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Schwartz Injury Law

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Illinois nursing home injury attorneysResidents in a nursing home or other long-term care facility have a legal right to receive adequate care. The facility must be kept reasonably clean and safe. Staff must provide appropriate medical care and assistance with day-to-day activities like showering and eating. At no time may a resident be subject to neglect or abuse.

Sadly, not every nursing home meets these standards. When a resident is injured or killed as a result of substandard care or intentional abuse in a nursing home facility, the resident or his or her loved ones may file a nursing home injury lawsuit. Read on to learn about some of the most common types of evidence used to prove nursing home neglect or abuse in an injury or wrongful death claim.

Information About Nursing Home Staff

Staffing issues are some of the most common causes of nursing home neglect and abuse. Understaffing is rampant in U.S. nursing homes. When there are not enough staff to care for the residents, residents may suffer from skipped medication, missed meals, inadequate medical care, and insufficient assistance with daily living tasks. Staff work schedules, payroll documents, medical charts, and the nursing home staff log may all be evidence of understaffing. In addition, employment records and information about nursing home policies and procedures may demonstrate nursing home negligence in the form of substandard hiring practices.

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Illinois nursing home fall injury attorneysA baby learning to walk falls down dozens and dozens of times without injury. Unfortunately, as our bodies age, the risks associated with falling increase dramatically. Falling is the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures.  Among the elderly, fall accidents can result in severe and even fatal injuries. It is estimated that over 32,000 older people die in fall accidents each year in the U.S. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities must actively take steps to prevent residents from falling. When nursing home negligence leads to a preventable fall injury, the nursing home may be guilty of neglect.

Keeping Residents’ Living Spaces Clean and Free of Clutter

Cleanliness is a crucial concern in nursing homes. Not only does proper cleaning and sanitation prevent disease, keeping the facility clean can also prevent avoidable fall injuries. Resident rooms, dining halls, and hallways should be kept tidy and free of clutter. Electrical cords or wires from medical equipment should be secured in such a way that they do not present trip and fall hazards. If liquid or other slippery substances are spilled, they must be cleaned up immediately.

Helping Residents With Limited Mobility

Older people and those with disabilities often struggle to get around on their own. However, they may not always ask for help when they need it. An older person with dementia may not realize that he or she is at risk of falling. Other residents may simply overestimate how steady they are on their feet. Nursing home staff should be aware of residents’ physical limitations and accommodate them accordingly. For example, if a resident cannot easily get from his wheelchair to his bed, staff should help the resident so that he does not fall.

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysIt is estimated that just under half of the U.S. population will live in a nursing home at some point in their lives. However, widespread issues like understaffing and inadequate staff training continue to plague care facilities across the country. Tragically, some nursing home residents are even intentionally harmed by the very people who are supposed to protect them. Research shows that elderly and disabled individuals living in long-term care facilities like nursing homes are at an increased risk of physical abuse as compared to those who live at home. If you suspect that your loved one was abused, do not wait to take action.

Spotting Nursing Home Resident Abuse is Often Difficult

Residents being slapped, punched, pinched, or otherwise intentionally physically harmed is a direct violation of state and federal law. No resident should have to put up with this type of mistreatment and the facilities that allow such behavior should be held accountable for these despicable actions. Unfortunately, the nature of many illnesses afflicting elderly people makes it hard to recognize when a resident is being abused. Dementia and other illnesses affecting memory and cognition can prevent residents from reporting abuse. False accusations of abuse may result from residents who become confused or paranoid due to Alzheimer’s disease and other medical conditions. Nevertheless, every allegation of abuse should be treated as if it were true and investigated thoroughly.

What Can I Do If My Loved One Was Abused?

If your loved one was abused while living at a nursing home, take immediate steps to protect his or her safety. Next, consider your legal options. Nursing home staff may face criminal charges for intentionally harming a resident, however, the criminal justice system is not the only legal avenue available to you. A civil lawsuit against the nursing home facility may also allow you to hold the nursing home answerable for abusing your loved one. Furthermore, a nursing home injury lawsuit may prevent similar behavior at the facility in the future. You or your loved one may also be entitled to financial compensation for the damages resulting from the physical abuse. Compensation for additional medical bills caused by the resident’s injury as well as compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering may be available. If your loved one passed away because of the abuse, compensation for funeral and burial expenses may be available.

