Many Illinois residents are surprised to hear that the institution where their elderly loved ones reside, or perhaps their own family member, is the subject of a nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse investigation. While regulators may interview nursing home staff and residents and work to gather evidence to see if regulations have been violated, their focus is on ensuring the safety of residents moving forward. Any sanctions imposed on a nursing home by the state will do nothing to compensate a nursing home neglect victim for his or her injuries.
Therefore, those who have been hurt by nursing home abuse or neglect may need to file a lawsuit in hopes of recovering their damages. Illinois law allows for these lawsuits, but it is important to recognize that regulations and personal injury lawsuit may have some crossover. What does this mean? It means that showing certain regulations were violated may support a finding of liability in a personal injury lawsuit, thereby giving rise to compensatory awards.
For example, under Illinois law, many individuals are required to report suspected nursing home abuse or neglect. Those who are required to make reports of suspected abuse or neglect may be held liable for their actions if they fail to report. Those who suspect abuse or neglect may also take photographs or x-rays of the areas of harm, but the resident is to pay for this. This is important, as such evidence may be critical to succeeding in a personal injury lawsuit.
Nursing homes and their employees carry a big responsibility. When they fail to live up to their duties and harm results, legal action is likely justified. Illinois residents who believe they have been mistreated by a nursing home should consider taking legal action not only to recover their financial losses, but also to deter negligent and harmful action from occurring in the future.
Source: Illinois General Assembly, "210 ILCS 30," accessed on Nov. 5, 2016