Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence in Illinois

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  • Can my loved one file a nursing home abuse or neglect case in an Illinois court if no one reported the abuse to the state?

    Nursing Home Resident That Has Experienced Abuse

    Yes, your loved one may pursue a nursing home abuse case even if the elder abuse was not reported to the state of Illinois.

    Nursing Home Abuse Is Not Always Reported

    According to Illinois law, if an older person is unable to report abuse, then certain professionals are legally required to report nursing home abuse. The federal Social Security Act also requires that nursing home abuse or neglect be reported to local police for investigation.

    Despite these laws, an audit from the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services has found that some allegations of rape, sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, and maltreatment went unreported. Of the 33 states included in the federal audit, Illinois had the highest incidents of unreported nursing home abuse allegations.

    You Loved One May Still Pursue a Nursing Home Abuse Case

    Nursing home staff members who do not report credible allegations of abuse or neglect have done the wrong thing. However, this mistake should not interfere with your loved one’s right to make a fair recovery in a nursing home abuse case.

    Regardless of whether the alleged abuse was reported to the police or the state, your loved one may have a successful nursing home neglect case if the following can be proven:

    • The nursing home owed your loved one a duty of care. If your loved one was a resident in the nursing home, then the nursing home owed her a duty of care.
    • The nursing home breached the duty of care. The duty of care is breached when the nursing home or a nursing home staff member fails to act like a reasonable nursing home or nursing home staff member would act in similar circumstances.
    • The breach in the duty of care caused your loved one’s injuries. In other words, the injury would not have happened but for the action or inaction which breached the duty of care.
    • The person filing the case has the right to legal damages. This may be your loved one if she is able to pursue a claim or her legal representative if she is not able to pursue a legal case.

    Your loved one may also have a case if you can prove the specific elements of an assault or another type of intentional tort.

    To find out more about your loved one’s rights and about pursuing a legal case for nursing home abuse or negligence, please contact our experienced attorneys today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • How long do I have to file a nursing home abuse or negligence lawsuit in Illinois?

    Time is limited to obtain a just recovery for nursing home neglect or abuse

    Illinois law, like the law in other states, limits the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit. The law that governs how much time you have to file a case is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations exists for a few reasons. For example, it provides certainty to potential defendants by creating a date beyond which they are no longer legally liable for damages. While this may seem unfair to a nursing home victim, the law also protects the victim by requiring the victim to file a lawsuit quickly before evidence that would support the claim disappears.

    If you fail to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, then you can expect that the defense will motion the court to dismiss your complaint and that the court will promptly grant that request. You will be left without any recovery of damages and the nursing home will not be held accountable. Accordingly, it is important to know your rights and to take prompt action to protect those rights as soon as possible.

    In Most Cases You Have Two Years to File a Nursing Home Injury Case in Illinois

    The two-year statute of limitations begins when you knew, or reasonably should have known, that you were hurt.

    There are some exceptions to this general statute of limitations, however. Your time may be shorter if you were hurt in a government-run facility, for example.

    There Are Good Reasons Not to Wait the Full Two Years

    While you may technically have two years to file many nursing home abuse cases in Illinois, you may want to take action sooner. By taking prompt action you may:

    • Have an easier time finding a lawyer to represent you. It can be difficult to find an attorney when the statute of limitations is about to expire.
    • Make sure that evidence in the case is preserved. It may be easier to find witnesses and other evidence sooner rather than later.
    • Speed up your possible recovery. The sooner you pursue damages, the sooner you may recover damages.

    Of course, the first step on the road to recovery is not simply to file a complaint in court. Instead, it is to find out more about your rights and about how nursing home abuse cases work in Illinois. Please contact us directly, via this website or by phone, to schedule a free and confidential meeting to learn more.

  • Who can file a lawsuit for nursing home abuse or negligence in Illinois?

    A court recovery for nursing home abuse is available to some people only

    You may be outraged by what happened in a nursing home, and you may want to see justice done. Yet simply knowing about nursing home negligence or abuse does not give you the legal right to bring a lawsuit. Instead, you have to have a certain stake or interest in what happened that allows you to pursue a legal case in an Illinois court. This is known as standing to sue.