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chicago nursing home neglect lawyerIf your parent or another loved one lives in a nursing home, rehabilitation facility, or assisted living facility, it is important to monitor his or her health and wellbeing. While many nursing homes are safe environments filled with hard-working staff, not all nursing homes meet the standards required by law and expected by residents’ loved ones. Because many nursing home residents are already in poor health, nursing home neglect and abuse can be extremely dangerous. One issue in particular that it is important to remain watchful for is bed sores.

What is a Bed Sore?

Pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers are wounds that occur when there are long periods of pressure on the skin. Blood cannot circulate properly when skin is under pressure for too long. Nursing home residents who are bed-ridden or confined to a wheelchair are at the greatest risk of bed sores. The buttocks, back, and legs are some of the most common places that bed sores develop.

The first signs of a bed sore include pain, swelling, itching, and redness. If the pressure is not relieved, the skin may break open. Pain increases and the wound becomes vulnerable to infection. If nothing is done to address the worsening bed sore, the wound increases in depth to the tissue under the skin. The wound may even reach the tendons, muscles, and bones. At this point, a bed sore sufferer is susceptible to severe infection or even a life-threatening condition called sepsis.

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Chicago nursing home neglect lawyerNursing homes have a crucial responsibility to provide competent medical care. This includes ensuring that residents get the medications they need in the correct quantity at the right time. Failure to do so can lead to worsened medical conditions and even an avoidable resident death. If you or a loved one were the victim of a medication mistake in a nursing home, you might be curious about your legal options. You may be interested in holding the nursing home accountable for the error and pursuing monetary damages.

Elements of a Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit

Most medication errors fall under the category of neglect. Nursing homes are held to high standards when it comes to medical care. Most residents are in poor health when they arrive at the facility. They may be on medications intended to alleviate pain, prevent blood clots, regulate blood pressure, treat infections, and more. Without these mediations, they may suffer severe or life-threatening consequences. Consider the story of one nursing home staff member who mistakenly gave a resident the drug vecuronium - a drug commonly used during lethal injections - instead of a common anti-anxiety medication with a similar name. The staff was charged with reckless homicide after the resident died from the medication error.  

Nursing home neglect occurs when a nursing home’s failure to provide reasonably skilled medical care results in a patient's injury or death and damages result from the injury or death. Damages are losses such as additional hospital bills or funeral and burial expenses.  

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Chicago nursing home wrongful death lawyerAccording to the Stanford School of Medicine, about 20 percent of Americans pass away in nursing homes. While death is not uncommon in nursing homes, there are some instances in which a resident’s death is directly caused by nursing home negligence. If substandard medical care, poor living conditions, medical mistakes, neglect, or abuse causes a nursing home resident to die prematurely, the nursing home may be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. The surviving loved ones may be entitled to compensation for economic damages such as funeral and medical costs as well as non-economic damages including their grief and loss of companionship.  

What is a Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home?

The loss of a parent, grandparent, or other loved one can be devastating regardless of the circumstances. However, some deaths are classified by Illinois law as “wrongful.” A wrongful occurs when:

  • A person’s death is caused by wrongful act, negligence, or negligent failure to act and

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Illinois nursing home elopement attorneyNursing homes do not only provide important medical and daily living assistance, they also keep residents safe. Many elderly people suffer from declining cognition and reasoning skills. They may sometimes think irrationally or become confused. This mental decline is especially apparent in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. When a nursing home resident leaves a facility, they can get themselves into life-threatening situations. This is one reason that nursing home elopement is so dangerous.

State and County Officials Ask for Help Locating Missing Resident

The Illinois State Police recently issued an Endangered Missing Person Advisory for a nursing home resident who left the facility. 72-year-old Szymon Tomerski was last seen on April 2, 2021. Mr. Tomerski is a white male, approximately 5 foot, 10 inches, and 170 pounds. Officials indicate that Mr. Tomerski is a resident of a skilled nursing facility in unincorporated Maine Township in Cook County. As of this writing, the circumstances of Mr. Tomerski’s elopement from the nursing home are unknown, and he has not been located. The police are asking for the public’s assistance in finding the missing resident. 

