Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers In Chicago

 

 

At Malman Law, we provide vigorous legal representation for victims of negligence and abuse in the Chicagoland area.

We are passionate about fighting for our clients, and if you or a loved one has suffered an unexplained injury or illness in a nursing home, we want to help you stand up for yourself and enforce your legal rights.

Our nursing neglect attorneys will always stand for victims who had been hurt from negligence of caretakers. Negligence occurs when the care taker is not fulfilling his/her duty to a resident. It includes physical neglect (deprived bathing methods, lack of toileting and wrong body positioning), medical neglect (lack of medical care, poor access to medical aid and more) and proper assisting (Lack of assistance to the resident in eating, drinking, avoiding cries for help and more). Our highly skilled personal injury lawyers provide right justice and fair treatment for your abuse and negligence.

On the other hand, even the rate of nursing home negligence cases is increasing day by day.

 

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is a serious, pervasive, yet often hidden problem in modern America. As our population ages, more and more older adults are moving into nursing homes in order to receive the care that they need to live from day-to-day. In addition, many people with physical or mental disabilities also reside in nursing homes in order to ensure their basic needs are met.
Unfortunately, sometimes the most vulnerable among us suffer at the hands of their caretakers. Nursing home abuse can take a wide variety of forms, the most common of which are described below. Never hesitate to discuss any concerns with a nursing home abuse attorney.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may be the most overt and obvious form of nursing home abuse. Some of the more common specific forms of physical abuse that may take place in nursing homes include:

  • Hitting
  • Pushing
  • Kicking
  • Slapping
  • The unnecessary use of restraints
  • Shoving
  • Rough treatment

Physical abuse can take a significant toll on residents, who may be too fearful to report the abuse to their loved ones or the facility’s management. As a result, if you have a loved one in a nursing home setting, be on the lookout for any signs of physical abuse. These signs may include bruising, cuts, marks on the wrists or ankles, broken bones, lacerations, or any other signs of physical injury. If you note any, you should investigate the matter fully and report it to the nursing home’s management.

Mental and emotional abuse

Like physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse can take many forms. When residents are dependent on nursing home staff for their basic needs, it makes them vulnerable to mental abuse and manipulation. Mental and emotional abuse can include:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Belittling
  • Name-calling
  • Isolating residents from others
  • Not allowing residents to engage in activities they enjoy
  • Verbally threatening residents
  • Withholding food, water, or medication

The signs of mental and emotional abuse can be much harder to spot than the signs of physical abuse. Some of the signs to be on the lookout for include fearful behavior, emotional withdrawal, depression, anxiety, and a loss of interest in things the resident once enjoyed. In addition, take note if your loved one seems particularly fearful or withdrawn around a particular staff member. Be sure to report any signs of emotional or mental abuse to the nursing home’s management.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of nursing home residents, but this type of abuse happens more often than you might imagine. Sexual abuse might happen by a staff member, visitors, or even other residents at the facility, and it can involve rape, as well as unwanted touching, exposure of intimate parts, and more.

Neglect

Not all forms of nursing home misconduct involve causing intentional harm. Some injuries to residents result from negligent conduct by staff that leaves residents without the care they need. Nursing home neglect – while not as egregious as abuse – is still a major problem and causes serious injuries or death. Some examples of nursing home neglect include:

  • Not providing adequate hydration or nutrition
  • Keeping residents unnecessarily isolated from others
  • Not administering proper medication or making medication errors
  • Failing to provide routine medical treatment
  • Not ensuring that a resident, their clothes, and their rooms are clean and sanitary
  • Not performing basic grooming of resident
  • Failing to respond to emergency medical situations
  • Not providing assistance when a resident needs it to go to the restroom or move around

While neglect might not cause intentional harm, it is still unacceptable in nursing homes, and these facilities should be held fully accountable for any injuries or medical complications that result.

