Joliet Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

joliet nursing home abuse lawyerNursing home abuse often goes unreported. Victims of abuse may be afraid to speak up, or they may not know who to turn to for help. That’s where a qualified nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer comes in.

Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help. We have centuries of combined experience helping victims get the compensation and justice they deserve. 

Our compassionate staff is available to take your call, answer questions, and explain legal options. 

Book a free consultation with a Joliet personal injury lawyer by calling (800) 985-1819 today.

Elder Abuse and Neglect Claims We Handle

When you have been injured as a result of the carelessness or negligence of others, you need a skilled professional on your side. 

Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates investigates and builds strong cases against negligent parties. We know how to talk to insurance companies and get them to admit responsibility, saving you time and money.

Our attorneys can fight hard for your claim, knowing that if we don’t win, you don’t pay.

How soon will I need to file an elder abuse lawsuit?

In Illinois, you have two years to file an elder abuse lawsuit. If you don’t file within the two-year time limit, your claim may not be allowed to go forward. 

You are not required to have all of the evidence necessary immediately after the abuse has occurred. It is okay to take time to put together all of your information, as long as it’s done within the two-year timeframe.

This is why it’s best to file as soon as possible. It allows you to gather evidence and interview potential defendants while things are still fresh in your mind.

How a Joliet Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You

Because victims of nursing home abuse may experience a variety of different types of trauma, it’s important to seek immediate legal advice.

After you contact us, we can help you file a claim. It’s important that you take action as soon as possible after being neglected or abused in a nursing home.

By taking action now, we may be able to get you more compensation than if you wait to file your claim. We also may be able to stop the nursing home from neglecting or abusing other residents.

Do not wait to contact us.

How do I know if my loved one suffers nursing home abuse or neglect? 

Here are some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect:

  • Bedsores, both open and closed 
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sudden changes in mental health
  • Dehydration
  • Agitation
  • Frequent falls, bruises, or fractures
  • Infections
  • Fear in the presence of staff members
  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Fear of being touched
  • Isolation

If your loved one is suffering from any of these, don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can investigate and put a stop to any abuse.

How are nursing homes regulated in Illinois?

Nursing homes are regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. There are over 1,000 nursing homes in Joliet, with hundreds of thousands of residents in the area.

Nursing homes are inspected every 15 months by the Illinois Department of Health, with standards improving in recent years. Staff at Illinois nursing homes must follow rules and regulations set forth by the Department of Public Health and the federal government. They must provide a good standard of care, which includes keeping them clean and comfortable, and keeping residents safe from all types of abuse or neglect. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health has the power to revoke licenses if any violations are found.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse 

Physical

Physical abuse is the use of physical force to cause harm. Hitting, kicking, or any type of other physical contact that results in pain or injury are examples of physical abuse.

In nursing homes, much of the physical abuse happens because staff members are not trained to handle patients or they lack proper equipment.

Physical abuse in nursing homes also includes actions such as:

  • Physically forcing a patient to take medicine
  • Not giving enough time for a patient to eat their food, resulting in malnutrition and dehydration
  • Pinching, pushing, grabbing, or slapping
  • Mishandling patients and causing bruises

The warning signs include:

  • Bruises
  • Unexplained injuries on different parts of the body
  • Broken bones or dislocations
  • Burns that are inconsistent with patient’s activities

Emotional

Emotional abuse includes actions that cause the victim to feel distress, fear, and loss of self-worth. Someone who is emotionally abused can suffer from anxiety and depression. Emotional abuse occurs because staff members are not properly trained or they cannot control their negative emotions. They may be overworked, but there is no excuse for abuse.

Examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Humiliating patients in front of others
  • Talking down to patients or having a condescending tone
  • Name-calling or mocking
  • Forcing someone to do something that they don’t want to do
  • Making threats and intimidating patients
  • Isolating patients from their family and friends

The warning signs include:

  • Frequent anxiety or depression
  • Extreme withdrawal
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Fear of being left alone with certain staff members
  • Fear of seeing specific staff members

Sexual

Sexual abuse is the use of force, intimidation, or coercion to elicit sexual contact. Sexual abuse can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person into non-consensual contact with their genitals and other body parts. This happens because the abuser believes they have the right to control and degrade others. The victim of sexual abuse can suffer from PTSD or other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.

Examples of nursing home residents who have suffered from sexual assault include:

  • Patients being forced to watch pornography
  • Patients being touched inappropriately by staff members
  • Forcing patients to have sex

The warning signs include:

  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Bloody underclothes
  • Bruises around the breasts, thighs, buttocks, and genital region.
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases or infections

Financial

Financial abuse occurs when someone uses a patient’s money, property, or other valuables without the patient’s consent. This happens because the staff members are trying to take advantage of the patient or because they do not know what else to do with their money.