 

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysIf you have a relative in a nursing home, you probably worry about him or her often. You may wonder if your loved one is receiving the compassionate treatment and competent medical attention he or she deserves. Nursing home staff must balance keeping a resident safe and well-cared for with maximizing the resident’s independence and autonomy. Illinois law prohibits the unreasonable physical or chemical restraint of a nursing home resident.  

Physical Restraints Include Anything that Limits a Resident’s Movement

Nursing home residents deserve to have as much freedom as possible. However, safety concerns often prevent staff from giving unlimited autonomy to certain residents – particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments. Residents who are not monitored may elope from the facility or become seriously injured by dangers in the facility. Nevertheless, physically restraining residents is seldom an acceptable solution. Physical restraints can include ties, vests, sheets that are very tightly tucked in, or other mechanisms that limit a resident’s movement.

When Can Restraints Be Lawfully Used?

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act describes the specific circumstances under which a resident may be physically restrained. Physical restraints may only be used when absolutely necessary to protect the resident’s safety. Furthermore, restraints may only be used for short periods. A medical professional must order the use of the restraint and document the justification for the restraint in the resident’s medical records. The resident’s guardian must also give consent for the restraint. Under no circumstances may restraints be used for staff convenience or to punish a resident.

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Illinois nursing home neglect attorneysVenous ulcers or stasis leg ulcers often occur on the legs on individuals with limited mobility or circulation issues. These wounds are not only painful and unsightly, they can also become infected and put the sufferer at serious risk of health complications. Nursing home staff should be watchful for the signs of venous ulcers when caring for residents. If a resident does develop a venous ulcer, the wound must be properly cared for. Failure to provide proper medical treatment to a resident suffering from venous ulcers can lead to dangerous infections and agonizing pain.  

Symptoms of Venous Ulcers

When circulation problems cause blood to pool in the legs, venous ulcers can form. Individuals who have varicose veins are at an increased risk of developing venous ulcers. Other risk factors include obesity, lack of physical exercise, and immobility. Keeping a nursing home resident’s legs elevated above his or her heart may help slow the development of venous ulcers. If the resident is able to do so safely, moving around and getting moderate exercise can also help prevent these painful wounds.

Symptoms of venous ulcers include:

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Illinois nursing home neglect attorneysNursing home residents rely on nursing facilities to provide the medical attention and daily care they need. Nursing home staff have a legal duty to provide reasonably skilled care. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is one of several laws that protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect. While abuse is often easy to define, neglect is sometimes harder to pin down. Knowing what constitutes nursing home neglect is an important part of keeping your loved one safe and protecting his or her rights.

Nursing Home Neglect Can Take Many Forms

Some of the most common examples of nursing home neglect include:

  • Medical neglect – When nursing home staff fail to provide sufficient medical care, residents may suffer from severe health implications. Medication mistakes such as skipped doses of medication or administration of the wrong medication, failure to recognize new or worsening medical concerns, and delaying medical care may all be examples of medical neglect.
  • Failure to provide adequate assistance with daily needs – Nursing home residents may need help with getting in and out of bed, going to the restroom, bathing, eating, and more. Failure to provide adequate assistance with daily living activities can lead to physical and emotional harm.
  • Failure to prevent bedsores – Bedsores or pressure ulcers form when the skin is under extended periods of pressure. If a patient cannot move himself or herself, nursing home staff must regularly reposition the resident to prevent bedsores from developing. Failure to do so can lead to painful wounds that can become dangerously infected.
  • Inadequate patient supervision – Residents suffering from physical and mental impairments should be closely monitored. When residents are not properly supervised, they may not get the medical care or assistance they need. Resident wandering and elopement are two major concerns in nursing homes. Residents with dementia and other cognitive deficiencies should be monitored so that they do not attempt to leave the facility, wander into dangerous areas, or injure themselves or others.

Causes of Nursing Home Neglect

Many different issues can lead to nursing home neglect. Understaffing is a serious concern in nursing homes in Illinois and across the country. Inadequate staff training and negligent hiring practices that result in under-qualified staff are also contributors to nursing home neglect. If your loved one has suffered from neglect, you may be able to hold the negligent nursing home accountable for the harm they have caused your loved one through a nursing home injury claim.