    Three Ways to Have Standing to Sue in an Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Case

    Generally, you must be one of the following three people in order to have standing to sue for the harm done by abuse or negligence in a nursing home. You must be:

    • The nursing home resident who suffered an injury due to a violation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. The Nursing Home Care Act allows a resident who has been abused, who has been neglected, or whose rights have been violated to pursue a claim.
    • The legal guardian of a nursing home resident who is mentally disabled, incompetent, or otherwise unable to file a claim herself. As the legal guardian, you have the right to act on behalf of the resident and to sue for damages pursuant to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act if the resident whom you represent was injured by abuse or negligence.
    • The personal representative of the estate of a resident who suffered an injury prior to passing away. The estate has the right to sue for harm done prior to death. This is not a wrongful death action, but rather a claim that may be brought pursuant to the Illinois Survival Act.

    If you file a lawsuit and you do not have standing to sue, then you can expect that the nursing home will quickly motion the court to dismiss your case and that the court will grant that motion.

    Accordingly, it is important to make sure that you have the right to pursue a lawsuit before you file one. To find out if you can file a lawsuit and more about how a nursing home lawsuit works, please contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer who is committed to standing up for the rights of nursing home residents. Our attorneys would be pleased to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation. Please start a live chat with us now or call us directly at 1-800-800-5678 at any time.

  • My mom fell down in an Illinois nursing home and she got hurt. How do I know if I should pursue a nursing home negligence case?

    When your mother falls and gets hurt in the Illinois nursing home that is supposed to be caring for her, it is natural that you have questions. You, and you family, may be wondering whether she fell due to nursing home negligence or whether it was just an accident.

    The Answer to That Question Is Important

    But it may be hard to find out the truth on your own. The nursing home may not want to provide you with details about her fall. The staff may be afraid of potential liability. However, it is important for you to know the truth so that you can decide whether to bring a nursing home negligence or abuse case.

    An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help you get the answers that you need so that you can decide what to do next. For example, an attorney can help you find out if:

    • The fall was due to staff negligence or negligent policies and procedures. If nursing home staff failed to exercise reasonable care or if the nursing home failed to have reasonable policies and procedures in place and those failures resulted in your mom’s fall, then your mom may have a case.
    • The fall was due to abuse. Physical abuse can result in a dangerous fall. Additionally, psychological abuse may have prevented your mom from calling for help, and may have contributed to her fall.

    If believe that reasonable care could have prevented your mom’s fall injury, then it is important to take action quickly. Please call us at 800-800-5678 to learn more today.

  • Does my loved one have a nursing home abuse or neglect case if she developed a bedsore in an Illinois nursing home?

    Maybe. Often, bedsores on nursing home patients do develop because of nursing home negligence. According to the Mayo Clinic, bedsores develop when pressure is put on an area of skin for too long. People who are unable to move themselves—such as those confined to wheelchairs or beds—may be more likely to develop bedsores, particularly when nursing home staff do not change their positions often enough.

    Negligence Is Something Your Loved One Must Prove

    Having a bedsore will not in and of itself result in a recovery. Instead, your loved one will need to prove that the bedsore occurred because of the negligence of nursing home staff by establishing that:

    • Nursing home staff owed her a duty of care. Nursing home staff owed your loved one a duty of care because your loved one was a resident of the nursing home.
    • Nursing home staff breached that duty of care by failing to act like reasonable staff would in similar circumstances. She will need to prove that the nursing home staff failed to provide adequate care when compared to the care that a reasonable nursing home would provide.
    • She suffered physical harm as a result of the breach of the duty of care. In other words, the bedsore was caused by the staff’s neglect and she would not have suffered the bedsore but for the neglectful actions of the staff.
    • She is legally entitled to damages. If she was injured due to negligence, then she likely has the standing to sue and recover damages.

    While it is your loved one’s responsibility to prove that negligence caused her bedsore injury and that she is eligible to recover damages, she need not prove this on her own. She has the right to consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer to learn more about her rights and to get help protecting them.