Plaintiffs must have legal standing to file a lawsuit in Illinois nursing home abuse cases. To sue for elder abuse or neglect, the plaintiff must be the victim, the legal guardian of the person who was abused, or the authorized representative of the estate of a loved one who was abused prior to passing away.
Filing a Nursing Home Lawsuit
In Illinois, nursing homes and long-term care facilities have a duty of care to their patients to protect them from harm. Patients who are injured due to physical or emotional abuse or negligent actions are entitled to compensation for their injuries or losses.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act addresses resident rights and specifics on who may file a lawsuit against a nursing home facility. Residents have certain rights that include:
- Proper medical care and nourishment
- Sanitary living conditions and proper hygiene
- Management of their own finances
- Unrestricted communication and private visits
- Choice of their personal physician
- Freedom from physical and emotional neglect and abuse
If a nursing home violates these rights, the facility may be held liable through a civil lawsuit filed by a nursing home neglect lawyer. If resident injuries are caused by abuse or neglect, the caregiver may face criminal penalties.
Legal Standing to Sue
Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit against a nursing home must have legal standing to sue. The plaintiff must be the nursing home resident whose rights were violated, or the victim’s authorized representative or legal guardian. If a civil lawsuit is filed without proper legal standing to sue, the nursing home will likely file a motion to dismiss the case, and the court will likely grant that motion.
In many elder abuse and neglect cases, serious health conditions and cognitive disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease prevent personal recognition or awareness of injuries. In such cases, a family member, friend, or social worker may be appointed as a legal guardian by the court. The legal guardian acts as an authorized representative who is permitted to file a lawsuit on the resident’s behalf. Under the Illinois Survival Act, the personal representative of the resident’s estate may file a civil lawsuit on behalf of a deceased resident if injuries occurred prior to death.