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Illinois nursing home sexual abuse lawyersNursing homes should be safe havens for individuals who suffer from physical or mental impairments. While many nursing homes are staffed by compassionate and attentive employees, other nursing homes expose residents to neglect and abuse. One of the most disturbing forms of nursing home abuse is sexual abuse. If a nursing home resident suffers from sexual abuse, a civil action against the facility may hold the wrongdoers accountable and get justice for the injured resident.

Sexual Abuse May Be Perpetrated by Staff, Other Residents, or Visitors

Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Physical ailments reduce many residents’ ability to care for themselves and protect themselves against harm. Cognitive impairments from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease reduce residents’ ability to remember, communicate, and understand.

Sadly, these vulnerabilities make nursing home residents an easy target for perpetrators of abuse. Ombudsman programs investigated over 800 reports of sexual abuse in 2016 alone. Sometimes, the perpetrator is a staff member. Other times, the perpetrator of sexual abuse is another resident. Visitors to the facility and third-party contractors who work for the facility may also be perpetrators of sexual violence against residents.

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Chicago nursing home negligence lawyersThere are over a million individuals currently living in nursing homes across the United States. Some nursing home residents suffer from physical disabilities, hearing and vision loss, and age-related illnesses. Others suffer from cognitive conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Regardless of their reasons for being there, all nursing home residents have one thing in common: the right to competent and compassionate care. When nursing homes employ staff who are not qualified to work in a long-term care environment, residents may suffer from neglect or even intentional abuse.

Underqualified Staff Members Can Make Dangerous Mistakes

Caring for elderly and disabled individuals is not an easy job. Residents may suffer from multiple physical and mental health complications and require a strict medication regimen. They may need help with daily living activities like eating and bathing. Many residents also need help getting to and from their beds and wheelchairs. When staff are not qualified to handle residents’ needs, the residents can suffer preventable injuries or even death.

Intentional Abuse in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes must take steps to ensure that the staff they hire are suited to perform the job tasks. They should also ensure that the applicants do not have a history of violence or abuse. The following steps can prevent unqualified or dangerous individuals from being hired at a nursing home:

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Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse attorneysNursing homes should be places of refuge for elderly and disabled individuals. Sadly, some nursing home residents suffer from neglect or even intentional maltreatment. A nursing home injury claim may allow an injured victim or the victim’s family to hold the liable party accountable for the neglect or abuse. A nursing home injury claim may also allow for the recovery of damages. Compensation for medical treatment, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages may be available. However, in order to bring a nursing home injury claim, the liable party must be identified.

The Nursing Home Facility is Often the Liable Party

The party that is legally responsible for an injury or death is called the liable party. In many nursing home injury claims, the liable party is the nursing facility itself. Nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide competent care and assistance to residents. The following issues are examples of ways that nursing homes may be in violation of that obligation:

  • Failing to perform background checks on staff or other negligent hiring practices
  • Failing to properly supervise staff
  • Failing to maintain adequate staff numbers
  • Lack of medical care
  • Medical mistakes including medication errors
  • Failure to provide adequate assistance with daily living activities
  • Insufficient sanitation of the facility
  • Failing to maintain a safe facility
  • Failing to provide adequate security measures
  • Intentional abuse of residents

Even if an individual staff member is the cause of nursing home neglect and abuse, the claim is typically brought against the facility that the staff is employed by.

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Illinois nursing home injury attorneysAlzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect an estimated 50 million individuals across the globe. Nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may struggle to form memories, solve problems, and accurately interpret the world around them. Some sufferers become confused or even combative with other residents or nursing home staff. If your loved one suffers from dementia and is living in a nursing home, it is important to know some of the unique issues he or she may face. Nursing home staff should take special care to ensure the safety of residents with dementia. Failure to do so may result in the resident’s injury or death.

Wandering and Elopement

Nursing home residents who suffer from cognitive impairment due to dementia or a related illness are at an especially high risk of wandering and elopement. A confused resident may wander into a dangerous part of the facility and be seriously hurt as a consequence. Some residents even attempt to flee the facility or mistake the exit for an interior door. Tragically, some residents have died after eloping from nursing home facilities and succumbing to the elements.

