legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Elgin Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Elgin is home to over 13,000 seniors and 6,500 people with disabilities under 65. Many of these disabled and elderly individuals are unable to live independently, and many families cannot care for vulnerable patients on their own.
Hence, thousands of families entrust the care of their disabled and elderly loved ones to nursing homes. At a nursing facility, residents have access to the facilities, equipment, and professional care they need to have the best quality of life possible.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes are safe. Many nursing home residents become victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of their caregivers, visitors, and even other residents. A significant majority suffer severe injuries, mental trauma, financial losses, and sometimes even die from the mistreatment.
Are you or a loved one a victim of nursing home abuse? At Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, our affiliate Illinois, personal injury attorneys seek justice for residents who have been abused, neglected, or mistreated in nursing facilities.
Call our Elgin nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you disclose about your Elgin nursing center and the staff will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a single or repeated act that causes physical, psychological, or financial harm to a resident. It can result from negligence, carelessness, or malicious intent of employees, visitors, or other residents.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 64% of nursing home employees admitted to committing abuse against disabled or elderly people in 2021. However, the average number of actual nursing home abuse cases remains unknown due to severe underreporting from victims and their proxies.Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is a single or repeated act or lack of action that causes physical, psychological, or financial harm to a person aged 60 and above. It can occur in any relationship with an expectation of trust, such as in a caregiver relationship.
Since over 90% of care facility residents are senior citizens, elder abuse is the most common type of abuse in nursing homes in assisted living facilities.State and Federal Regulations
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act defines what services nursing homes and other residential care facilities must provide residents and establishes standards for these services. This law aims to protect the legal rights of nursing home patients, including:
- Freedom from abuse, neglect, or mistreatment
- Freedom from physical restraints
- Accommodation of physical, psychological, medical, and social needs
- Participation in resident and family groups
- Be treated with dignity
- Exercise self-determination
- Communicate freely
- Participate in one’s care plan review and be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or status change in the facility
- Voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
The Illinois government incorporated the same rights in the Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/). The Act also outlines the requirements for nursing homes, including:
- Ensuring no resident is deprived of any rights, benefits, or privileges guaranteed by the US Constitution or state law
- Informing all new residents and spouses of their spousal impoverishment rights under the Illinois Public Aid Code and the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act
- Allowing residents to manage their finances unless under guardianship
- Permitting residents to wear personal property unless medically inappropriate
- Providing patients with adequate and secure storage for personal property
- Allowing residents to retain the services of their doctors
- Refraining from conducting experimental research or treatment or permitting access to residents’ medical records without approval
- Allowing residents the right to refuse medical treatment
- Respecting residents’ right to privacy regarding personal or medical care
- Refraining from using chemical or physical restraints for punishment or the convenience of staff
- Not giving residents unnecessary medication
- Never abusing or neglecting residents
- Respecting residents’ rights to communication by mail, phone, or visit
- Ensuring the protection of residents’ funds
- Screening all residents and providing individualized care plans for all
Learning about the different types and signs of nursing home abuse is crucial to preventing harm to your loved one.
Nursing home abuse occurs and manifests in many ways, including:Physical Abuse
Physical abuse involves intentionally using force against a resident, causing injury, pain, or impairment. It includes but is not limited to actions like slapping, striking, kicking, burning, and pinching.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Broken bones
- Unexplained physical injuries (e.g., cuts, burns, bruises)
- Broken eyeglasses
- Restraint or grip marks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Psychological abuse, also known as mental or emotional abuse, involves verbal and non-verbal acts that cause psychological harm to a resident. These acts may include verbal abuse, humiliation, intimidation, gaslighting, and geographical or social isolation.