Injuries and Losses from Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home residents suffer a wide range of injuries and other losses due to abuse and neglect. Some common injuries include:

  • Physical wounds
  • Medical complications that were preventable
  • Medication overdoses
  • Emotional regression or mental disorders
  • Sexually-transmitted infections or diseases
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Dehydration or malnutrition

Often, an abused resident will need medical care that they otherwise would not require. Residents should never be responsible for medical costs that resulted from abuse or neglect.
Another common loss is physical and mental pain and suffering, and residents can experience significant suffering from nursing home abuse. Not only do they feel the pain from physical injuries or health conditions, but they also have trauma from what happened to them and fear of further abuse.

Nursing homes should be responsible for covering all the losses of injured residents, and a nursing home abuse law firm in Chicago can help.
Why Nursing Home Abuse is Underreported
Many observers believe that nursing home abuse is underreported, both by residents and nursing homes themselves. While data can be hard to gather, it stands to reason that many nursing home residents are too embarrassed or afraid to report the abuse. Others may not even be aware that the abuse is going on or may not have the mental faculties to know what to do about it.
Additionally,  a government report estimates that 1 in 5 ER visits from a nursing home is a result of nursing home abuse. The report also suggests that nursing homes often fail to report incidents of abuse to law enforcement or the Center for Medicare Services (CMS).

Liability for Nursing Home Abuse

When you realize your loved one suffered unnecessary injuries or health issues due to abuse or neglect, you likely want justice. The law holds nursing homes liable for the harm that occurs in the facilities, and individual staff members might also be liable for their individual conduct.
Going up against nursing homes and their insurance companies is no easy feat, however, and it requires the right legal tools and experience.

One of The Best Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Malman Law is Here to Help

If you believe that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, never wait to seek help. First, if you think they are in danger, contact the authorities and ensure they are moved to a safe place. Then, contact Malman Law for a free case evaluation to see how we can stand up for your loved one’s rights.

Finding A Reputable Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Near You

If you believe your loved one has suffered abuse while in a nursing home, you may be looking for a nursing home abuse lawyer near your location.

Whether it was bedsore, rough treatment, or any kind of abuse, our expert attorneys at Malman Law will fight for your loved one until justice is served.

Contact today one of the best nursing home abuse lawyers near you right away.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I overheard an employee calling my loved one names. They apologized, but I think it’s happening all the time. Is this an incident of nursing home neglect or abuse?

Nursing home neglect and abuse in Chicago is a real concern. Residents who are recipients of that sort of behavior often suffer emotional and psychological distress. When this deplorable behavior occurs, you may have a cause of action for a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Keep in mind that it’s possible that your loved one may not feel comfortable talking to you about what you overheard or whether it is something that is happening on a regular basis. Warning signs of verbal and emotional abuse in a nursing facility include:

  • Roughhousing environment among the staff. Residents also may be disorderly. You may notice a lot of yelling.
  • Detailed complaints from other residents or their family members.
  • Facilities that are not being appropriately maintained.
  • Rumors from the residents and their family members about abuse.
  • Employees who use pranks or hurtful jokes in order to embarrass residents.Employees who use pranks or hurtful jokes in order to embarrass residents.

If you believe that your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Chicago, call Malman Law to schedule a free consultation. We will provide compassionate and experienced evaluation of the claims.

What are the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect in Chicago?

Nursing home abuse and neglect in Chicago should not be tolerated. Facilities should be a place of safety and rest for our loved ones. It’s important to note that just like in other forms of abuse, your loved one or the caretakers may make excuses on how injuries occurred. Sadly, statistics reveal that 44 percent of residents have been abused at some point. Signs of this abuse or neglect include:

  • Your loved one doesn’t want to be left alone with a specific nursing home employee.
  • Changes in the mental status of your loved one. This can include depression and anxiety. Your loved one may also stop eating.
  • Your loved one doesn’t appear to be clean. There is a marked difference in their physical appearance from before they entered the facility and after.
  • Your loved one has unexplained weight loss.
  • Your loved one refuses to eat or to take their medication.
  • Your loved one stops speaking.
  • Your loved one wants to be left alone all of the time.
  • Your loved one begins to experience emotional outbursts.
  • Your loved one shows signs of dehydration.
  • Your loved one shows signs of dehydration.
  • You notice bruises, cuts, welts, or broken bones.

