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Nursing home litigation is a complicated field of law. It raises difficult questions of medicine and care. Plus, the people involved are some of the most defenseless members of our society: the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled. That makes the subject all the more serious. Next, we will address concerns that we frequently hear from Illinois nursing home victims in Chicago and the Illinois area.
The scope and severity of nursing home injuries is taking on added significance because of the new wave of residents flooding these facilities. In fact, the federal government has even taken serious steps to define and fight the problem. Through a subunit, the Department of Health and Human Services has said that an elderly person is abused when there is a “knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” Of course, this happens all the time in nursing homes.
Many friends and family of nursing home residents ask us how they can prevent their loved one from being injured while staying there. Stopping abuse means knowing what to look for. There are definitive signs of nursing home injury but there are a lot of them. Therefore, it is critical to look out for broad forms of abuse. Physical injuries are generally the place to start. Does the resident have new injuries such as broken bones but cannot explain how he or she suffered them? Sexual abuse injuries generally include sexually transmitted diseases or pain or bleeding in that area of the body. Signs of neglect often manifest in bed sores, hygiene issues, or malnutrition. When residents suffer financial abuse, they often have unpaid bills, unexplained losses of money, and other monetary anomalies. These signs just cover the most common nursing home abuse scenarios. There are many others. To understand all of them in their totality, speak with a capable nursing home abuse attorney.
Nursing home abuse comes in a myriad of forms. This is especially unfortunate because its victims are often elderly and vulnerably making preventing it particularly difficult. Most of the everyday varieties of nursing home abuse affect a resident’s physical, mental, sexual, emotional, and financial integrity. The effects can be severe as well. Many residents suffer falls, bed sores, dehydration, and other serious injuries as a result of this exploitation. Therefore, it is critical to question nursing home staff prior to moving in about the steps it takes to avoid these tragedies from happening.
Nursing home abuse is a national problem. Abuse happens in about one in three nursing homes. Thousands of deaths occur every year because of it. Most of the time, the offender is known by the victim prior to the occurrence. There are many more complaints about nursing homes than actual nursing homes across the nation. Many facilities employ criminals. Worst of all, most of these problems are never reported.
The burgeoning problem of nursing home abuse has given many people pause as to how to protect the elderly and infirm. States and even the federal government have stepped up to fill the gap where help is needed the most. Through various agencies, Illinois has set up services to assist those suffering from abuse. Here is some information that you might find useful:
Hotline for Elder Abuse: 1-866-800-1409
Hotline for Nursing Home Abuse: 1-800-252-4343
Once you have experienced an injury at a nursing home, you must act quickly to ensure that the people responsible are punished. If you still are injured or at risk of injury, then seek emergency medical care. Then, contact a qualified nursing home attorney. That professional can instruct you on what to do in specific detail and do a lot of work on your behalf. Next, try and record your impressions and any questions you have related to the incident, persons involved, and any injuries you suffered. Finally, reach out to your friends and family for any help that they can provide. Avoid speaking with the persons who harmed you, their lawyers or any of their representatives.
Nursing home abuse can startle and shock its victims. They don’t want to relive it. Therefore, the prospect of a lawsuit can seem unsettling to residents. To understand why they should put with the time and trouble of a trial, they repeatedly wonder what a suit could get them. First, they can get back any expenses that the incident caused them. Second, they can be reimbursed for long-term suffering that the abuse created. Third, they can receive compensation for a decreased quality of life. Finally, they can get punitive damages for the particularly egregious actions of the defendant. Exactly how much recovery is available to you depends on the circumstances of your nursing home accident and only an experienced attorney can tell you what you can obtain.
Illinois’ statutes of limitations curtail your right to pursue recovery for nursing home injuries. Generally, you have two years to sue the wrongful party for any damage that might have occurred while you resided in a nursing facility. This is true regardless of whether you are suing for negligence, medical malpractice, or other types of actions. See 735 ILCS 5/13-202 and 735 ILCS 5/13-212. The only exception would be if you are suing for wrongful death and the decedent’s passing came after the window in which you would normally have to sue. In that case, you would have one year from when the person died to bring your case. See 735 ILCS 5/13-209.
For a free consultation about your nursing home case, contact Joel Gould Law Offices today or call 773-281-8744. The Nursing Home Lawyers at Joel Gould Law Offices handle cases in Chicago and throughout Illinois. They also work closely with some of the best personal injury attorneys across the country on cases in other states and jurisdictions.
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