Signs of Mental or Emotional Abuse
- Personality or behavioral changes
- Depression or anxiety
- Being extremely withdrawn
- Loss of enjoyment in usual activities
- Difficulty sleeping
Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual contact with another person. It can take many forms, including verbal sexual harassment, unwanted touching, sodomy, coerced nudity, and rape. Sexual contact with a person that cannot give valid consent is also regarded as sexual abuse.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Reluctance or refusal to be touched
- Unexplained bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Genital infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Refusal to be alone with specific individuals
Financial abuse is the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of a resident’s personal property, including money and assets.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
- Sudden bank account changes
- Unexplained transactions on credit cards
- Missing belongings
- Forged signatures on financial documents
- Inconsistencies in financial records of the facility
- Sudden changes in financial habits
Neglect occurs when nursing home staff fails to provide a patient’s basic needs, including food, medication, clothing, and medical care, creating or increasing the risk of harm to a patient.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Pressure ulcers
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Unexplained weight loss
- Untreated medical conditions (e.g., recurring urinary tract infections)
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Inadequate clothing for the weather
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, walkers, hearing aids)
- Medication errors
Elder abuse may manifest in signs that mimic those of dementia. Abused elderly people may become withdrawn, experience mood changes, and engage in self-neglect, indicators similar to early-stage dementia.
Consult a specialist if you are unsure whether your family member is experiencing elder abuse or exhibiting signs of dementia.Who Is Most at Risk?
All residents in nursing home facilities have a certain level of risk of abuse or neglect. However, some residents are more susceptible than others due to their increased physical and mental vulnerability, including:
- Patients with physical or mental disabilities
- Patients with additional care needs
- Patients with access to an abundance of wealth
- Dementia patients
- Women and children
- Bedridden patients
Nursing home neglect and abuse can lead to many severe and long-term consequences for victims, such as:
- Severe injuries
- Untreated medical conditions
- Psychological trauma
- Emotional distress
- Property and monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or social ties
- Increased risk of illnesses
- Wrongful death
The entire family may also be affected. Family members may have to pay for medical bills, miss work to care for their loved ones, and file a lawsuit to recover compensation--not to mention dealing with the guilt of knowing their family member suffered harm.Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes are mandated by law to provide appropriate care and protect the legal rights of all residents. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to meet this obligation. Abuse, neglect, and mistreatment are more likely to occur in facilities with the following issues:
- Underqualified and Improperly Trained Staff: Employees without proper qualifications, training, and experience may be more likely to commit mistakes and be abusive or neglectful towards residents.
- Understaffing: When there are too few caregivers, many residents may experience poor care due to the staff being stretched too thinly. Understaffing also leads to high-stress environments, increasing the risk of abuse.
- Poor Management: Subpar management can lead to a lack of accountability and adequate supervision, putting residents at risk of abusive or neglectful behavior from nursing home staff.
- Underreporting: Although it is required by law, many employees fail to report abuse or neglect cases to prevent further harm in nursing care facilities. As a result, many nursing home abuse cases remain unresolved.
Report known or suspected abuse to the Elgin Police Department as soon as possible. If you think your loved one is in grave danger, call 911 and remove them from the facility to prevent further harm. Avoid giving facilities the benefit of the doubt; even if you don’t have concrete evidence of abuse or neglect, take action.
You can also report nursing home neglect and abuse to the following agencies:
- Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA)
- Department of Public Health
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP)
The Illinois Department of Health and Human Services inspects Illinois nursing homes every 18 months. Negligent nursing homes may incur health citations for failing to protect residents from harm. In worst cases, however, state and local agencies may suspend or revoke the certifications and licenses of negligent nursing facilities.
Additionally, the police may file criminal charges against perpetrators of abuse, especially in cases of physical assault, rape, and financial exploitation.
After filing a formal complaint to proper authorities, contact an Elgin nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your legal options.Filing an Elgin Nursing Home Abuse Claim
The abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of disabled and elderly people in nursing care facilities is against the law. If you or a loved one suffered abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation in a nursing facility, you have the right to take legal action.
