Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes: Chicago, Illinois
If your loved one was sexually violated by another patient, staff member or visitor, our nursing home abuse lawyers are committed to holding them fully accountable under Illinois civil law. We can help recover compensation for your loved ones harm.
Contact law our office now for a free consultation and confidential discussion of your legal rights if your family member was a victim of sexual assault in a nursing home.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys have a track record of success when it comes to prosecuting abuse and neglect and look forward to serving you and your loved one.
Sexual Assault of a Loved One: The Most Disturbing Form of Nursing Home Abuse in ChicagoUnfortuneately, because it is understudied, sexual abuse among the elderly is rarely understood, or reported.
Many victims in abuse cases suffer extensive medical conditions including confusion, memory loss and problems with communicating. Maltreatment, neglect and abuse often go unreported, or challenging to seek justice for the harm it inflicts.
The U.S. House Government Reform Committee, Special Investigations Division ,found nearly 9,000 cases of elder abuse over a two-year period.
Many of these incidents involve sexual abuse on elderly people 60 and older. Elderly women are nearly 6 times as likely to be a victim of elder sex abuse as men.
Definition of Sexual Abuse in a Nursing Home SettingLegally, sexual abuse among the elderly is defined as any inappropriate, undesired sexual content against individuals 60 years and older.
Oftentimes, this type of abuse causes harm when the elderly individual is coerced, manipulated or tricked into unwanted sexual contact.
Examples of Sexual Abuse of Nursing Home ResidentsAny act where a nursing home patient is forced into a sexual act or pressured to expose their genitals can be considered to be sexual abuse.
While this type of home abuse and neglect case can take many forms, examples of sexual abuse include:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Fondling of genitals and breast
- Removing a resident's clothing
- Masturbation in front of nursing home residents
Sexual Perpetrators Living & Working in Chicago Skilled Nursing FacilitiesResearch on sexual abuse of the elderly is extremely limited. In addition, research becomes even more complicated because many of the victims of assault are incapable of communicating the maltreatment.
Many of the cases involving assault of an elder occur while in the care of others.
Sexual offenders often include live-in nurses, nursing home employees , family members, friends, or other health providers entrusted to take care of the elderly patient while alone.
In some incidents, a nursing home staff member commits a sexual crime with a nursing home patient.
Disturbingly, some episodes involve nursing home residents perpetuating the assault, especially when victims are too weak or unable to resist or communicate disapproval or non-consent.
Warning Signs of Elder Abuse in Long-Term Care FacilitiesThe Journal of Abuse published a study indicating that the largest percentage of sexual abuse against elderly people in the United States (70.7 percent of cases) happened in skilled nursing facilities.
In addition, just over 12 percent of the victims of sex assault were assaulted in their own home, and nearly 15 percent of victims were assaulted in the home of the sexual offender according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.
There are specific signs / indicators when sex abuse of an elderly individual occurs. Often, victims of will exhibit the following signs of nursing home abuse:
- Irritation, bleeding or pain of the genital or anal area requiring medical care
- Newly emerging STDs (sexual transmitted diseases)
- Pelvic injury
- New difficulties when walking or sitting
- Bruises around the genital area or the inner thigh
- Stained, torn or bloody undergarments
- Unexpected withdrawal from communicating and/or involvement in social interaction
- Extreme agitation
- Panic attack
- Emerging signs of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms
- Unusual, aggressive or inappropriate sexual behavior
- Unusual or inappropriate behavior including the appearance of a sex-role relationship between the suspect and the victim
- Attempted suicide
Many of the victims of sex assault in a Chicago nursing facility go on a downward spiral where they suffer significant declines in their physical and social functioning.
Legal Responsibility Of Illinois Nursing Home Facilities To Protect Your Loved OneSexual assault in a long-term care facility can be the result of the facility not conducting proper background investigations of every potential employee.
When the nursing facility fails to provide proper screening on any nursing home staff members with a history of sexual misconduct, they can be held liable for the abuse and negligence.
The family of the individual my take legal action by initiating a lawsuit against the responsible party under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act to recover financial compensation.
In addition, the management can be held liable for the sexual abuse because of improper employee supervision. This is often the result of poor training or understaffing.
Additionally, it is the duty of the nursing facility management to properly train and supervise all employees on the best methods of spotting sexual abuse.
When this fails, the entire staff, management and facility itself can be held responsible in a nursing home neglect lawsuit.
In addition to having civil recourse against an abusive event, families may also contact the Illinois Department of Public Health so an investigation into the incident can be done.
While the findings from the investigation are not admissible in court, the investigative file can be helpful in prosecuting a claim.
Sexual Abuse FAQ's Related to Nursing Home Neglect
Is sexual assault considered to be a form of elder abuse and neglect?
What should you do if you suspect you loved one is a victim of sexual abuse in a nursing home?
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect in a skilled nursing or assisted living facility, you should immediately report the incident to law enforcement so the matter can be investigated and evidence can be gathered.
In the case of sexual abuse lawsuit, the evidence from a criminal investigation may be relevant to a civil claim against the facility at issue.
While the evidence, from a criminal proceeding may not be admissible in a civil claim, your nursing home abuse attorney can use materials from the criminal investigation to assist with the prosecution of a civil law sexual abuse claim.
How long do I have to file a sex assault lawsuit against a nursing home?
Like other types of Chicago nursing home abuse cases, sexual abuse claims must be filed within two years from the date of the incident.
However, there can be circumstances that can extend the statute of limitations for bringing a sexual abuse lawsuit against a facility, so it is best to consult with experienced nursing home abuse lawyers to determine how the law applies to your loved ones situation.
What type of damages can my loved one recover in a sex abuse lawsuit?
Generally, most sex abuse claims involving nursing home residents are comprised of non-economic damages which consist primarily of intangible damages including: pain and suffering, psychological trauma, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation.
Does it matter if the perpetrator is no longer working at the facility?
You can bring a sexual abuse lawsuit against a nursing home irrespective of whether the perpetrator is currently employed by the facility at the time you file a lawsuit.
Under a legal theory of respondent superior, most nursing homes can be prosecuting civilly for the acts of their current or former employees.
What if my loved one can't speak or testify about the abuse?
Many victims of nursing home abuse and neglect are physically and mentally disabled. In some cases, the victims may be unable to verbalize what occurred to them.
Our experienced Chicago nursing home negligence attorneys recognize the severity of these cases and work with experts to convey the full impact of the case on the individual. Utilizing the testimony of these expert witnesses, we can present evidence of the abuse and the impact that it had on the individual in court.
Sample Nursing Home Sexual Assault & Physical Abuse Lawsuits & Settlements Involving Illinois Facilities
Below are some Illinois home abuse cases involving sexual abuse of nursing home patients.
We caution you to not read into these cases too much as each situation is unique.
Nonetheless, if your loved one has suffered or is the victim of abuse, contact our law firm for a free consultation.
The events of this dispute arose in Chicago, Illinois. The victim-turned-plaintiff was in her middle seventies during the relevant events. She lived in a local nursing home in the Chicago area. Her age and various infirmities required her to enter a long-term care facility.
While she was living there, she alleged that one of her caretakers sexually abused and assaulted her. From these events, she suggested various forms of trauma and elder abuse resulted.
To treat these injuries, she would need medical and psychological care for many years her doctors alleged. To make up for this, she sued the nursing home under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
Her complaint stated that it failed to properly hire, train, and supervise its employees to prevent this from happening.
Further, it appeared that the nursing home did not even conduct a routine background check on the man. Had they done that, this whole matter could have been avoided.
The home abuse and neglect lawsuit sought compensation for these developments. The defendant nursing home did file a reply denying many of the points in the plaintiff’s cause of action. However, it did not test them in court.
They settled for a reported $1 million.
$504,152 Settlement, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse
This incident had all of the telltale signs of sex abuse at an Illinois nursing home. The victim was an elderly female resident with Alzheimer's.
She was ninety-three when the abuse occurred. The perpetrator was in his early twenties. The evidence of his repeated abuse was obvious: regular bruising; victim complaints; excessive time together; etc.
Eventually, the man even raped the woman. Nursing home staff did not report the incident for over ten hours.
After everything was discovered and sorted out, the woman sustained tremendous physical, emotional, and psychological injuries. She sued the nursing home to recover for these.
Through her Chicago nursing home abuse attorney she alleged that it failed completely in its duty to protect her well being and provide a safe environment.
Also, she said that it did not even attempt to monitor or supervise the nursing home staff member that repeatedly abused her. These errors and many others directly led to and caused her problems, the lawsuit argued.
The defendant nursing home could not substantially explain these failures. Instead, it sought to short-circuit the litigation. It offered to settle and end the matter. The plaintiff agreed and obtained a sum of $504,152.
$975,000 Settlement, Chicago-area Facility
This nursing home abuse case was controversial because the alleged assailant was never discovered. Here is what we do know: a one-hundred-year-old nursing home resident claimed she was raped while living at the facility.
The nursing home complied entirely with the investigation. However, none of its male nurses or other male staff members tested positively as the abuser.
After an extensive and time-consuming process, the true culprit was never identified. Nevertheless, the plaintiff still proceeded with her claim.
She thought the nursing home was derelict in its duty to provide a safe living environment. As a result, she maintained that she was injured and damaged physically, mentally, and financially.
She sought compensation from the defendant nursing facility for these losses. Despite being confident in its innocence, the nursing home agreed to settle with the elderly resident for a reported $975,000. This sum is interesting because of the lack of evidence.
$680,000 Verdict for Elderly Nursing Resident
This case was unfortunate because it was avoidable. The assailant had a significant criminal background with previous incidents of abuse at other nursing homes.
However, the nursing home where the victim (age ninety-three) stayed did not even do a cursory background check.
This allowed the caregiver to slip through the cracks and assault and abuse the woman here. She sustained physical injuries, emotional damage, and mental trauma as well as other losses.
After a trial on the merits, a jury awarded the plaintiff $680,000 for her damages including pain, suffering, and bills.
Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers With Experience Prosecuting Sexual Assault CasesRosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC helps victims of Chicago nursing home sex abuse obtain financial compensation for their injuries and suffering involved in such a horrifying event.
While compensation does not undo the mistreatment, it can help victims seek justice and recovery for the psychological, mental and rehabilitation expenses incurred.
Call our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation on how to stop the abuse, and hold those responsible parties accountable for their inappropriate actions.
No one deserves to be a victim of nursing home abuse. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney today.