Seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive disorders require extra protection against wandering and elopement. For memory care residents, facilities are required to take all necessary precautions to keep your loved one safe. When the facility and its staff fail in this duty, they could be entitled to compensation.
If you have questions about elder abuse, or a nursing home’s legal responsibilities for keeping your loved one safe after an incident of wandering or elopement, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to schedule a consultation and to find out how a Chicago wandering and elopement lawyer can help.
Dangers of Wandering and Elopement
For seniors, wandering or eloping from a care facility can be dangerous. Outside of the safe confines of the facility, seniors with cognitive impairment may not be able to handle situations that come up. This is especially true for seniors with memory care needs. Several of the dangers of wandering and eloping include:
- Accidents: Accidents are common for seniors in unfamiliar and unprepared spaces. Seniors could slip and fall or unintentionally injure themselves in a variety of ways. Without the supervision of a care facility, any minor accident can have major health implications for seniors since they will likely go untreated for a long time.
- Serious injuries: More serious injuries, like broken bones or head injuries, can be fatal for seniors without immediate care. Outside of a facility, seniors are at risk of serious injuries without the proper medical care to save their lives.
- Missing medication: Many seniors take daily medication that plays a crucial part in maintaining their health. Without caregivers to help manage those medications, seniors could miss taking them and begin to experience serious health side effects.
- Getting lost: Seniors with memory care needs are very likely to get lost. This can lead to seniors disappearing without a trace.
Seniors that unexpectedly leave a care facility often have problems with their care unless there is already another care system setup. This is why senior care facilities invest in security systems and monitoring equipment. That way, they can ensure the continued care and safety of residents.
Nursing Home Responsibilities
Nursing homes have many legal and ethical responsibilities when it comes to senior care. These facilities are expected to provide a level of care that is appropriate for their residents. This includes providing medical attention as needed. When they do not meet these requirements, seniors could experience varying levels of danger.
It is important to be vigilant if you have a loved one in a nursing facility. You could identify potential problems in the facility in terms of security and report them so that they can be corrected and the facility can be held accountable. Unfortunately, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, these issues are all too common.
For a free legal consultation with a Wandering and Elopement Lawyer serving Chicago, call (800) 794-0444
Statute of Limitations
If you think that some type of elder abuse has happened at a nursing facility, then it could benefit your family to consult a lawyer and take action as soon as possible. There is a statute of limitations on filing an elder abuse lawsuit. In Illinois, the statute of limitations is two years from the date that the abuse occurred. Your Chicago wandering and elopement lawyer will also need to collect evidence and investigate the incident or incidents, so starting as soon as possible gives everyone involved the time that they need to address the situation.
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Possible Recoverable Compensation
If you or someone that you know is involved in an elder abuse case, including wandering and elopement, then they may be entitled to compensation for what happened. Compensation can come in several forms based on the case. The types of possible recoverable compensation include:
- Damages: Damages is the type of compensation that you are most likely to receive. It encompasses any expenses that you have relating to the abuse and other elements of the case.
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering is a category of compensation that is at the discretion of the judge and is not awarded after every case. It is intended to help with mental stress. The judge determines if it will be awarded and, if so, how much.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are a category of compensation that is reserved for more severe cases. Judges award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party, and the amount changes based on the details of the case. If the consequences of the elopement or wandering incident are serious, the judge is more likely to pursue this type of compensation in a case.
- Medical Expenses: Any medical expense as a result of the incident may be recovered. You will need documentation from the medical facilities showing that the bills that you have are related to the case. Your wandering and elopement lawyer can collect those documents if they are needed.
Compensation can make a big difference in outcomes for seniors and nursing care patients. A Chicago wandering and elopement lawyer can help build a thorough case and make the process much easier for you by providing you with support and guidance.
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The outcome of the case will be determined by liability, or who is responsible for what happened. In wandering and elopement cases, the nursing facility or individual staff members can be held accountable. Your lawyer can examine the evidence and develop a case that holds the right people responsible.
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Wandering and elopement can have serious consequences. If your loved one elopes from the facility, they can potentially die while they are lost. If your loved one wandered or eloped as a result of the care received in a nursing home or memory care facility, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to discuss your legal options.