Our aged in society deserve respect and proper care at nursing hoes. In Illinois there a a specific statute, known as the Illinois Nursing Home Act, that helps provide for a financial recovery if negligent care causes injury or death to the nursing home resident. Under that Act, owners and operators of nursing home facilities are liable to residents for injuries caused by the negligent acts of their employees. 210 ILCS 45/3–601 (West 2000).5 The Act guarantees nursing home residents certain rights, including the right not to be subjected to abuse or neglect by nursing home personnel. The Act defines “neglect” as:“[A] failure in a facility to provide adequate medical or personal care or maintenance, which failure results in physical or mental injury to a resident or in the deterioration of a resident’s physical or mental condition.”“Adequate care” is the same as “ordinary care,” “due care,” or “reasonable care,” the terms used to describe the standard of care for negligence. The Act defines “personal care” to include assistance with movement of the patient. The plain language of the statute indicates that the standard of care for liability under the Act is one of ordinary negligence, which does not require expert testimony. Thus, a court should not require the plaintiff to present expert testimony but many times a plaintiff will choose to do that.
Often the fee agreement in a nursing home case is based on a contingency fee, the client only pays if the attorney obtains a recovery. Typically the attorney fronts all of the costs of the litigation, which can go into tens of thousands of dollars. There also may be a fee shifting provision under the Act, which requires the nursing home to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees and costs.
Please do not hesitate to contact Tom Plouff if you or a loved one has been given improper care in a Chicago area nursing home.