There are few tragedies more compelling and heart-wrenching than to have someone you love suffer abuse or neglect while in the care of a nursing home. The children and friends of these elder victims feel helpless and are often ignored or put off when bringing their concerns to the management or employees of the nursing home.
Due to a recent ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court, it is now more important than ever that nursing home victims and their loved ones contact their Chicago Nursing Home Lawyer as soon as they become aware of any neglect or abuse. The Court recently ruled that punitive damage claims for the neglect or abuse of a nursing home resident will not survive the death of the resident. Our law firm is very distressed by this ruling as it means that negligent nursing care facilities have less incentive to prevent and remedy the abuse and neglect as they will not be compelled to pay punitive damages should the elderly person not survive the cause of action. It has been a general rule in Illinois that the right to seek punitive damages does not survive the death of the injured party because judicial logic held that the deceased victim could no longer be appeased by the award of compensation. However, as it regards the elderly victimized by neglect and abuse in a nursing home, it seemed only just that punitive damages should survive the victim as their death is more likely during the course of a lawsuit due to their advance age and infirmity AND the threat of punitive damages would carry a strong deterrent effect to nursing homes engaged in neglectful and abusive practices.
However, the recent verdict in Vincent vs Alden-Park Strathmore, Inc. No. 110406, 2011 WL 1077707 (Ill Sup Ct) has held that no punitive damages are allowed where the victim is deceased even though they were found to be the victim of nursing home neglect. This means an elder victim, family or friends should not delay in contacting their Chicago Injury Lawyer where they suspect abuse or injury in the nursing home. This not only prevents future personal injury or neglect, but also serves to assure that the nursing home system is encouraged to stay safe and vigilant on behalf of all elder residents.