Chesterville Nursing Home Negligence Attorney

Chesterville Nursing Home Negligence Attorney

Chesterville Nursing Home Negligence Attorney

Nursing home neglect and abuse are an unfortunate reality in many nursing homes in Illinois. When families place their elderly loved ones in nursing homes, they do so to provide their loved ones with additional care to support and protect them. Families have trust that nursing homes and their staff will care for and respect their loved one’s mental, physical, and healthcare needs. Though many caretakers and staff members in nursing homes are aware of this responsibility and provide residents with the compassion they deserve, others fail to care for the needs of nursing home residents. Some caretakers may even maliciously or purposefully abuse residents.

When you learn that your loved one was subject to neglect or abuse in Chesterville, IL, it is heartbreaking. It’s essential to know how to identify neglect and other forms of abuse in nursing homes, warning signs that indicate abuse is occurring in a nursing home, and how you can address the situation and protect your loved one.

You can file a legal claim against the individual caretaker or the nursing home for their failure to uphold their duty of care. This civil claim can recover damages suffered by your loved one, such as the costs of additional medical care or pain and suffering damages. Although this compensation will not make the harm go away, it can provide you and your loved one with financial stability and hold the nursing home legally and financially liable for their actions. Beginning a civil claim and managing the legal process is much easier with a qualified nursing home neglect attorney by your side.

Experienced Chesterville Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Nursing home abuse and neglect claims are a form of personal injury claim where the injured party can hold the negligent or malicious party liable for financial and emotional damages. The process of filing these legal claims is often more complex than most individuals realize. It can be more stressful when you’re trying to protect your loved one from further neglect, find proof that abuse occurred, and find a safe place for your loved one to receive care. Many people are not prepared to meet filing deadlines and manage legal requirements for personal injury claims. By filing with the help of an attorney, your legal counsel can manage several aspects of the claim. Your attorney also improves the chances of the claim succeeding and maximizing the compensation amount.

At Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, we understand how delicate nursing home abuse cases are and that every family’s situation is different. We treat you and your loved one with the dignity, compassion, and care you deserve and spend the time needed to fully understand your situation. We have more than ten years of experience and have successfully represented many individuals in the surrounding community in personal injury claims. We have experience with common challenges and requirements in this legal field, and we use our knowledge to investigate your case, determine the damages your loved one should receive, and build an effective case. We fight for the ideal outcome of your claim.

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home abuse can be intentional actions by caretakers and other staff, but your loved ones can also suffer harm due to staff negligence and inaction. Neglect is the willful failure to care for residents, which causes physical or mental harm to the individual. Neglect can cause serious injuries or even death in extreme cases. Nursing home negligence can take several forms:

  • Medical Neglect: Caretakers fail to give a resident appropriate medical care. This may include improper medication administration, failure to follow treatment regimens, or limiting a resident’s access to proper medical care.
  • Physical Neglect: Caretakers and staff fail to help a resident with basic physical needs. This includes improper sanitary care, malnutrition, and improper bed positioning.
  • Failure to Protect and Assist: Staff have a duty to protect residents. This form of neglect may include failure to help an individual eat, drink, use the bathroom, or bathe. It also includes staff that fail to help residents after they fall, fail to respond to cries for help, or isolate residents.

Your loved one should be treated with dignity and care. If they are suffering due to neglect of those who are supposed to care for them, you can file a claim against those parties. An attorney can help you decide your next steps.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Neglect may be less obvious than intentional physical abuse, but there are signs that indicate your loved one may be suffering neglect. These include:

  • Unsanitary conditions. A resident’s living space, their clothes, and the facility should be cared for and clean.
  • Lack of basic hygiene and grooming. Caretakers are responsible for bathing and ensuring other basic hygiene and grooming needs are met.
  • Dehydration and malnutrition. Staff should always monitor the fluid and food intake and output of residents to ensure they are properly cared for.
  • Residents should socialize with other residents, and staff should help residents who aren’t mobile and wish to socialize.
  • Lack of medical treatment. Caretakers should provide routine medical checks and treatment and provide access to care when needed. Caretakers should also respond promptly to medical emergencies.
  • Medication errors. The wrong medication or amount of medication can cause severe injury and death. Caretakers have a high duty of care when administering medication to residents.
  • Bedsores and pressure sores. When residents are unable to reposition themselves, caretakers have the responsibility to help them move around.
  • Nursing homes should have measures in place to ensure residents do not wander off without the knowledge of residents or staff.