Physical Abuse and Sexual Abuse

Nursing homes should be places of refuge for elderly and disabled residents. Sadly, some residents are victims of physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse. Residents with cognitive impairment brought on by illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease are often especially vulnerable to this type of malicious treatment. Perpetrators may target these residents because they know that the residents will struggle to report the abuse. They may even assume that if the residents did report the abuse, that no one would believe them.

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Illinois nursing home neglect attorneysIndividuals with physical or cognitive limitations rely on nursing homes to provide the consistent care they need. Nursing home staff help with daily tasks like eating and bathing as well as medical concerns such as dispensing medication and treating injuries. Another essential responsibility of nursing home staff is maintaining a clean, sanitary environment. Failure to maintain a clean facility, sanitize equipment, and help residents with hygiene-related needs may all be signs of nursing home neglect.

Unsanitary Equipment in a Nursing Home Can Lead to Infection and Illness

Nursing home residents’ bodies are already weakened by age and/or disability. Exposure to viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens can be deadly. Nursing homes should be regularly cleaned and sanitized. Staff should ensure that equipment such as wheelchairs are kept clean and shared equipment is sanitized between residents. Kitchens and dining areas should also be kept clean and free of pests like insects or mice. Unsanitary conditions can lead to conditions such as:

  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Infections
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Scabies
  • Lice
  • Ringworm
  • Bedbugs

Proper Resident Hygiene is Essential for Physical and Mental Health

Nursing home staff also have a responsibility to help residents themselves remain clean and hygienic. Many residents cannot use the toilet, bathe, or dress without assistance. Some residents are incontinent and rely on adult diapers. When staff do not regularly change residents’ soiled diapers, clothing, or bed sheets, dangerous infections and other medical complications can develop.

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Illinois nursing home medication mistakes attorneyModern medicine has allowed people to live decades longer than we used to. Diseases that would once quickly kill an individual may now be cured by simply taking a couple of pills. However, in order for medications to be effective, they must be properly dosed and administered. Medication mistakes in a nursing home can lead to needless resident suffering and may even contribute to a resident’s untimely death. If your loved one was the victim of a medication error in a nursing home, you may wonder if you have grounds for a lawsuit. A nursing home injury claim may help you hold the negligent nursing home accountable for your loved one’s harm, however, a successful claim is only possible in certain situations.

Types of Medication Errors in Illinois Nursing Homes

Most nursing home residents rely on at least one or more medications to keep symptoms of medical ailments under control. Medications may be used to ease a resident’s pain, fight infection, avoid blood clots, treat abnormal heart rhythms, and much more. When a resident does not receive the appropriate medication, he or she may suffer from new and worsening health complications. Sadly, some medication mistakes are fatal. Some of the most common medication errors in nursing homes include:

  • Administration of the wrong type of medication
  • Administration of “sound alike” medication
  • Improper administration technique
  • Skipped dose of medication
  • Giving too much or too little medication

When is a Successful Lawsuit Possible?

If your loved one was the victim of a medication error while living in a nursing home, you may be curious about your legal options. A nursing home injury claim may allow you to hold the nursing home accountable for the mistake and recover financial compensation for damages. To bring a successful nursing home injury lawsuit, you and your attorney will need to demonstrate that:

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Chicago nursing home injury attorneys Nursing home residents live in nursing home facilities because they have mental or physical disabilities that make independent living an impractical or unsafe option. Often, nursing home residents suffer from multiple illnesses and age-related health concerns at the same time which can make them especially vulnerable. It is for this reason that nurses, nurses’ aides, and other medical workers are on staff. When a nursing home resident develops a bed sore, falls, or is otherwise injured, nursing home staff must take appropriate steps to treat the wound. Improper wound care can lead to infection, sepsis, and even death.

Special Attention Must Be Paid to Sick and Elderly Residents

When a child scrapes his or her knee, he or she may put a bandage on the wound and forget about it soon after. The wound then heals on its own without complication. However, elderly and disabled individuals’ bodies do not heal as quickly from soft tissue injuries as those who are young and healthy. This is why it is crucial that nursing home staff properly treat resident injuries and carefully monitor the resident for signs of infection or other medical problems. This is especially true for residents who cannot advocate for themselves due to physical or mental impairments.

