Experienced Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
The Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are committed to protecting the legal rights of elderly residents who have been abused, neglected, injured or abused during an admission to a skilled nursing facility in the Chicago area. We are committed to holding negligent facilities accountable to the fullest extent of the law in Illinois. We are proud or our successful track record of success on behalf of
If you are looking for an experienced Chicago personal injury law firm to investigate and prosecute an accident or injury case involving a loved one at an Illinois nursing facility, contact our law office today for a free consultation of your legal options for pursuing a Chicago nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Our law firm is currently reviewing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases involving patient death in Chicago nursing homes and facilities throughout Illinois. For more information, look here.
Our Nursing Home Lawyers See Abusive Conditions in Long-Term Care Facilities in Chicago, Illinois
Unfortunately, abuse and neglect are not terms created by Chicago law firms to grab headlines. Abuse of seniors living in nursing facilities is real. Most disturbingly, it is an unfortunate fact of life for many of the 100,000+ senior citizens and home residents in Illinois who are reliant on the care of skilled nursing facilities for their basic living and medical needs.
There are 723 licensed nursing facilities in Illinois. A disappointing 41.5% of them are deemed to be below average according to Medicare data. The statewide numbers are similar in the Chicagoland area with 77 of the areas 186 skilled nursing facilities rated as below average. Our elder abuse attorneys have reviewed all inspection data from Medicare and the Illinois Department of Public Health and compiled information on each facility. View our facility look-up here.
Injuries & Medical Complications Arising in Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has experience prosecuting a diverse portfolio of circumstances involving patient injury and untimely death in a skilled nursing facility in the Chicago area and throughout the State of Illinois. Among the cases we’ve successfully prosecuted include some of the following scenarios which may be categorized as cases of elder abuse or nursing home neglect.
- Bed Sores: Bedsores, also referred to as pressure sores, pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers result from patients being left in one position for extended periods of time. Advanced stage bed sores can result in pain, infection (sepsis / osteomyelitis) or and even death and are an indication of nursing home abuse. Federal Regulations impose responsibilities on facilities to prevent unavoidable bed sores. Our nursing home neglect lawyers have an extensive track record of obtaining favorable settlements for families with a loved one who developed bed sore at nursing homes throughout Illinois.
- Falls: 10-20% of elder patients are injured in falls requiring medical attention. Many falls result in broken bones, subdural hematoma or even death. Nursing facilities have a duty to balance each patient's right to be free with the patient’s fall risk and implement safeguards to prevent falls. When facilities fail to provide proper care and a patient is injured, the facility may be liable.
- Fractures: A fractured bone in an elderly person is not only painful but has a significant impact on their quality of life. Significant fractures to major bones such as legs and hips may require surgery with extensive medical care.
- Choking: Many elderly patients have difficulty swallowing known as dysphagia. Facilities have a responsibility to assess patients for swallowing. When caregivers fail to do so, patients can choke on food. Another swallowing complication is aspiration pneumonia when food or liquids enter the lungs.
- Dehydration: A leading cause of elder neglect is patients do not receive the fluids needed to maintain their physical well-being. It is the responsibility of staff to monitor fluid intake and output of residents to avoid dehydration which can lead to a dangerous situation and even organ failure.
- Malnutrition: When nursing staff neglect the basic needs of patients, the lack of nutrients can result in weight loss which can ultimately lead to a variety of medical complications and a decline in the quality of life. In order to avoid malnutrition, facilities must conduct regular assessments of patients including weigh-ins.
- Dropped Patients: When a patient is dropped by a staff member during a transfer or from a Hoyer lift, the facility is likely responsible for not following transfer protocol. Dropped patients may suffer from a fractured bone, traumatic brain injury or even death.
- Elopement: Also referred to as wandering, elopement cases involving a patient leaving the safety of the facility without the knowledge of the staff. Most elopement cases involve dementia or Alzheimer’s patients. When a patient is injured as a result of an elopement, the long-term care facility can be held accountable in court.
- Sexual Assault: Disturbingly little information is known about sexual abuse in long-term care facilities for older adults as most cases go unreported. What we do know is that these cases frequently involve disabled patients who are unable to verbally communicate the extent of their injuries. Signs of sexual abuse may include visual distress, withdrawal, sexually transmitted disease, bloody to torn underwear or clothing.
- Medication Errors: Staff are responsible for distributing many different medications to different patients. This is frequently done via a cart that runs up and down the halls. When patients receive the wrong dose or wrong medication and sustain an injury, the facility is responsible.
- Infections: Unsanitary conditions or advanced stage pressure sores, can contribute to systemic infections or sepsis. These are signs of neglect and can be life-threatening when left untreated or medical attention is delayed.