Examples of financial abuses include:

  • Not letting patients have access to their own money
  • Stealing from patients by taking their belongings or selling them
  • Charging for services that were not authorized by the patient

The warning signs include:

  • Unpaid bills for unusual items
  • Missing valuables, such as jewelry or electronics
  • Sudden changes in bank accounts or credit cards
  • Theft of property or money

Mental

Mental abuse includes actions that cause mental anguish, distress, or depression.

This happens because the abuser thinks that they have the right to control and intimidate others.

Examples of nursing home residents who have experienced mental abuse include:

  • Ridiculing patients in front of others
  • Belittling patients or putting them down
  • Public humiliation or exclusion from social events

The warning signs include:

  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Moodiness, being easily irritated
  • Always being on edge
  • Sleep disturbances caused by nightmares, night terrors, or insomnia

Healthcare Fraud

Healthcare fraud and abuse occur when someone uses information about patients to make money by deceiving public health programs like Medicare. This includes lying about the services provided, billing for unnecessary or never-performed treatments, or charging for services that people already received.

This happens because the abuser thinks they are entitled to unlimited money. The financial abuse is usually committed by someone with a high level of authority, such as physicians.

Examples of people who have been abused financially include:

  • Charging for services that were already provided
  • Creating false information about patients to make it seem like they are sicker or need more treatment than they actually do
  • Using patient information to recruit for a clinical trial
  • Selling patient information to marketers without permission

The warning signs include:

  • Unusual charges for items that are not usually reimbursed under public health programs
  • Charges that seem too high or low
  • Unexplained changes in the diagnosis of a patient’s condition
  • Any other signs of unusual activity around billing, such as shredding of documents, diversion of supplies to cover personal use, or destroying records

Neglect

Neglect is one of the most common types of nursing home abuse. It occurs when someone inflicts harm on a patient or does not provide them with the care they need.

This happens because the abuser has too much to do and thinks nothing will happen if they don’t perform certain tasks.

Examples of neglect include:

  • Not giving pain medication to patients who need it
  • Not providing enough food and water
  • Leaving a patient alone in the restroom without checking on them
  • Ignoring or not responding when a patient is calling for help

The warning signs include:

  • Patient bedsores (pressure ulcers)
  • Weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
  • Unsanitary living conditions such as dirt, bugs, and waste
  • Poor personal hygiene or lack of clothing or blankets
  • Patients who are unwashed, unkempt, or naked

Conditions That May Worsen Elder Abuse 

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

People with Alzheimer’s and dementia have problems remembering, thinking, and concentrating. They might forget things that just happened or not be able to think of things from a long time ago.

Many people dealing with these conditions lose their ability to communicate and become unaware of what is happening.

This makes it easier for the abuser to take advantage of them. It also changes how much they can tell when reporting abuse, since they may forget or be unable to describe details clearly.

Stubbornness

Stubbornness can get in the way of reporting abuse. People may not realize that what they are experiencing is abuse or think it’s their fault and punish themselves.

People who have stubborn personalities tend to be less open with others, including health care providers and family members. They can become more isolated and may not want to admit what is happening.

Social Isolation

Social isolation is when someone has little or no contact with family, friends, neighbors, or other people in their community. This can leave them vulnerable to abuse since they are not aware of the signs that indicate abuse.

They may also become more isolated if they notice the warning signs and want to avoid talking about it for fear of causing problems.

They can also become more isolated as a self-protective coping mechanism. This limits the number of people who might notice or report abuse and gives them fewer opportunities to protect themselves.

Past Experience With Difficulty Communicating

People who have had difficulties with communication in the past may be less likely to report abuse. This can include people with autism, developmental disabilities, depression, anxiety disorders, or other health conditions.

Some may think that talking about what’s happening will cause more problems than it solves. They may also believe they are capable of handling the situation themselves. 

Poor Memory or Confusion

Like Alzheimer’s and dementia, general age-related confusion and memory problems can lead to abuse. They may make it harder for a person to protect themselves from abuse or understand when they are being abused.

If they do not know what is happening, they cannot report it. If the person’s memory is so bad that they have trouble remembering what happened, it may be even harder for them to report abuse or seek help.

Meet a Leading Joliet Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today

Be aware of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse so that you can report it. It is estimated that only 1 in 14 cases are actually reported.

Many people don’t realize they’re being abused, or they feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it. If you know someone who is elderly or has dementia, please keep an eye on them and be sure to report any suspicious behavior immediately. And if you find yourself in a situation where you think you may be experiencing elder abuse, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You are not alone.

Contact the experienced Joliet nursing home abuse lawyers of Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today. We want to hear your story and provide guidance on what legal options are available. A free, no-obligation case review is just a phone call away.

Call (800) 985-1819 now.