Caretakers and staff have a responsibility to residents, and nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure proper training and policy to protect residents. If a nursing home doesn’t have policies to address neglect and other forms of abuse or fails to properly train or monitor staff, the facility can also be held responsible. Neglect can be purposeful or an unintentional but willful failure of care. Even unintentional neglect is unacceptable from those whom you and your loved one trusted with your loved one’s care. The at-fault parties can be held legally liable for damages suffered.

How Is Abuse or Neglect Proven?

To receive compensation for damages, a claim of nursing home neglect or abuse has to prove that there was a direct link between the neglect and damages. In order to hold another party liable for neglect in any personal injury case, you have to prove the following:

  1. That party, whether it is the nursing home or staff member, owed your loved one a duty of care;
  2. The party breached that duty of care;
  3. Your loved one suffered an injury, whether mental or physical;
  4. This injury was a direct result of the breach of duty of care; and
  5. The injury resulted in legally recognizable economic or noneconomic damages.

A resident in a nursing home can sometimes suffer malnutrition, bed sores, or other symptoms of neglect while receiving competent care. There may be underlying reasons for your loved one’s condition. To succeed in a personal injury nursing home neglect claim, every aspect of neglect has to be proven.

Injuries and Harm Caused by Nursing Home Abuse

Residents of nursing homes are in a vulnerable position, and nursing home abuse is frequently overlooked or unreported for this reason. Residents may be scared to report behavior or embarrassed of what is being done to them. Some residents do not have the full awareness to know abuse is occurring. Additionally, some nursing homes cover up or fail to report abuse and neglect that they should know about. Nursing home neglect and abuse can result in injuries and losses such as:

  • Physical injuries
  • Medication complications and overdoses
  • Preventable diseases and medical issues
  • Emotional regression
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Death

Abuse often causes or worsens medical conditions that should have been treated with responsible care. A claim can recover the financial damages associated with these injuries and the noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Many injuries from neglect and direct abuse can result in the death of a resident. This can be especially devastating for family members who entrusted the care of their loved ones to this facility. For some, filing a wrongful death claim against the nursing home or staff member may seem insensitive to their loved one’s memory. However, filing this claim can hold the individual and facility responsible for their action and may prevent the same abuse for other residents. Additionally, the financial compensation you earn from a successful claim can cover funeral and burial costs and any outstanding medical bills of your loved one. This can provide you and your family with much-needed financial stability as you deal with your grief.

Other Forms of Abuse Present in Nursing Homes

Neglect is not the only type of nursing home conduct that harms residents. Some forms of abuse are deliberate and malicious. Common types of abuse in nursing homes include:

  1. Physical Abuse
    Physical abuse is one of the more blatant forms of abuse, but there are even forms of physical abuse that are more subtle. This form of abuse includes physical force such as hitting, kicking, or pushing. It also includes the excessive or unneeded use of restraints, including physical and chemical restraints. Physical abuse includes excessive force when restraining a patient. A caretaker may also withhold prescribed medications as a form of physical abuse. Physical abuse most obviously causes physical injuries and lasting harm, but it can also result in lasting emotional and psychological damage.
  2. Sexual Abuse
    Sexual abuse can occur in a nursing home because of the actions of staff or because of a failure of the nursing home’s policy when allowing visitors or in how residents interact. Nursing home residents can be the victims of many forms of sexual abuse and often do not feel safe to report the abuse. An official investigation is important when these allegations are made, and the safety of your loved one is paramount. This is an incredibly delicate and difficult situation for residents and their loved ones, and legal guidance can help immensely.
  3. Emotional Abuse
    Emotional and mental abuse can be much harder than other forms of abuse to note. Because residents rely on the nursing home and its staff for basic needs, this can make psychological manipulation and abuse more damaging. Emotional abuse may include humiliation, ridiculing, or isolation. It may also include threats or withholding of a resident’s needs, such as food or medication. Residents may withdraw from social activities or no longer have an interest in activities they enjoyed. Emotional abuse can result in long-term psychological harm.
  4. Financial Abuse
    Financial abuse in nursing homes may occur as misuse of a resident’s bank funds, benefits, or personal property. It can also occur when a resident is giving property to an individual under false pretenses or under threats of abuse or mistreatment. Financial abuse does not always result in physical harm, but it can lead to emotional consequences. A claim can also recover the value of assets or property lost to financial abuse.

