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Nursing home abuse is a widespread problem in the United States. These facilities are a $75 billion-per-year industry in the United States, and yet the profit motive compels many of these facilities to cut costs by any means necessary, which leads to serious problems like understaffing, inadequate employee training, and abuse of residents. The American Association of Justice releases annual statistics on nursing home abuse in the United States, and according to a report titled “Nursing Home by the Numbers:”

  • An estimated 13 of every 14 nursing home abuse cases is not reported to the proper authorities;
  • Over 90% of nursing homes are not adequately staffed to care for residents;
  • An estimated 1.5 million people currently live in U.S. nursing homes.

Any resident of a nursing home who has been abused deserves full compensation for all injuries and losses, including medical expenses and pain and suffering, and our experienced personal injury attorneys will ensure that your rights are protected. Contact Agruss Law Firm today for a free consultation.

Nursing home residents have both state and federal rights. Under federal law, nursing home residents have the right to:

  • Have visitors;
  • File complaints about inadequate medical care;
  • To not be abused or unnecessarily restrained;
  • Personal privacy respect, especially pertaining to medical records and information;
  • Have and use clothing and other personal belongings;
  • Full medical disclosures of all treatments and their costs;
  • Personal care from a physician;
  • Handle all personal finances;
  • Understand all policies and procedures of the nursing home.

And here are some state-protected rights of nursing home residents in Illinois:

  • File complaints or grievances regarding abuse, neglect, or inadequate medical care;
  • See and retain copies of all personal medical records;
  • Amending and adding information to your records;
  • File a complaint with the Illinois state department, Office for Civil Rights, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Sue in Illinois Circuit Court regarding your medical records.

Abuse and negligence in nursing homes can come in many forms for which victims may be entitled to compensation. These include:

  • Bedsores – Although they are preventable, bedsores can have serious and even fatal complications in some cases. Many employees in nursing homes lack the proper training and/or experience to identify, treat, and prevent bedsores.
  • Belittling – Verbal belittling/harassment from nursing home employees qualifies as abuse, as it can cause emotional and psychological trauma, and victims may be entitled to compensation.
  • Choking – Physical abuse such as hitting or choking often results from inadequate supervision of residents, especially those who may require supervision while eating.
  • Emotional abuse – Emotional trauma and associated depression and/or anxiety are unfortunately common in nursing homes due to abuse and neglect, and this can be a subcategory of “pain and suffering,” which is a larger category of damages in personal injury claims.
  • Falls and fractures – Nursing homes owe their residents a legal duty of care regarding safe premises and adequate supervision, and failure to meet either obligation can result in a fall and subsequent injury for which the victim may be entitled to compensation.
  • Financial exploitation – Financial exploitation, including theft, forgery, and undue influence, is among the most common types of nursing home abuse.
  • Inadequate staffing – This is a common problem in nursing homes nationwide. Despite staffing being governed by law, some nursing homes still attempt to save time and resources by hiring fewer caregivers, which can result in a variety of negligence-related problems as well as greater health-risks for residents who require prompt medical care.
  • Malnutrition – Malnutrition can result from neglect and inadequate care, and also puts residents at greater risk for other illnesses.
  • Medication errors – Under-dose, overdose, and confusing one medication for another are common examples of medication errors which can be life-threatening for some residents.
  • Sexual harassment – Residents who have been sexually harassed in nursing homes are often reluctant to come forward about physical or sexual abuse due to discomfort with discussing the matter, fear of retaliation, or uncertainty of exactly who was responsible for the abuse, but victims are encouraged to speak out and consult with an attorney to seek justice and compensation for the damages.
  • Staff administration failure – Types of negligence in this category include failure to provide adequate food, water, or medication, as well as things like failing to fix a bedrail or other faulty piece of equipment.
  • Unreasonable restraints – There are only extremely-limited circumstances in which a nursing home resident can be physically restrained, and wrongly or unlawfully restraining a resident can cause physical and/or emotional suffering.
  • Wrongful death – If your loved one died in a nursing home as a direct result of abuse or neglect, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses with the help of an experienced attorney.

The assistance of a personal injury attorney is essential to accurately estimate the potential value of your case, as these cases and their potential outcomes depend on a wide range of factors. These include:

Patient’s age – While it may not be fair, nursing home abuse cases involving younger plaintiffs tend to result in higher settlements than those involving older plaintiffs.

Patient’s health – Nursing home abuse cases involving healthier plaintiffs tend to be more valuable than those involving plaintiffs who are less healthy and/or have pre-existing conditions.

Patterns of care – Nursing homes which have patterns of abuse or neglect may be more inclined to settle an abuse case than facilities without reports of such problems.

Insurance companies – Some nursing homes’ insurance companies are more willing to settle abuse cases than others.

Jurisdiction – Jurors tend to more aggressively value cases in large metro areas, such as Chicago, which can result in higher average settlements.

Family involvement – A nursing home which has been accused of abusing or neglecting your loved one may look at the extent of your family’s communication and involvement with him/her during their time in the facility to try to judge your sincerity as opposed to financial motivation.

Remember: Under Illinois law, a claim for nursing home abuse must be filed within two (2) years of the date the injury was discovered or “reasonably should have been discovered,” or within four (4) years of the date the injury was sustained.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse or negligence in a nursing home, contact Agruss Law Firm today for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will file your claim and take care of the insurance company, the bills, and the lost income. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, our personal injury lawyers are not paid attorney fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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