A Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer in our office recently became aware of a new lawsuit that has been filed which claims that a variety of problems led to the death of a nursing home resident. According to details alleged in that lawsuit, virtually all of those problems can be traced back to neglect by caregivers at two different facilities. Ultimate Clear Lake News shared some more details this week on the nursing home lawsuit. A complaint was filed late last week which claims that the facilities committed negligence and gross negligence which led to the death of a male resident at their home last year.
Allegedly the resident developed a large ulcer on his right buttock that became infected during the month that he was living at the first nursing home. The wound was so severe that the man had to be transferred to a local hospital to have surgery to repair it. To recover following the surgery the man was sent to a second nursing home. Unfortunately the care he received there was no better than that at the first home. While at this second home his hydration levels were not monitored and his catheter became blocked. As a result of that nursing home neglect, the man apparently died not long after arriving at the second home.
This latest news report does not indicate the specifics, but it is likely that these lawsuits are rooted in both statutory and common law civil justice claims. In addition, there is a good chance that both negligence and wrongful death claims were asserted in the complaint. Many clients remain unclear about what all of these various claims mean. It can be particularly confusing because the suit stems for a single string of problems, and so it may seem illogical that a single defendant could be found liable on multiple claims. The reason that these multiple claims are filed is that each represents either a different harm that is sought to be recovered or a different authority under which the claim is based.
Each Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer at our firm often explains to clients that when a resident dies because of nursing home neglect, a wrongful death claim as well as a negligence claim is raised. Each cause of action seeks to provide relief for a different harm caused by the conduct. The wrongful death claim is rooted in the suffering faced by the survivors of the victim (family members) who have been hurt because their loved one was taken from them. The negligence claim, however, is based on the suffering faced by the actual nursing home resident. Each claim seeks to recover for different harms.
On top of that, these suits also include claims rooted in a statute (such as the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act) as well as the “common law.” The difference between these claims is authority under which the claim is made. A statutory claim can only be made after the legislature passes a specific law and includes language in that newly created law which allows private individuals to use the civil justice system to seek recovery for their losses when that law is violated. On top of that, even if no cause of action is available pursuant to a legislatively enacted law, a claim can still be brought. In those situations it would be brought only under the “common law” which is a series of rules developed since the nation’s founding that guides conduct between members of society. Under the common law if another community member or business entity acts below a certain level of care and causes harm, then the one harmed can seek recourse.
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