What Are Warning Signs That a Nursing Home Is Abusive?

There are several signs that a nursing home facility may be abusive to or negligent of the individuals it is meant to care for. This includes:

  • An unmaintained or unsanitary facility
  • A disorderly environment, either of staff or residents
  • Improperly trained staff or not enough staff
  • Complaints from other residents or family members
  • Claims of abuse from many residents and families
  • Visible mistreatment or verbal threats from staff
  • Unnecessary force or restraint used on residents
  • Staff that fails to keep track of residents’ medications
  • Ineffective disease containment and pandemic procedures

While these issues may not all point to abuse, they may point to a facility that does not have the proper training, management, and policy in place to protect and care for residents.

Your loved one may also exhibit signs of abuse while in a nursing home. When a resident is embarrassed, afraid of repercussions, or unable to express themself, their family members must be aware of other signs of financial, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. Some of these signs include:

  • They are more withdrawn or have developed anxiety or depression
  • Other mood changes since becoming a resident
  • Malnutrition and dehydration or unwillingness to eat and drink
  • Refusal to be alone with a specific caregiver
  • They are not allowed to be alone with family without a specific caregiver
  • Lack of sanitation, where they are visibly less groomed and clean than when they arrived at the facility
  • Physical signs of neglect, such as bedsores or weight loss
  • Physical signs of physical abuse, such as fractures, bruises, cuts, or welts
  • Physical injuries with no clear reason
  • Diagnosis of new sexually transmitted diseases
  • Missed medication, improper medication, or refusal to take medication
  • Frequent falls, with no obvious steps taken by the facility to prevent these issues
  • Changes to legal documents, including beneficiaries to their will or changes to their powers of attorney
  • Refusal to speak, reluctant communication, or wishing to be left alone

Loved ones in nursing homes may make excuses for physical harm, even if there is another cause. A resident may not always feel comfortable discussing a traumatic experience with their family members.

Families should also be aware that these signs may not always point to abuse or neglect and may be caused by other diseases or medical conditions. It’s important to keep an eye on these potential signs of abuse and monitor your loved one to determine what assistance they need. An attorney can review your situation to determine if immediate action is necessary or if the situation needs further investigation.

How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help Me?

Navigating the legal process of filing a claim against a negligent nursing home is faster and less stressful with an experienced attorney. It is also more likely to be successful. It is possible to file a personal injury claim on behalf of your loved one without an attorney, but it is often overwhelming and complicated. An attorney can manage legal deadlines, negotiations, court hearings, and investigations into claims of abuse.

Discovering that your loved one was a victim of abuse or negligence is upsetting. Abuse can have severe effects on residents, and it can make family members feel powerless. If you have discovered signs or proof of abuse in your loved one’s nursing home, speak with an attorney. They can review the evidence, use their resources to investigate, and determine if you have a claim. Your attorney can help you remain informed about the choices you make for your loved one.

When you file a civil claim against a nursing home and one of its employees, you will likely be facing attorneys from their insurance company. The goal of an insurance company is to limit its financial liability as much as possible. Without an attorney, you will have to negotiate with the insurance company yourself, who will likely undervalue your claim’s amount or even try to deny that abuse or neglect occurred. An attorney has experience working with these companies and attorneys and knows their tactics and how to counter them.

Your attorney will also know how to calculate the value of your claim, making negotiations more effective. Many individuals filing a civil claim, especially a personal injury claim, underestimate the damages they are owed. Though you may easily calculate your current economic damages, such as medical bills, an attorney will know how to calculate future medical complications and emotional and physical suffering.

