Our lawyers and professional staff are passionate about helping families of wrongful death victims hold nursing homes accountable for their actions. When we take a case, we do whatever it takes to help family members obtain maximum compensation for their loss. If you have lost a loved one and believe that negligent or abusive treatment may be to blame, please contact us so that we can take the nursing home to task and win the compensation you deserve.
Studies have found that 20 to 25 percent of all deaths in the United States occur in nursing homes. While many of these deaths are purely attributable to old age and natural causes, a significant portion are attributable to improper and inattentive care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease as the leading causes of death among all individuals age 65 and over. However, in nursing facilities, elderly residents often die prematurely from causes such as:
Oftentimes, residents suffer these conditions as a direct result of receiving inadequate or improper care. Whether resulting from a single event (such as a fall) or deficient care over an extended period of time (as with life-threatening bedsores), negligence on the part of nursing home staff members can easily lead to fatal medical conditions that – with proper care – should have easily been avoided.
In addition, even when the above conditions are not fatal, they often place elderly nursing home residents at a severely increased risk for contracting other life-threatening conditions and diseases. For example, malnutrition, severe injuries, and serious illnesses can all leave elderly individuals in a weakened physical and emotional state. This often leaves them susceptible to falling, being unable to fight off illnesses and infections, and ultimately losing the fight against otherwise treatable conditions.
Proving cause of death for nursing facility residents typically requires an autopsy, and a thorough investigation into the individual’s living situation and treatment regimen at the time of death may be necessary as well. Upon losing a loved one, it can be difficult to accept that his or her death may be the result of someone else’s negligence or mistreatment. However, understanding what happened is critical to allowing yourself to move on.
In most cases, there is nothing that the victim’s family members could have done differently. Negligence and abuse can be difficult to uncover, and whether due to embarrassment, uncertainty, or simply not wanting to worry their loved ones, victims often fail to report problems when they occur.
However, if you are now questioning the cause of your loved one’s death, possible indicators of negligent or abusive treatment may include:
If nurses and administrators are unwilling to provide details on what happened to your loved one, this may be a warning sign as well. Ultimately, if you have any question as to the cause of your loved one’s death, you are entitled to answers. If you are finding answers hard to come by, this may suggest that you have a claim for compensation.
Our attorneys can help you get the answers you are looking for, and if it appears that you have a claim, we can help you hold your loved one’s nursing home responsible for just compensation.
Residents of facilities that participate in the Medicare program enjoy the following federal rights:
Most of these rights also apply under state law, even for nursing homes that do not participate in the Medicare program.
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.
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.