At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers are tough advocates for victims of abuse, which occurs far too often in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. If you believe your loved one is or has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, schedule a consultation with our firm.
What to do if you suspect abuse at your loved one’s nursing home
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered abuse in their nursing home, there are several steps you can take to ensure they’re protected. You may need to contact law enforcement to investigate the situation. Many instances of abuse and neglect are criminal.
1. Report the abuse
You should immediately report the nursing home abuse to the Illinois Department of Aging. There are several agencies in Illinois that accept reports of nursing home abuse. Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website or call the Nursing Home Hotline by dialing (800) 252-4343.
2. Contact a nursing home ombudsman
Contact the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and tell them of your suspicions. Ombudsmen visit nursing homes on a regular basis to monitor the quality of care residents receive, as well as the conditions in which they live.
3. Make detailed notes of possible abuse
Be as observant as you can regarding everything that’s happening to your loved one. Write down your observations of how they’re acting and note any suspicious wounds or bruises. Ask them how they suffered the wound and write down their answer. If you’re able to ask them a few times, look for inconsistencies in their statements.
(4. Gather evidence to support your suspicions
You should be able to access your loved one’s financial and medical records. Gather those records and take pictures of your loved one and anything you think may have contributed to their abuse.
If there are witnesses, talk to them and write down their statements. If you don’t feel comfortable getting their statement, get their contact information and give it to your Chicago nursing home abuse attorney.
4. Consult a nursing home abuse lawyer
If you feel your loved one is in immediate danger, tell the authorities right away. Once you’re convinced they’re safe, speak with a Chicago personal injury attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. We’ll investigate to find out what’s going on and then pursue legal action against those responsible for the abuse.
Your attorney will be an advocate for you and your loved one throughout this entire process. They will guide you through every step you need to take to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their actions.
Reporting abuse in Illinois
You can report suspected abuse to the Illinois Department of Human Services. You can also file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health by phone, email, fax or standard mail.
Types of nursing home abuse
These are just some of the kinds of abuse that happen in nursing homes far too often.
This includes pushing, shoving, hitting, or slapping a resident, or restraining them in an inhumane fashion.
Emotional abuse can be just as devastating as physical abuse. Examples include isolation, humiliation, verbal abuse, intimidation, and more.
Neglect can occur when nursing home personnel fail to take care of a resident’s hygienic needs, don’t give them the medical help they need, or fail to provide drinks or food.
Examples of financial abuse include forgery, stealing a resident’s debit card, and outright theft of personal items.
Any sort of unwanted contact could fall into this category, including touching or fondling. Indecent exposure and harassment of a sexual nature can also be considered sexual abuse.
Nursing home abuse claims have filing deadlines. Make sure you file on time
In most cases, you have two years from the date that you discovered the abuse (or two years from the most recent date that your loved one was wrongfully administered a psychotropic medication) to file a claim for nursing home abuse.
There are cases, however, where the statute of limitations might be different. Talk to a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney to learn more about the filing deadline in your specific case.
Who can file a lawsuit against a nursing home in Illinois?
Nursing home abuse lawsuits can be complex. One of the complexities is who can take legal action against the owner of the facility. Either the resident or their authorized representative or legal guardian can file a lawsuit. Talk to an attorney so they can clarify who’s eligible to take action.
Potential damages to claim
If your loved one has been abused or neglected in a Chicago nursing home, they may be entitled to compensation.
Please note: Each case is different, and the total amount awarded to a victim will vary, as awards depend on many factors.
These are tangible damages, ones that are easily supported by receipts, invoices, and other types of paperwork. You can, for instance, produce medical bills to show how much your treatment costs. These costs include surgery, prescriptions, days spent in the hospital, and more.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate since you can’t easily place a monetary value on emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life. This is why it’s important to hire a skilled Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer to help you obtain full compensation.
There are instances where a jury will award punitive damages for gross negligence or behavior that is so egregious that the offender needs to be punished. This type of compensation is fairly uncommon, so speak with an attorney to get a better understanding of the damages you may be able to obtain.
We’ll work to obtain maximum compensation for your loved one
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we work passionately on behalf of the most vulnerable members of our society — the elderly. If we can prove your loved one suffered nursing home abuse, we won’t stop until they obtain every penny of compensation you deserve.
Common injuries to look out for
Be on the lookout for physical signs of abuse the next time you visit your family member. Look for signs like:
- Unexplained bruises or cuts
- Wounds that don’t seem to heal as quickly as they should
- Unkempt or disheveled appearance
- Behavioral changes, such as lashing out when they never did before
Multiple parties may be liable
Depending on the circumstances of your case, multiple parties may be liable for the losses and injuries associated with the abuse.
Nursing home facilities and their staff
The facility could be filled with dangers, such as slippery floors or uneven steps. Administrators may not do a good enough job of supervising staff or might have been negligent when hiring them.
Nurses and caregivers typically spend the most time with a nursing home resident. When abuse happens, they’re often to blame, but the facility is the primary target of the lawsuit.
Third-party trespasser or contractor
Someone could have trespassed on the property and injured your family member, or an air conditioning technician or another type of contractor could be to blame.
How our attorneys prove abuse
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates has a team of Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys who investigate incidents, determine blame, and pursue compensation by proving that the facility acted negligently and their negligence resulted in the mistreatment of your loved one.
Cost of hiring a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer
We take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you’ll pay no upfront fees and face no out-of-pocket costs while your case is ongoing. Our fees are directly tied to the success of your case. You will only pay legal fees when we secure the compensation you deserve.
Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys are ready to help
If you believe your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in any form, do not wait to speak with an attorney. Do not hesitate to come to our firm for sound legal counsel and dedicated representation.
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates in Chicago, we have vast experience in nursing home abuse and personal injury matters. Our successful track record of recovering substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients speaks for itself. Call (800) 985-1819 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.