Some of the most common types of wounds suffered by nursing home residents include:

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Chicago nursing home fractures attorneyOne of the hardest parts of having a loved one in a nursing home is that you cannot always be present to monitor the quality of care your loved one is receiving. You may worry about the safety standards at your loved one’s nursing home or wonder how often they are understaffed. You may see horrific news stories depicting physical or sexual abuse of nursing home residents and fear the same thing happening to your loved one. When your loved one suffers a broken bone, you may wonder, “Are fractures a sign of nursing home neglect or abuse?”

Cause of Resident Broken Bones and Fractures

Falling becomes a greater and greater hazard the more we age. Disabilities that impair mobility or vision and injuries to the feet can further increase the risk of falling. The CDC reports that one out of every five fall accidents results in a serious injury. Broken bones are a common result of nursing home fall accidents. Not every fall is a product of nursing home negligence or wrongdoing of some kind. However, there are many ways in which nursing home negligence may lead to a fall accident, including:

  • Negligent supervision or failure to properly watch staff for signs that they need help
  • Environmental Hazards such as cluttered walkways or loose electrical cords that present a slip and fall or trip and fall risk
  • Inadequate safety measures including lack of handrails, grab bars, and sufficient lighting
  • Inadequate staff training including insufficient training on how to safely transfer a patient in and out of bed or a wheelchair
  • Improper use of sedatives or psychiatric medication
  • Medication mistakes including administering too much or too little medication

Falls are not the only causes of broken bones and fractures in nursing home residents, but they are, by far, the most common. Falling may also be caused by:

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Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysIf you or your loved one were harmed by substandard care at a nursing home, you may be able to bring a civil action against the facility. A nursing home lawsuit may enable you to pursue justice for the maltreatment and seek financial compensation for damages. Substandard medical care, neglect, and intentional abuse may lead to a nursing home lawsuit. A personal injury attorney experienced in nursing home negligence and abuse cases can file a claim on your behalf and represent you throughout your case.

Do All Nursing Home Injury Claims Go to Trial?

If you are like most people, you probably do not know much about what a civil claim against a medical facility entails. You may even assume that all nursing home injury claims result in a courtroom trial. In reality, only a small percentage of nursing home negligence claims end up going to trial. Most are settled during out-of-court negotiations. A nursing home injury attorney can negotiate with the nursing home’s legal team on your behalf and fight for a satisfactory settlement.

What Do I Need to Prove to Be Successful?

There are several types of nursing home claims. The most common is a claim that alleges negligence on the part of the nursing home facility or staff. To win a negligence-based claim, you will need to show that:

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"ChicagoPutting an elderly or disabled relative in a long-term care facility like a nursing home is never easy. Many people worry about the quality of care that their loved one receives in a nursing home and what may be going on behind closed doors. Unfortunately, issues like understaffing and inadequate staff training have led to nursing home neglect in facilities across the country. When nursing home staff act negligently or the facility is not outfitted with appropriate safety measures, serious fall accidents may be more likely to occur. Falls causing serious injury or death may be the direct result of negligent care.

Falling is Often Deadly for Elderly and Disabled Residents

When a person with compromised health falls, he or she may sustain severe or even fatal injuries. Studies show that the most common cause of injury in elderly people is falling. Some fall accidents result in only bruises and abrasions. Other falls result in broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spine injuries, or even death. Individuals who suffer from dementia, arthritis, diabetes, anemia, impaired sight or hearing, and neuropathy are at a greater risk of falling than those without these conditions.

How Can a Nursing Home Prevent Fall Injuries?

Staff should be aware of the physical and mental impairments suffered by the nursing home residents in their care. They should take these limitations into consideration when transferring the patient from one location to the next and helping the resident with daily tasks such as showering. Staff should also properly supervise residents – especially those with significant impairments. If a fall accident does occur and staff were not monitoring the resident’s whereabouts, the injured resident may be left suffering in pain for hours until staff discover him or her. Nursing homes should not contain hazards that make falls more likely to occur. Clutter in resident rooms, hallways, and common spaces, slippery floors, poor lighting, loose rugs, broken tiles, and other environmental hazards can lead to avoidable fall-related injuries. Wheelchair locks, walkers, canes, bed rails, grab bars, non-slip footwear and other safety measures can help prevent falls.

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