Civil claims are not always resolved through negotiation. If the other party refuses to negotiate in good faith or provide you with the compensation you deserve, the case can enter litigation. This can make the process of a civil claim take longer, but good legal representation is a strong asset. Your attorney can advocate for your interests and your loved one’s rights in court.

You and your loved one deserve support during this difficult time. A qualified attorney can take your worries seriously, treat you with compassion, and make sure you understand the process and requirements of a civil claim.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Nursing Home Negligence in Illinois?

Civil claims have a statute of limitations, or a deadline to file the claim. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which includes claims about nursing home negligence, is two years. This two-year limit begins at the most recent date the abuse occurred. It may also begin at the date you discovered or should have discovered that abuse was occurring if you didn’t know on the date it happened to your loved one. You have to file a claim within those two years, or else you cannot claim financial compensation or hold the facility or caretaker legally liable for the harm they did.

Though some may consider two years to be a significant amount of time, it’s important that you file a claim and work with an attorney sooner rather than later. This is for several reasons, including:

  1. Evidence for a Successful Claim: If you wait a significant period of time before filing a nursing home abuse claim, much evidence may vanish. Witnesses, documentation, and even recordings may exist to enable a stronger case. If you wait several months or a year, this evidence may no longer exist, making it unlikely that you and your loved one get the compensation you need.
  2. Recovering Damages Sooner: The more quickly you open a case, the sooner it will be resolved. Then, you may obtain compensation for economic and noneconomic damages.
  3. Finding an Attorney: If your case is nearly at the statute of limitations, fewer attorneys are likely to accept the case. Attorneys often prefer more time to find evidence and create an effective case because it is more likely to succeed.

There are some exceptions to the two-year statute. If the nursing home purposefully hid abusive actions from you and your family, you may still be able to file after the deadline has passed. If the incident occurred in a governmental facility, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is generally one year.

Legal Protections for Nursing Home Residents

There are state and federal laws that define and outline the rights of those in nursing homes and assisted living. This includes:

  • The U.S. Nursing Home Reform Act is federal legislation that sets minimum standards for the care of individuals in facilities, protecting and defending their rights, their quality of life, and their quality of care.
  • The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act reinforces federal rights in state law, defining the rights of Illinois residents. This also adds additional regulations for licensed facilities.

In Illinois, nursing homes and other care facilities are under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the federal Health Care Financing Administration (HDFA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These state and federal agencies are responsible for the licensure of facilities and their continued regulation and inspection. When filing a nursing home abuse claim, an individual can file an administrative complaint with the IDPH or a civil personal injury claim.

State and federal laws outline many rights that nursing home residents hold, including:

  1. The right to not be deprived of basic rights and privileges only because they are a resident of a nursing home
  2. Entitlement to an environment free of any form of abuse or neglect
  3. The right to a safe and comfortable environment
  4. Freedom from unnecessary chemical or physical restraints, unless required for medical reasons or to ensure the safety of the resident or others
  5. The right to religious freedom
  6. The right to dignified and respectful treatment
  7. The ability to manage their own financial affairs and the right to appoint another person to manage them for them
  8. Privacy, assuming it does not interfere with the safety or rights of others
  9. The ability to receive visitors and communication by mail or phone
  10. Entitlement to keep and use their own personal belongings, assuming it does not harm the safety or rights of others
  11. Access to information and records regarding medical conditions, care, and treatment
  12. The right to refuse healthcare and treatment, assuming the resident has the mental capacity to do so
  13. Ability to use their own doctor at their own expense or through their health insurance
  14. The right to independence and to set their own schedule, as much as their medical condition allows

Residents in a nursing home have several other rights. An attorney can help you determine which rights apply to your unique situation and whether a civil claim or administrative complaint is ideal for your loved one’s needs.

Chesterville Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys You Can Rely on

When a nursing home or its staff is responsible for the injury, harm, or death of your loved one, you are likely dealing with several financial and emotional issues. At Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, our attorneys want to help you manage these issues and file a legal claim that holds the facility responsible for its failure. We know how upsetting and frustrating these situations can be. You and your loved one should not have to pay for the damages caused by negligent or abusive caretakers. Contact Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, today, and let our experienced legal team guide you through the process of protecting your loved one.

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