- Unexpected Death: When a loved one suddenly dies during an admission to a nursing home facility there may be cause for concern. This may lead to questions and an investigation into the circumstances by the family or regulatory agencies. If the death is causally related to neglect on the part of a facility, the family may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim.
Other types of nursing home abuse involve physical abuse by staff or other residents where a resident has a physical injury. Unfortunately, there are countless other situations involving emotional abuse or verbal abuse that are rarely reported to authorities.
Skilled Nursing Corporations Putting Profitability Over Your Loved One's Care
There are currently 1.4 million people living in approximately 15,600 nursing home facilities across the United States (according to Medicaid services). As the population ages, this number is expected to grow substantially in the coming decades. Recognizing this, many corporations are entering the industry to profit from an emerging area of senior care.
With nearly 70% of all senior care facilities operated as a for-profit business, much of the individualized care once present with elderly care is gone. In many instances, operators’ trim staff to bare-bone levels to maximize profitability.
When staffing levels are reduced patients suffer as there are simply not enough R.N.’s, L.P.N’s and C.N.A.’s to sufficiently tend to immediate and developing patient needs. In a study commissioned by the American Association for Justice, 90% of skilled nursing facilities were understaffed. Consequently, the medical needs of patients may go unsatisfied resulting in patient injury or death.
Some of the Corporately Owned Nursing Chains in Illinois Our Elder Abuse Lawyers Handle Include:
- Alden Health Care Facilities
- Aperion Care Centers
- Brookdale Senior Living
- Helia Healthcare Services
- Heritage Healthcare Services
- Kindred Healthcare
- Manor Care
- Rosewood Care Centers
- Sava Senior Care
- Sunrise Living Center
- Symphony Nursing Homes
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Law FAQs
Unfortunately, abuse and neglect are not terms created by Chicago law firms to grab headlines. Elder abuse is real. Most disturbingly, it is an unfortunate fact of life for many of the 100,000+ patients and residents in Illinois who are reliant on the care of skilled nursing facilities for their basic living and medical needs.
There are 723 licensed nursing facilities in Illinois. A disappointing 41.5% of them are deemed to be below average according to Medicare data. The statewide numbers are similar in the Chicagoland area with 77 of the areas 186 skilled nursing facilities rated as below average. Our attorneys have reviewed all inspection data from Medicare and the Illinois Department of Public Health and compiled information on each facility.
View our facility look-up here.
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect?
Red flags of abuse and neglect include: the development of pressure sores, particularly on the buttock and heels; sudden behavioral changes or moody, angry, withdrawn, or upset behavior; clothing that is dirty or bloody; joints that are stiff or stuck in one position; bruising, cuts, fractures or burns; sexually transmitted diseases; sudden weight loss; of the appearance of being overly medicated or fatigued.
Pay attention to how staff acts around you and your family member or elderly relative when you visit. Do they refuse you on some visits or seem annoyed by your presence? Does your loved one act differently when they’re present? These may be warning signs that your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect and abuse.
What Should I Do if I Suspect Mistreatment (and how to Report Poor Care)?
When you learn that a loved one has been injured or a victim of abuse at skilled nursing facility in Chicago, Illinois there are accompanying feelings of anger, frustration and possibly guilt. You likely have questions about the circumstances involved and are looking for answers about how it occurred. Reporting a situation to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) can initiate the process of getting the answers you need.
When a report of poor care is reported to IDPH, it will trigger an investigation where state nursing inspectors or ‘surveyors’ are deployed to the facility where an incident took place. State surveyors have the capacity to review a patient’s medical chart and interview staff members who have information about a specific incident episode of neglect.
After the survey is complete, a written report will be issued and a determination of a violation of inpatient care will be determined as being substantiated or not. While the findings of a specific violation are generally not considered to be admissible in court from an evidence perspective, the content of the report can be particularly useful when proceeding with neglect lawsuits.
To initiate a complaint against a nursing facility in Illinois on behalf of a nursing home resident, you should contact the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) via mail, telephone or fax (links to complaint forms below as well).
Central Complaint Registry Hotline - 800-252-4343
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
TTY for the Hearing Impaired Only- 800-547-0466
Mail form to:
Illinois Department of Public Health
Office of Health Care Regulation
Central Complaint Registry
525 W. Jefferson St., Ground Floor
Springfield, IL 62761-0001
Healthcare Facilities Complaint Form
Fax form to: 217-524-8885
When contacting the IDPH you should provide them with the following in order for them to conduct a thorough investigation:
- Name of the resident
- What happened to the resident
- When the incident(s) occurred
- Name and location of the facility involved
Reports to the IDPH can be made anonymously, but if you would like a copy of the report and findings, you should give the agency your name and contact information.
If there is an acute situation that requires immediate attention, you should contact the local police department.
