect?
Many injuries and illnesses due to nursing home neglect occur because the facility did not follow the standard health protocols or did not take the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of its residents. Examples include:
- Understaffing – When nursing homes do not have enough employees, residents are at risk. Direct care is labor-intensive work, and overworked and exhausted staff may cut corners or overlook warning signs.
- Lack of training – Untrained nursing home employees can cause serious injuries, infections or illnesses. They also may not know how to respond in dangerous situations such as choking incidents.
- Lack of oversight – Nursing home supervisors need to make sure that staff members are doing their job, especially employees who are responsible for cleaning the nursing home, feeding residents and giving them their medications.
- Bad hiring practices – Nursing homes often hire unskilled or unqualified workers, or employees with a history of neglecting or abusing residents.
Often, the cause of neglect isn’t the individual nursing home residents or even the on-site administrators – it’s corporate decision-makers who don’t even visit the facility and put profits ahead of resident safety.
Whatever the circumstances, neglected nursing home residents are the ones who suffer. Our job is to hold negligent facilities accountable for their actions.
How common is nursing home neglect?
The short answer? Very common. Statistics vary but according to one nationwide study, 90 precent of nursing home residents have reported being neglected. According to the Illinois Department on Aging, 40 percent of nursing home residents in the state have been victims of neglect at some point.
What should I do if I suspect nursing home neglect?
You need to take action right away if you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of neglect in a nursing home. Take the following steps immediately:
- See a doctor – Your loved one’s health should be your top priority. Get immediate medical attention and a second opinion if necessary.
- Report neglect – Tell the nursing home that your loved one is being neglected. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own, our Chicago law firm can help you.
- Call the State – Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health as soon as possible. They investigate reports of nursing home neglect in Illinois.
- Get records – Ask for copies of medical records related to any injuries or illnesses caused by neglect.
- Contact us – Talk to a nursing home neglect lawyer at our Chicago law firm. The sooner we can start investigating your case, the better.
What are my legal options?
Depending on the circumstances of your nursing home neglect case, you may have several different legal options available to you. You may be able to negotiate a settlement or file a lawsuit against the facility.
Just keep in mind that you often need to act fast when filing a nursing home neglect lawsuit in Illinois. The deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit is usually two years, but different deadlines can apply in some circumstances. Only an attorney can tell you what your rights are – and how much time you have to exercise them.
Understanding the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
Nursing home residents in Illinois have many legal rights and protections. And one of the most important ones is known as the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Created in 1979, this state law protects the rights of nursing home residents. This law, known as the Patient Bill of Rights in Illinois, also provides many rights for nursing home residents.
- Residents have the right not to be abused or neglected.
- Nursing home employees who observe neglect are required to report it.
- Nursing homes are required to follow the rules and regulations outlined in the Abused and Neglected Long Term Care Facility Residents Reporting Act.
- Nursing home staff members must undergo at least 10 hours of training each year on topics related to nursing home neglect and abuse.
- State investigators are required to investigate allegations of nursing home neglect within 7 days of being notified, or within 24 hours if a resident’s life or safety is in imminent danger.
- Nursing home management is required to notify the owners of the long-term care facility about any reports of neglect within 24 hours of the complaint.
- Nursing homes are required to maintain and preserve records of neglect complaints.
Learn more about your legal rights. Contact our Chicago law firm
The stakes are high in nursing home neglect cases. Your loved one might be in pain and suffering due to a serious injury or illness. The financial consequences can be big as well. Depending on the circumstances, medical bills and other expenses can easily add up to thousands of dollars or much more.
Nursing homes, their insurance companies and their lawyers know this. That’s why they often work hard to reduce or deny injury claims filed by nursing home residents and their families. We understand the urgency of your legal matter. That’s why we want to meet with you right away.
Our dedicated Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers have years of experience. As a result, we thoroughly understand how the legal system works when it comes to injuries or illnesses due to neglect. When you have our legal team on your side, you can be sure that we will work tirelessly for you.
Get the law firm that puts your family first. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a Chicago nursing home neglect attorney you can count on in a crisis. You can reach us online or call us today. Se habla Español.