If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, it is important that you begin looking out for your best interests.

Civil law versus criminal law regarding nursing neglect

Your loved one who resides in an Illinois nursing home can expect his or her caregivers to provide daily care in accordance with federal and state laws, as well as the accepted safety standards of the industry. Substandard care is inexcusable. In some cases, nursing neglect constitutes a violation of civil laws. In others, it may be punishable through the criminal justice system.

In other words, a certain type of behavior on the part of care providers might be unlawful without necessarily constituting a crime. Either way, whether an incident involves a civil law violation or is criminal activity, justice may be sought by any nursing home patient who has suffered injury or damages because of nursing negligence.

Issues that violate criminal laws

If a care provider were to physically abuse your loved one in a nursing home, there may be grounds for prosecutors to charge the staff member in question with assault. It would also be a crime if a staff member were to steal money out of your loved one’s dresser drawer or wallet. In such cases, local law enforcement would determine if there was probable cause to make an arrest. If so, the criminal justice system would then process the case.

Civil law violations that often occur in nursing homes

Your loved one relies on Illinois nursing home care providers to meet his or her needs. Especially if your family member is immobile, he or she may need round-the-clock supervision. The following list shows numerous issues that constitute neglect of a nursing home patient

  • Leaving a patient alone when his or her records state requirements for full-time supervision
  • Threatening a patient or causing duress through denial of food or water
  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Lack of needed medical care
  • Clothing that is inappropriate for the climate
  • Bed sores due to lack of movement

If your loved one is immobile, then care providers know that they must help him or her to change positions every few hours to prevent bed sores. Complaints of hunger or thirst should always be investigated because they may be symptoms of neglect. If your loved one needs medical attention, but staff members fail to provide access, this, too, is neglectful on their part.

The law provides recourse to recovering patients

You can’t be with your loved one 24 hours per day. Living in a nursing home means that he or she has a safe place to live, with skilled personnel on hand to provide adequate care. If you believe that civil or criminal law violations have taken place, you can request an immediate meeting with staff officials and can summon local law enforcement and other patient advocates to provide support, as needed.


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