Kentucky News reported this week on the latest developments in a criminal case related to the death of an intellectually disabled nursing home resident. The story represents one of the more stomach-turning cases of nursing home abuse. It highlights the crucial need for those working directly with these individuals to have a character suited for the work. No one capable of harming or using unacceptable force with a senior resident should ever be put in a position to dominate a resident.
Nursing Home Attack
The former employee in this case was initially charged with murder in the death of a resident last June. The victim in this case had a mental disability. Court documents explain that he “was incapable of managing his own resources, carrying out daily living or protecting himself from neglect, exploitation or abuse.” Each Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer at our firm appreciates that is often these residents in severe need who most often fall victim to harmful misconduct.
When the resident was first found dead, the nursing home employee told police that he died after an attack from another resident. The employee said that he found one resident choking the other on the bathroom floor in the facility. The accused resident was actually arrested and jailed. However, eventually an autopsy was performed which showed that the death was actually caused by abdominal bleeding, likely from force (a beating) to his body. This led police to realize that the nursing home employee lied when he fingered the other resident for strangulation.
The nursing home employee was eventually arrested and charged with murder. Recently the man decided to plead guilty to a lesser criminal charge of second-degree manslaughter. Court documents explained that the man “wantonly caused the death of [the resident] by beating or kicking.”
The plea on the manslaughter charges also included a guilty plea for “knowingly abusing an adult.” Each charged carries a sentence up to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors are hoping for the maximum on each count for a 20 year sentence. A judge will decide the actual sentence in a hearing next month.
In all situations similar to this, where the intentional, reckless, or negligent conduct of nursing employee harms a resident, a civil lawsuit is usually appropriate. Under the civil law, the “principal” is liable for the conduct of their “agent.” A nursing home company is the principal in these cases, and the employee is the “agent” when on duty.
When the individual resident dies as a result of the harm, the surviving family members can usually file a wrongful death lawsuit against both the individual employee and the nursing home company. This suit seeks to hold both parties responsible for their actions which resulted in the harm. In many situations, these suits not only provide compensation to a decedent’s estate but also spur changes at the facility. These suits are therefore important enforcement tools that help improve nursing home care for everyone. Be sure to seek out the help of an experienced Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect misconduct at a facility in our area.
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