One of the most difficult decisions a family can make is to place a loved one in a nursing home facility. When a loved one is placed in a nursing home or elder care facility, a family also places their trust in that facility. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect happens in over 40% of elder care facilities.
There are many causes of nursing home abuse and neglect that lead to inadequate or substandard treatment of residents, causing injuries and/or death. It could be that the nursing home was understaffed or had inadequately trained employees. The bottom line is that nursing home residents require skilled and properly trained attendants. The majority of nursing home residents are dependent on staff members for most or all of their activities of daily living. These activities can include assistance with feedings, medicine, toileting, grooming and ambulation. The resident's dependence upon the nursing home staff makes them vulnerable to neglect and abuse.
As a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect attorney, I am asked various questions regarding nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Many times the families of the injured victim or the deceased want to know who is responsible for the injuries sustained by their family member. They want to know, will the nursing home settle, do they have to go to court and how long will the nursing home neglect or abuse case take. My response is that it depends on the case. Often times it depends upon the severity of the neglect and abuse that the victim suffered. In the most severe cases, when the neglect and abuse is blatant and obvious, a nursing home may wish to settle the case immediately.
In many nursing home abuse and neglect cases, the nursing home maintains the position that the claim for neglect and abuse is not valid. In these cases, the nursing home may take a longer period of time to make an offer. Often times they will let the case go to trial and have a jury decide who's responsible for the victim's injury or wrongful death. I understand that it is very challenging to prove that a nursing home resident's injury or death was related to nursing home neglect or abuse. Many times nursing home residents are elderly and have comorbid or pre-existing health problems.
Many factors are assessed to determine the value of a nursing home abuse and neglect case. Factors such as how the neglect or abuse occurred, extent of injuries sustained, medical treatment and medical expenses, future medical costs and pain and suffering. Many times the state in which the law suit is filed can make a difference in the amount that you can recover. Federal and State laws require that all nursing home residents receive the necessary care to reach and maintain the highest practical level and social well being. Nursing homes are required to follow the federal and state regulations regarding having adequate or sufficient skilled nursing staff. They must complete a comprehensive and accurate assessment of each resident's functional capacity, and provide care according to the patients individual comprehensive care plan. They must provide adequate medical and/or devices for living while a resident of a nursing home. They must provide comprehensive and skilled supervision for all residents.
As a Chicago personal injury lawyer, I understand that nursing home abuse and neglect manifests in many different ways. Over the years, we have handled many types of nursing home abuse cases such as mental and physical abuse, bed sores, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, pharmacy and medication errors, wandering and elopement, falls and malnutrition and dehydration.