It is also important to keep in mind that sometimes these signs don’t indicate nursing home neglect or abuse, but they are signs of other problems. For instance, dehydration, bedsores, and unexplained weight loss are also symptoms associated with diabetes. However, it is important to look at these signs to determine the type of help that your loved one needs.

If you believe that your loved one is experiencing nursing home neglect or abuse in Chicago, call Malman Law right away to schedule a free initial and confidential consultation.

Can I sue the nursing home even if my loved one has no written contract with them?

Yes, you can, because human rights don’t need contractual support. If you were hit by a car, for example, you wouldn’t have to prove that you had a contract with the driver not to hit you in order to win a lawsuit against him or her – you could sue under general tort law principles, just as you can in cases of abuse and neglect in a nursing facility.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act defines the rights under state law that your loved one enjoys with or without a contractual arrangement with the nursing home. Federal regulations also apply if the institution participates in the Medicare program. Proving that the facility violated an applicable regulation will go a long way toward establishing their liability for compensatory damages. In cases of outrageous conduct, you might even be able to collect punitive damages against the nursing home. Of course, if there is a contract, a contract claim could be added to other claims arising from the abuse or neglect.

What are the most common legal theories used to combat nursing home abuse or neglect?

The most common legal theories used to file lawsuits against nursing homes include:

  • Negligent supervision and care
  • Negligent hiring and retention of staff
  • Negligent maintenance of facilities
  • Negligent maintenance of equipment
  • Assault and battery
  • Contractual violations

These are very broad categories that may overlap. If your loved one falls and breaks a hip, for example, this injury might be actionable as negligent supervision and care, negligent maintenance of facilities (slippery floors), or both.

Where do I file a complaint against nursing home abuse or neglect?

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is the state agency responsible for enforcing the law in favor of the more than 100,000 nursing home residents residing in over 1,200 facilities in Illinois. The IDPH licenses these facilities, conducts inspections at least annually, and cooperates with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for eligibility to participate in federal payment reimbursement programs.

The IDPH maintains a Nursing Home Hotline (800-252-4343) for complaints. Upon receiving a complaint of abuse or neglect, the IDPH’s Bureau of Long Term Care may launch an investigation. Although it does not participate in lawsuits, it can sanction or even close down homes that violate the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act or federal regulations. The results of its investigation can be used as evidence in a civil lawsuit against a home or an employee.

What are the federal rights of a nursing home resident?

Residents of facilities that participate in the Medicare program enjoy the following federal rights:

  • Freedom from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse.
  • Freedom from physical or chemical restraints, except restraints imposed for medical reasons or to insure the safety of the patient or others. Restraints imposed for reasons of discipline or convenience are illegal and are considered abuse.
  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The right to manage your own finances or to appoint someone else to do so.
  • The right to privacy as long as it doesn’t interfere with the health, safety, or rights of others.
  • The right to use one’s personal belongings as long as it doesn’t interfere with the health, safety, or rights of others.
  • The right to information about your medical condition and any treatments.
  • The right to refuse treatment (as long as you have the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of such a refusal).
  • The right to use your own doctor.
  • The right to set your own daily schedule.
  • The right to as much independence as your medical condition allows you.
  • The right to a safe and comfortable environment.

Most of these rights also apply under state law, even for nursing homes that do not participate in the Medicare program.

What are my options if I suspect abuse?

There are three main legal avenues you can pursue in cases of suspected nursing home abuse or neglect – (i) filing an administrative complaint with the IDPH, (ii) filing a civil lawsuit, and (iii) filing a complaint with the local prosecutor seeking criminal charges. You do not have to choose one or the other – you can pursue all three avenues at the same time. Family members of an abused or neglected resident can file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim.