Peoria Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
The Illinois elder home neglect attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers strive to help our clients by taking on long-term care facilities that fail to treat our elders respectfully. Moreover, our firm ensures that the care our elderly deserve is given, and helps families move their loved ones into facilities that will best suit their needs.
If your loved one is the victim of neglect or home abuse, we will fight on your behalf to hold the negligent facility accountable. Contact a Peoria personal injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.
There are twenty-seven nursing facilities located in the Peoria area. While some provide proper care and treat nursing home residents with respect, others are understaffed, improperly managed, or provide a subpar environment to the ones who we love.
How to Make an Educated Nursing Care Decision
In recent years, an epidemic of elder home abuse and neglect cases has swept across the United States as more facilities are operated by for-profit corporations that do not place the needs of residents first as they should.
It can be nerve-wracking to do your due diligence about each nursing facility you consider for your loved one and always wonder whether you are about to make the right choice. Some homes are better than others, so how can you tell which one will provide the quality of care worthy of your loved one?
Fortunately, there are means by which you can learn whether a facility has complaints or violations lodged against its staff. The most effective tool is the nursing facility compare tool found on medicare.gov, which allows you to review all of the homes in the central Illinois area with ratings and explanations that include violations and complaints against each facility.
For example, the Rosewood Care Center of Peoria has earned a five-star rating, which means your loved one is far more likely to receive quality care than at a one-star rated facility such as Heartland of Peoria.
Signs that Your Loved One is a Victim of Abuse in a Peoria Nursing Facility
Quickly noticing the symptoms of nursing home abuse will ensure that you can remove your loved one from an unhealthy environment before their condition deteriorates even further. Each elder abuse or neglect case may be unique as some home abuse cases involve mistreatment from an individual.
In contrast, others are related to staff levels, training, or policy. Whenever you visit your loved one, make sure you know the common signs that something may be wrong. For example, if your loved one has developed bedsores, or existing sores have worsened.
The unexpected sore might be a sign that the staff is either not paying enough attention to provide adequate care to all residents or unwilling to readjust your loved one's position every several hours to prevent the further development of these sores.
Without proper care and medical attention, home negligence might result in wrongful death. For example, you notice unexplained bruises or marks on your loved one's body. If these marks are on your loved one's wrists or ankles, they may have been restrained, and injuries to the genital areas can indicate sexual abuse.
Your loved one experiences drastic changes in mood or behavior, including bouts of depression and outbursts of anger. The nursing home resident may not tell you about the abuse out of shame. Instead, the behavior change may be a psychological cry for help or indicate that the abuse has taken an emotional toll.
Your loved one becomes quiet suddenly in the presence of a caregiver. This behavior might be a sign that the caregiver is a nursing home abuser, and your loved one is afraid of repercussions should they say something about the abuse in the caregiver's presence.
How Negligent Hiring Practices Hurt Nursing Home Residents
A person's right to be reasonably safe from harm is a fundamental principle of law. When businesses put people at risk by hiring negligent individuals, the consequences to the business and its clients can be severe.
In particular, caregiving facilities and nursing home operators failing to follow proper procedures for hiring caregivers may face significant liability in the event of an injury.
First, it must be understood that there are two ways in which a company can be held liable for negligence on the part of its employees: vicarious liability and negligent hiring. Vicarious liability generally requires three things:
- The employer/defendant had some measure of control over the employee/defendant
- There was some relationship between them
- The defendant because the plaintiff (injured party) harm that is provable in court
The second requirement listed above is the most important element of this type of case, as it makes clear that an employer can be held liable for its employee's actions. If there were no employment relationship between the two entities, then a tort claim would not lie.
In a negligent hiring lawsuit, however, the plaintiff must establish four elements:
- The employer owed a duty to provide a safe workplace
- There was some known danger in the workplace
- The employer knew or should have known about the danger
- The employer failed to take reasonable steps to protect workers from said danger
Once those four elements have been proven, the defendant likely lost their case and has no other option than to provide financial compensation to make the injured party whole again.
Using Personal Injury Law to Win a Nursing Home Abuse Case
This fundamental basis of personal injury law (tort law) has been used for centuries to provide monetary recovery to the victim. However, in recent years, nursing homes and long-term care providers have begun to face an emerging problem: the negligent hiring of bad caregivers.
Most personal injury lawsuits in America stem from a car accident or other incident involving 2+ parties (defendants). In these cases, tort law can be used to extract payment from one party and allocate fault at a percentage rate assigned by the court.
The law allows injured parties to receive compensation without filing a lawsuit, as it is generally faster and easier than taking the case through trial.
However, negligence laws may not be enough for negligent hiring practices in nursing home facilities. According to one major study conducted by MetLife Mature Market Institute in 2011, up to 64% of adults over the age of 65 will require some long-term care in their lifetime. This data reveals that many elderly citizens may be reliant on under-qualified caregivers to look after them.
The study also indicated an interesting statistic: nursing home patients were more likely to receive negligent or incompetent care from a caregiver who did not have training or education in the field than they were from a professional with degrees and certifications. How can this be?
The answer lies in how these nursing home facilities hire new employees. Part of their hiring process for many long-term care facilities includes a thorough criminal background check, credit history review, past work history, etc.
Unfortunately for residents and their families, these screenings fall short when it comes time to verify an applicant's educational and professional background. It is where negligent hiring can come into play.
Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse Statistics
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the National Institute of health, nursing home negligence and elder abuse are rising. Statistically:
- The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7 years
- 7 out of every 100 people are over the age of 65
- 15% of all seniors are living in nursing homes
The CDC estimates that each year, one in every three seniors experiences some form of elder abuse or neglect, including physical abuse, sexual assault, and financial exploitation, which means that over two million seniors every year are harmed when the abuse occurs unexpectedly.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 90% of patients who suffer from negligent acts in nursing homes will never file a complaint against their caregiver. This decision not to file is partly since many people feel too intimidated or ashamed to come forward about their abuse/neglect.
The average delay from when a senior experiences nursing home abuse to successfully press charges is two years, which means that the actual statistic of seniors being abused in nursing homes could be much higher than reported.
Detecting Nursing Home Negligence
Many family members are unaware that their loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home until the symptoms, side effects, and aftereffects are very apparent. Signs of nursing home neglect and abuse can include:
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Loss of mobility/incapacitation to perform daily activities
Some of the healthcare issues which can be brought on by neglect or mistreatment in a long-term care facility are:
- Skin ulcers (bed sores)
- Kidney disease
- Flu or cold viruses
- Frequent bruising or tears in their clothing (often hidden by their clothing)
- A lack of activities and stimulation
- A generally disheveled appearance, as if their caregiver(s) is/are not providing basic hygiene or grooming services to them
The side effects that may shoot from poor treatment in a nursing home are disfigurement, reduced muscle mass, strength, irritation, inflammation, heart attack, etc.
Only 10% of all seniors who experience any level of nursing home negligence will report their concerns because the elderly are often as weak or too frail to speak up for themselves. In addition, scared nursing home patients might also be fearful of retaliation from their caregiver(s).
In some cases, your loved one's behavior may change from being calm and gentle to aggressive. For example, if you notice that your loved one is experiencing sudden mood swings, becoming easily agitated, frustrated, depressed, paranoid, etc., this could be a sign of neglect.
In addition, the person who is mistreating your loved one may have also been "asleep" on the job or had several unexcused absences from work over a short period, including:
- Arriving late for their shift
- Leaving early
- Taking long breaks, etc.
Medication Mistakes Claim Lives
One little error when prescribing, filling the prescription, transcribing the order, or administering the medication could cost a nursing home resident their life. Hospitals and nursing homes have various systems in place to prevent medication errors, but some simple mistakes still slip through, putting a patient's life at risk.
Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable because so many medications can be toxic even when taken as prescribed. In addition, they have multiple chronic conditions and take an average of 19 medications each.
In addition, their mobility might be limited by illness or injury, which further complicates making sure every dose is taken on schedule.
Common problems leading to medication errors and hospitals and nursing homes include:
- Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
- Filling the wrong prescription at the pharmacy
- Noted the wrong drug when transcribing the order from the doctor to the nursing home resident's care plan
- Administered the wrong medication
- Not recognizing that a drug had been administered, such as when it is on an "as needed" basis
Forgetting to place a nursing home resident's special dietary needs on order would have prevented them from being given something they cannot eat or drink, such as dairy products with certain medications.
Housekeepers might forget to lock the door on their way out for the night, allowing other nursing home residents, employees, family members, and friends access to medication meant only for staff members' use. For example, alcohol wipes are used for the daily care of central-line catheters.
Injured victims or family members can file a nursing home abuse case for two years after the abuse occurred. Then, call our Peoria nursing home abuse lawyers for immediate legal advice during a free case evaluation.
Should you decide to seek justice through legal representation, our law firm will provide all the necessary legal resources you need to file a claim and Peoria County.
How To Stop Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, it is important to act immediately by reporting your concerns. When you report concerns about your loved one's treatment in a nursing facility, the state will send an ombudsman worker or surveyor to investigate the issue further.
Ombudsmen are specially trained investigators who have experience in dealing with reports of nursing home abuse. They can interview both patients and staff members alike to determine what happened in the situation at hand.
In some cases where negligence occurs, criminal charges may also be filed against responsible parties for their actions or lack thereof in providing proper care for your loved one.
When you complain about the treatment of a senior in a nursing home, it is important to keep records of all incidents and conversations between yourself and the other parties involved.
You will need copies of medical reports, incident reports, nurses' notes, photos of bruises or bedsores, etc., as evidence for court if this type of case goes before a judge. In addition, be sure to document any conversations you have with staff members from the facility or supervisors from your state's survey department.
Lastly, if your loved one has been mistreated but discharged from the facility, you can file a claim against the facility for damages. In that case, these could include restitution to cover damages such as medical bills, loss of quality of life, etc., if your loved one was physically or psychologically harmed by neglect and abuse.
A Peoria Nursing Facility Negligence Law Firm Fighting for Better Treatment of the Elderly
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is appalled at the disregard many nursing homes, assisted living facilities and caregivers have for our elderly. It is our mission to invoke change by seeking the maximum penalty against negligent nursing centers.
Our skilled attorneys have successfully recovered compensation on behalf of thousands of senior citizens so that they could afford treatment for their physical injuries and to move into nursing home facilities that provide the type of care they truly deserve.
Do you suspect nursing home abuse? Contact our elder abuse attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
The Family's Legal Rights After Losing a Loved One from Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Was your loved one abused or neglected, leading to their wrongful death? If so, you and the decedent's estate are likely entitled to receive financial compensation for damages.
Wrongful death lawsuits are based on:
- Negligence means the facility was not careful enough with your loved one's care
- Intentional or reckless misconduct (abuse) includes all cases of abuse, such as sexual assault, physical assault, emotional abuse, and verbal abuse
- Strict liability involving medical devices, medicines, and products - Strict liability for products requires that your loved one died due to medical devices or other consumer goods sold by the nursing home which were defective in some way
A Peoria nursing home abuse lawyer can ensure that your family receives maximum compensation to recover all your damages, including:
- Hospitalization costs and medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Loss of familial support
- Pain and suffering of the decedent
- Emotional distress for your family
Our legal team can help you recover more than just money. Your personal injury lawyer will hold the negligent party accountable by litigating on your behalf, working to prove that negligence or misconduct occurred.
You deserve justice, and your lawyer will ensure you receive it.
Hire a Peoria Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Resolve your Compensation Case
Do you suspect that your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect in a central Illinois skilled nursing facility?
If so, contact us to investigate the matter and advise you on your legal options so that your loved one can be removed from a harmful situation into safety.
Our Illinois elder home abuse attorneys have helped many families. We will review your claim, gather evidence, investigate your case for free, and tell you what you can expect if you choose to pursue a lawsuit. In addition, our law office provides our legal services on a contingency fee basis.
This agreement allows us to handle your legal issues regardless of your financial condition. Our nursing home abuse lawyers do not require a fee until we have recovered compensation on their behalf. If we cannot secure damages on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.
Click here to review our nursing home abuse lawyers' profiles, regulations mandated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Moreover, for information on how any family member can file a wrongful death lawsuit after losing a loved one to physical abuse, sexual assault, or negligence.