Patients suffering from dementia and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease are often taken advantage of and neglected because the abusers believe that they can attribute any claims of abuse to the victim’s condition. The Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believe that any form of neglect or abuse toward our elderly should be subject to swift and strict justice. When we trust others with the care of the people who we love, it always comes with the reasonable expectation that the people caring for them will provide attentive and quality care.
Dementia Patients at Elevated Risk of Abuse
Patients who are suffering from dementia are less aware of what is happening to them and may be more susceptible to suggestion. This makes them ideal victims for those who would swindle them out of their money or put them through regular emotional or physical abuse, only to accuse them of making up lies when they attempt to report the abuse. Some of the forms our Illinois nursing home injury lawyers have seen include the following.
- Nursing home neglect— whether due to understaffing or poor training, some dementia patients are neglected by their caregivers. When patients suffering from neurological disorders are neglected, they could wander off, harm themselves or become depressed.
- Physical abuse— there is no excuse for physically abusing an elderly patient. Some dementia patients have outbursts or mood swings and caregivers may respond by restraining or threatening the patient. Physical abuse can include excessive restraint and other forms of violence against the victim.
- Sexual abuse— dementia patients are at greater risk of being victims of sexual abuse and the perpetrators could be patients at the same facility, staff members or visitors. It is important that these patients are properly supervised in order to ensure their safety.
- Verbal and emotional abuse— in many cases of neglect or abuse, the abuser will threaten or verbally abuse the victim in order to keep him or her silent and compliant. This can lead to further mood swings, depression, aggressiveness, social withdrawal, outbursts and changes in sleeping habits.
- Financial abuse— dementia patients are at a much greater risk of suffering financial abuse than any other type of nursing patient. The abuser will take advantage of their confusion and obtain information needed to steal from the victim.
Nursing Home Dementia Claims and Awards
$500,000 Illinois Settlement; Nursing Home Dementia Accident
This Illinois nursing home case was brought after an elderly woman fell down and injured herself. She was in her middle eighties and suffered from dementia prior to these events. On day during lunch, nursing home staff left her by herself. She decided to get up and walk around without any assistance. Things did not go smoothly. She fell down and hurt her head. She got a cut across her scalp from a piece of metal. When doctors took a look at her, they discovered that she had a brain hemorrhage. Eventually, she would pass away from the injuries she suffered in this accident. The event incurred about $60,000 of medical bills. She was survived by children. They had to pony up the money for this as well as her funeral and burial expenses. They were also left with the pain of her passing. To account for these losses, they sued the nursing home. They sought compensation for the economic, emotional, and other losses this death caused them as well as their elderly mother. To avoid a long and expensive trial, the defendant settled the matter for a reported $500,000.
$625,000 Illinois Settlement; Nursing Home Dementia Fall Accident
The victim in this accident was an elderly, 84-year-old woman. She had dementia and lived in an Illinois nursing home. Apparently, the facility staff did not implement a bed alarm or other warning feature so that she could easily call for help. Consequently, when she needed to use the washroom one night, she got up and tried to help herself after calling for help. The staff thought that she would have called them with their lighting system, but she did not. She fell down and broke her trochanter, near the thigh bones. Later, her representatives claimed that the injuries from this event caused or contributed to her subsequent passing. They sought damages for negligence and wrongful death. The defendant replied that she did not use the systems as they designed. However, this was hard to maintain because she had dementia. When pressed on this point, the defendant demurred. Then, it agreed to settle. The plaintiffs obtained a reported $625,000.
$700,000 Chicago Settlement; Nursing Home Dementia Neglect Case
In this case, the nursing home resident fell on a number of occasions. She was ninety years old and lived at a long-term care facility in Illinois because she suffered from dementia and other health problems. Representatives of the woman claimed that she fell eight or nine times over a period of four years. They attributed these accidents to a lack of supervision and resources from the nursing home as well as her obvious mental handicap. Whatever the case, on her last fall, she broke her femur. This required her to go in for surgery and then rehabilitation. However, she died roughly three months later. When lawyers for the estate eventually brought a lawsuit for this case, they had a number of claims against the facility. They alleged that due to its negligent care she lived a worse quality of life, racked up more medical bills, and died sooner than she otherwise would have. They charged the defendant nursing home with responsibility for these harms and sought compensation. In the end, the facility paid the plaintiffs a reported amount of $700,000 in a private settlement.
$972,000 Illinois Verdict; Nursing Home Dementia Neglect Accident
This Illinois nursing home neglect dispute was different because the resident was fine for so long. By all accounts, she lived accident-free in the same facility for over ten years despite suffering from such conditions as dementia, depression, and others. However, one day in her early nineties she fell down while unsupervised. Due to the neglect, staff did not notice her until the early hours of the morning. Her blood was all around her and they sent her to the hospital at once. Doctors quickly got to work and found bruising, broken vertebra, and a hematoma. Due to her age, they recommended not performing surgery. Instead, they prescribed long-term palliative measures and rehabilitation. However, it was all immaterial because she died less than a day later. Her family brought a suit on her behalf. The nursing home vigorously defended itself in court. They argued that this fall came out of nowhere and that they did everything by the book. Yet, it was the jury that threw the book back at them. They awarded the plaintiffs just shy of one million dollars for lost normal life, lost society, grief, suffering, disfigurement, pain, emotional trauma, and wrongful death.
What You can do
It is completely reasonable and within your rights to investigate any incident that you believe could be the result of neglect or abuse when you feel that your loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence or abusive behavior. Following are some of the signs to watch out for which may signal the need to investigate.
- Your loved one shows physical signs of abuse such as bruises or marks on his or her wrists, ankles, arms or genitals.
- Your loved one suffers from sudden mood swings which are not typical of previous behavior.
- Your loved one accuses a staff member or resident of physical, verbal or sexual abuse.
- Your loved one becomes silent suddenly whenever in the presence of a caregiver.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC would be happy to help you determine whether your loved one has become the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Our award winning firm has successfully represented thousands of clients who were the victims of negligent or abusive behavior and we can ensure that the facility and caregivers tasked with providing your loved one’s care are held responsible for their actions.
Contact us today to arrange a consultation with one of our highly qualified Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys. We will help you identify the signs of abuse, launch a thorough investigation into the matter and review all of your legal options. If we believe that your loved one is the victim of abuse, we will assist you in removing him or her from the harmful environment and aggressively pursue the damages you are entitled to from the negligent facility. If we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.