We have previously discussed the efforts being fought to limit damage awards possible in nursing home liability lawsuits. Another development on that front will come when the Illinois Supreme Court decides the case of Thomas Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor, Inc. – determining whether punitive damages are available for suits filed under the state’s Nursing Home Care Act. As explained in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the law allows survivors of victims of willful and wanton nursing home conduct to sue the facilities for the death of their loved one.
Specifically at issues is whether the responsible nursing home can be charged punitive damages for its egregious conduct. Those damages are levied as a form of punishment and deterrence against the offender. Two of our attorneys, Founder Steven Levin & associate Michael F. Bonamarte IV, filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association in support of the Plaintiffs in this case. Our position was clear that the Act allowed the jury the option of awarding punitive damage if they deemed it necessary after hearing all of the evidence in the case.
Steven Levin explained that the punitive damage possibility is “a crucial safety rule and it’s an important principle that our most vulnerable citizens need.”
The perverse effect of disallowing the damages would make it cheaper for the nursing home if the resident dies from their poor care instead of being injured.
The outcome of this case will likely have important effects on actions brought by all survivors following the death of their loved one in an Illinois facility due to nursing home abuse or negligence. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers strongly believe in preserving the rights of these victims and their families in as strong a manner as possible. The only thing to gain from finding otherwise is the construction of another financial disincentive to providing the highest quality care at these facilities. The intent of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and the precedent of past cases support a finding allowing punitive damage awards in these cases.
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