What Laws Protect Illinois Residents Living in a Nursing Facility?
Both the Federal Nursing Home Care Reform Act of 1987 and the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act protect elderly people living in Illinois facilities. These statutes set forth standards to ensure that residents receive the “highest practicable” mental, physical, and psychosocial wellbeing. This regulatory framework enforces quality care, establishes a resident Bill of Rights, and makes provisions for certain services for residents. To receive Medicaid or Medicare payments, each facility must comply with the requirements of the Nursing Home Care Reform Act. (See ILCS 210 ILCS 45/Nursing Home Care Act and Nursing Home Care Act 42 U.S. Code Section 1395i-3)
How Long Do I Have to File an Illinois Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit?
In Illinois, you have two years to file a lawsuit against a negligent facility. Illinois law states that “[a]ctions for damages for an injury to the person… shall be commenced within 2 years... after the cause of action accrued.” This applied to causes of action brought under the Illinois Nursing Care Act as well as the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (See 735 ILCS 5/13-202 and 740 ILCS 180/0.001) For more information on the applicable statute of limitations, contact our Chicago attorneys.
How do I Prove a Chicago Nursing Home Injury Case?
In a legal action, you must show that the defendant: 1) owed you a duty; 2) the defendant breached that duty; 3) you suffered injuries, and 4) the defendant's breach caused those injuries.
Medical malpractice actions are similar to nursing neglect actions. In these suits, you must show that: 1) a patient-provider relationship existed between yourself and the defendant; 2) the defendant owed you a certain standard of care; 3) the defendant failed to provide you with that standard of care; 4) you suffered injuries; and 5) your injuries were because of the defendant's failures.
Finally, in Illinois wrongful death actions, you must prove that: 1) your spouse or loved one died; 2) the defendant caused the death, and 3) the death caused you damages.
How Much are Illinois Nursing Home Cases Worth?
Each elder abuse and injury case is very different, and the financial compensation will be dependent on the unique circumstances of your case. Some things that can be used to determine the financial value of the case in both negligence and neglect cases are medical expenses; pain and suffering of the patient and family; disfigurement; loss of income; loss of normal life; and survival damages, in the case of wrongful death. In some circumstances, a judge may grant a request for punitive damages when the conduct of the defendant facility is extremely reckless.
The total amount awarded will depend on the extent of the injury and can also be affected by some state laws that limit the amount of compensation. Other relevant factors include the age of the individual; the conduct of the facility; the facility’s history of care; whether the long-term care facility is insured; and whether the family was regularly involved in the care of the loved one. In order to get a more accurate valuation of your case, you should consult with our Chicago law firm.
Here are Samples of Successful Settlements & Jury Verdicts From Across Illinois:
$972,000 Jury Award. The events of this suit arose in Anna, Illinois. A woman in her 80s with a history of health issues entered a nursing home. Her conditions included dementia and hypertension and doctors considered her at risk for falls. They warned the home’s management company about this too. The next few years of her life passed without a problem. Yet, when she was 92, she fell down on the floor of her room. The home staff didn’t see this happen. They found her on the floor in a pool of her own blood in the early hours of the morning. They rushed her to the ER. Doctors diagnosed her with a fractured spine and hematoma, and she had many bruises and scars. Just hours after these events, she slipped into a coma. She passed away about a week after this. Her five adult children brought an action against the home under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, alleging negligence and neglect. A jury awarded the family $972,000.
$725,000 Settlement. An 83-year-old woman entered a facility in Illinois with a bedsore. She was also at risk for falls. The sore progressed to stage 4 while in the long-term care facility and became infected, leading to sepsis. During her stay, she also fell from her bed, breaking her femur. Her medical treatment related to the bedsore and fall reached more than $150,000. Her family felt that the injuries and resulting complications led to her death. The rehabilitation center settled for $725,000 to cover her medical bills, pain, and suffering, the most common damage categories claimed in wrongful death and negligence cases.
For Information on the Negligence Cases, Our Law Firm Has Handled Look Here.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC appreciates the feelings of anger and guilt after a family member has suffered an injury from abuse after admission to an Illinois facility.
We encourage you to contact our office for a free consultation of your legal rights and options for pursuing a neglect claim or lawsuit against a facility. Our Chicago negligence lawyers are available 24-7 and we can schedule a meeting at your home or our office. We handle cases across Illinois and are happy to travel to a location that is accessible for you.
Attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld is deeply committed to protecting the legal rights of elderly people in long-term care facilities. Mr. Rosenfeld is a member of the American Association for Justice's (AAJ) Nursing Home Litigation Group. The group is comprised of attorneys from across the country who represent victims of elder abuse in lawsuits against negligent skilled nursing facilities.