Damages in Nursing Home Cases
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, 210 ILCS 45, allows a nursing home resident or his or her authorized representative to file a civil lawsuit when the resident’s rights have been violated. A violation may include abuse or neglect by the nursing home, financial abuse or exploitation, or actions such as denying a resident his or her choice of physician or the receipt of private communications.
In a civil lawsuit, the resident or his or her representative may be able to recover any actual losses the resident suffered because of the violation of his or her rights. Losses that can be compensated may include:
- Medical Costs — This could include the cost of any office visits, procedures, surgeries, medications, or other treatments the resident must undergo because of the violation of his or her rights. For example, if neglect by the nursing home staff results in the resident falling and breaking a bone, the cost of any procedures to set the bone, or of physical therapy as the resident recovers from the fracture, may be medical costs that can be compensated through a lawsuit.
- Lost Income — If the resident loses income because of the violation of his or her rights, the nursing home owner or licensee may be liable to compensate that lost income. For example, if the allegation is one of financial abuse and the resident lost income from property that was sold without his or her consent, that loss may have to be compensated if a lawsuit is successful.
- Pain and Suffering — Often a victim of nursing home abuse, neglect, or exploitation may suffer psychological or emotional consequences, including fear, anxiety, or depression. Mental anguish and emotional distress are damages that can be compensated in Illinois when the resident can present evidence to support the claim.
- Disability and Disfigurement — When abuse or neglect results in the resident suffering some disability or disfigurement, such as permanent scars from bedsores, the resident may be able to get compensation for the effect the disability or disfigurement has on the resident’s life.
- Loss of Normal Life — When the violation of a nursing home resident’s life results in a loss of enjoyment of life, such as an inability to enjoy hobbies or to perform normal daily functions, the resident may be compensated for that loss.
- Attorney Fees — In Illinois, a nursing home resident can recover all attorney fees and court costs expended when filing a lawsuit under the Nursing Home Care Act.
To recover compensation, you must be able to demonstrate that the rights violation you allege caused the damages you are claiming.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you are a nursing home resident, or you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, and you believe you have a claim for abuse, neglect, exploitation, or a violation of the rights of nursing home residents, then an experienced lawyer can explain your options and help you start the process of making a claim for compensation. A Chicago nursing home lawyer can represent you through the entire legal process, including an initial fact-finding investigation, settlement negotiations, or filing a lawsuit in an Illinois court. A lawyer also may be able to get an injunction from a court to stop the violation of your rights or the rights of a loved one.