When families entrust the care of their loved ones to nursing homes, part of the duty that the facilities take on is a responsibility to supervise each patient and respond to his or her needs appropriately.
A devastating report by the Associated Press revealed that an 87 year-old nursing home resident was killed last week as a result of injuries sustained in a hit-and-run automobile accident that occurred just outside of her nursing home.
Good Samaritan Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a Midwest-centered facility with branches in Illinois, was in charge of the woman’s care. Apparently the woman’s family had recently placed her in the home due to declining health, and, because she was unhappy being at the home, she was attempting her escape when the car hit her.
Although the driver of the runaway vehicle is unquestionably blameworthy for having caused or contributed to cause the elderly woman’s death, ultimately liability also falls on the shoulders of the care center who had a duty to prevent the woman from wandering off the premises.
Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, facilities have an obligation to protect the safety and well being of residents under their care. When nursing home staff members fail to properly supervise residents, and injuries or death occurs as a result, victims and the families of those wrongfully killed may have the basis for an Illinois nursing home negligence lawsuit to hold the wrongdoers responsible for their failures of care.
Additionally, Under Illinois law, wrongful death is the legal concept that arises when a person’s death has been caused by the fault or negligence of another person, business, or care facility. In cases of wrongful death, family members and loved ones of the decedent can file a claim to potentially make the wrongdoer pay damages for things such as the loss of companionship, monetary damages to cover the earnings the deceased person would have provided, and expenses associated with the death such as funeral and burial costs. Because the woman was already 87, in the event of a lawsuit, damages will not likely be incurred for future lost wages, but her family may be entitled to compensation for having lost time with her, as well as having to experience grief and sorrow from her untimely death.
Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys have handled a number of cases in which residents were left unsupervised and allowed to wander outside of the facility, including having won a $950,000 settlement for the family of an 85-year-old woman with dementia who wandered outside a nursing home and froze to death because of lack of supervision.
Illinois nursing home abuse lawsuits cannot undo past harms, but they do serve very important purposes: they afford justice on behalf of victims and their families in the way of compensation for suffering; they tell nursing homes that substandard care is unacceptable, instigating negligent facilities to alter their practices to avoid future litigation, and; they raise awareness about elder abuse and nursing home negligence, which prompts stricter State regulations and standards.