Filing a personal injury claim against the negligent nursing home could help you recover financial compensation for your losses. But first, you must hire an Elgin, personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in nursing home abuse cases to seek justice for your family.The Role of Your Elgin Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
An experienced Elgin nursing home abuse lawyer can help you:
- Establish the liability of at-fault parties
- Collect evidence to support your claim
- Handle all claim-related paperwork
- Negotiate settlement values
- File your case in civil court, if necessary
A Cook county attorney will help your family navigate the complexities of personal injury law during your free consultation. In addition, your attorney will keep your family informed about the case’s progress so that you know what you need to do.Liable Parties
Personal injury claims may involve more than one at-fault party, including:
- Nursing home staff
- Other residents
Regardless of who is directly at fault for the abuse, the nursing home owner or administrator will also be legally responsible for failing to protect patients from avoidable harm.Evidence
Obtaining fair compensation from at-fault parties requires substantial evidence. Your Elgin nursing home abuse lawyer will help you gather suitable forms of proof, such as:
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries
- Medical records, including psychological evaluations
- Incident and police reports
- Witness accounts from employees, visitors, or other residents
- Expert testimony
Nursing home abuse victims and their family members could recover financial compensation for the following economic and non-economic losses:
- Medical Expenses: Compensation for your loved one’s medical bills, including hospitalization, medication, therapy, surgery, emergency transportation, etc
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your family member becomes disabled from the abuse or neglect. These damages may include loss of quality of life and medical equipment.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries from physical or emotional abuse, including physical pain, mental trauma, emotional distress, etc.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for your loved one’s reduced quality of life after the abuse or neglect, which may manifest in loss of enjoyment in daily activities, decreased independence, reduced societal ties, etc.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for death-related damages if your loved one dies due to abuse or neglect. These damages typically include funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical treatment, grief, etc.
- Punitive Damages: Monetary awards on top of compensatory damages, aiming to punish negligent nursing homes for their actions and deter harmful behavior in the future.
Your Elgin nursing home abuse lawyer will help estimate how much you should receive in a settlement during your free consultation.Litigation
Most personal injury claims settle out of court to avoid expensive legal fees and lengthy trials. However, it is not always the case.
After you file your personal injury claim, the facility’s insurance company may come forward with a settlement offer. You can accept the offer as soon as you receive it, but you will no longer be able to sue for additional damages. Moreover, the initial offer may be too low to compensate for your damages.
Your Elgin nursing home abuse lawyer can negotiate the settlement for you. But if negotiations are unsuccessful or the facility denies liability for the harm caused to your family member, you could file a civil lawsuit.
During a trial, the judge or jury will hear your case and consider evidence from both parties.
Your lawyer will help you explore other legal options if you want to avoid a lengthy lawsuit involving nursing home abuse. Sometimes, parties settle through mediation or arbitration.The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Illinois is two years, meaning you have two years from the date of the underlying incident to file a lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit as soon as possible is crucial. The court may refuse to hear your case if you miss the deadline. And if you file a lawsuit anyway, the defendant will likely file for a motion to dismiss it.Consult an Experienced Elgin Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
A nursing facility must provide proper care to all nursing home patients. Furthermore, all nursing institutions must protect their residents from abuse or neglect, whether from staff, visitors, or other patients.
Failure to meet these obligations can put residents in harm’s way, resulting in avoidable injuries, further harm, disability, and even death.
Have you or a loved one suffered abuse in a nursing home? If so, the Elgin nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC are ready to serve as your legal advocates. Our skilled nursing home abuse lawyers will help you recover fair compensation for your family’s losses through litigation or an out-of-court settlement. Either way, we will ensure you gain justice for such unnecessary suffering.
Contact our legal team at (800) 926-7565 or use an online contact form to discuss your legal options for financial compensation through a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share during your free review will remain protected under an attorney-client relationship.
Our affiliate Elgin nursing home abuse attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency basis, meaning our services are free unless we recover financial compensation for you.Resources: