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Learning an elderly loved one has been neglected at a nursing home, leading to harm, is a terrible and depressing feeling; we all want to believe our loved ones are receiving the care that they both need and deserve.

Unfortunately, though, both nursing home neglect and abuse permeate the system and, sometimes, nursing home residents suffer physical or psychological harm, including early death, as a result.

If you believe nursing home neglect has led to a loved one’s harm, you should schedule a free consultation with a Claim Your Justice nursing home abuse attorney who can advise you about what steps to take and how to get maximum compensation. Here’s an overview of what you need to know about nursing home neglect cases and your right to seek damages.

What Constitutes Nursing Home Neglect?  

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Nursing home abuse usually refers to active instead of passive acts that involve intent, such as physically abusing a nursing home resident, sexually abusing a resident, financially exploiting a resident, or emotionally/psychologically abusing a resident.

Neglect, on the other hand, often does not involve intent and is more passive; neglect may be the result of poor nursing home staff training, understaffing and a poor staff-to-patient ratio, etc. Examples of neglect include:

  • Failing to properly assist and monitor nursing home residents during mealtime, resulting in dehydration or malnutrition
  • Failing to properly bathe, wash, or assist in grooming a nursing home resident
  • Failing to administer the proper medication or administer medication when needed/prescribed
  • Failing to move a bedridden nursing home resident, resulting in bedsores
  • Failing to respond to a nursing home resident’s request for help in moving, such as getting out of bed to use the bathroom, resulting in injuries like bedrail injuries, slip and falls, etc.

The above list is not inclusive, there are numerous injury types that can occur when a nursing home resident doesn’t receive the level of care that they deserve.

Is Nursing Home Neglect Illegal?

There are some actions that may be taken by nursing home staff that are certainly against the law. For example, sexually assaulting a nursing home resident is heinous and should be punished in the criminal system. In most cases, though, nursing home neglect will not result in any criminal liability. That does not mean, however, that it won’t result in civil liability.

While nursing home neglect may not be a crime, it is a breach of the standard of care owed to residents. Nursing homes are professional medical facilities staffed by medical professionals and other professionals and, as such, a medical or/and professional standard of care is owed to the residents/patients.

The medical or professional standard of care is the same degree of care that another medical person/ professional of similar background and training would demonstrate in the same situation. Nursing home residents (and their family members) have a reasonable expectation that the residents will not be neglected; when this expectation and duty of care is breached and harm results, the nursing home can be held liable for significant damages.

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect

If you suspect nursing home neglect, taking action sooner rather than later is strongly recommended and can help you to protect your elderly loved one and others within the nursing home.

  • Call the police. If you think that abuse or neglect is occurring that is putting residents at threat of imminent bodily injury, do not hesitate to call the police.
  • Collect evidence. If you think that nursing home neglect is occurring, you should try to collect evidence of the neglect – this will be important when you file a complaint or file a claim for damages. Photographs that indicate neglect (i.e. pictures of bedsores), medical records of your loved one, and more are all types of evidence that may be valuable.
  • Give notice to the nursing home. It’s always a good idea to have a conversation with the nursing home manager about your concerns before taking drastic action (unless, as mentioned, you believe imminent harm is a risk). Provide a nursing home manager with an overview of your concerns (in writing). In some cases, bringing awareness to the issue may be all the correction that’s needed.
  • File a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health. If the issue of neglect isn’t remedied immediately or if you believe that your loved one has suffered harm as a result of the neglect, you should file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The IDPH will investigate the complaint and work to protect residents’ rights. You can file a complaint by phone or mail.
  • Talk to an attorney. Finally, do not hesitate to consult with a Claim Your Justice attorney if you believe that neglect is occurring and a loved one is being harmed. An attorney can advise you of your rights and help you to build your case.

Filing a Nursing Home Neglect Case

If you believe that nursing home neglect is occurring, you have the right to bring a claim or a civil action for damages. In order to win your case, you’ll need to prove that the nursing home breached the duty of care owed to the nursing home resident and that the breach of the duty of care resulted in actual harm/damages.

If you can prove this, you can recover compensation for the value of medical expenses incurred, pain and suffering damages, funeral and burial expenses (if the nursing home neglect resulted in death), and any other economic or noneconomic damages suffered. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a Claim Your Justice attorney who can guide you through the process of filing your claim.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Neglect

Claim Your Justice attorneys know that you have multiple questions about nursing home neglect, the claims process, your rights, and what steps to take when you suspect that neglect is occurring. Consider the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we hear, and reach out to our lawyers directly for more information about your rights.

  1. How long do you have to file a lawsuit against a nursing home?

In general, you have two years from the date of the nursing home neglect to file a lawsuit against the nursing home. If you wait longer than two years, you can be barred from recovery. Note that this does not mean that you should wait up to two years; instead, it’s best to start the claims process as early as possible and, only if a settlement cannot be reached, file a lawsuit before the two-year limit is reached.

  1. What is the statute of limitations for nursing home abuse?

The statute of limitations is the legal time limit on how much time can pass between when the nursing home abuse occurs and when you file a lawsuit. As noted above, the statute of limitations in most nursing home abuse or neglect cases is two years. Note that the two-year statute applies to both personal injury cases and wrongful death cases involving nursing home abuse/neglect.

  1. How do you prove nursing home neglect?

In order to recover compensation for nursing home neglect, you’ll need to prove that the nursing home owed a duty of care to the resident (implied), that the nursing home breached this duty of care, that the breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of injuries, and that actual damages, either economic or noneconomic or both, were suffered. In order to prove these four elements, you’ll need compelling evidence.

Photographs, video footage (if it exists), the nursing home resident’s medical records, any complaints filed against the nursing home, and experts’ testimonies can all be useful in proving neglect. At the firm of Claim Your Justice, our lawyers can help you to understand the type of evidence that is most useful in a nursing home neglect claim, as well as how to win your case.

  1. What is passive neglect?

Passive neglect is nursing home neglect that doesn’t involve any intent; in fact, passive neglect is often the result of inaction rather than an intentional action. For example, if a nursing home is poorly staffed and there are not enough medical professionals, staff members, and nurses to ensure that all patients are receiving a high level of care, a nursing home resident may get neglected, resulting in malnutrition, bedsores, a slip and fall accident, etc.

While passive neglect may not be intentional or the fault of one specific nursing home staff member, it is still unacceptable and is a breach of the duty of care owed to a resident.

Call Our Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys Today

If you believe that nursing home neglect is occurring or if your elderly loved one has been harmed by nursing home neglect, call our Schaumberg, IL nursing home neglect attorneys directly today. We offer free and there is no fee unless we win.

 

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