While nursing home abuse is never a topic that someone wants to discuss, it is important to know the signs of abuse or negligent care of your loved ones. Those whose job it is to care for and protect the patients and residents under their care owe a duty, not merely under society’s standards of decency, but under the laws of the state and federal government. When negligence goes unpunished, one unfortunate outcome can be the untimely death of someone’s loved one.
When this happens and healthcare professionals are held accountable for their mistakes, a common theme is for their insurance company to come in with a settlement. Nobody wants to think of their loved ones as items over which to barter a settlement, and insurance companies are counting on the emotions of the situation to guide the family to a quick settlement that is far below what they are entitled to under the law.
Wrongful death actions in Illinois are governed by statute and are defined as a death that is caused by “wrongful act, neglect or default.” The law protects citizens who were injured by another so egregiously that they were not able to bring an action against the wrongdoer themselves solely due to the severity of the injury. In wrongful death actions, the injured person’s family can stand in the stead of their loved one and hold the actor responsible for their actions.
Settlement in Wrongful Death Actions
Settlement in any legal matter can be complex and difficult, but that difficulty is compounded in cases involving wrongful death in nursing homes as the insurance companies of the wrongdoers have a significant advantage over grieving family members. It is important to understand that to an insurance company offering immediate settlements for cases involving their clients, grief can be a tool that can be used to obtain a swift conclusion to their client’s potential liability.
However, settlement in cases of wrongful death is sometimes the best option for families who want to put a bad situation behind them. Luckily for victims of nursing home negligence, Illinois law was recently changed to provide more support in cases where a victim’s family seeks to settle in order to avoid the time and cost that comes with protracted litigation. According to Illinois law, defendants in wrongful death lawsuits who seek to settle with plaintiffs must meet certain deadlines or face significant penalties. For example, a defendant must pay all money owed to a settling plaintiff within 30 days after receipt of settlement documents. These deadlines do not apply to plaintiffs. This may be described as an inequity by defendants, but it could be argued that it balances the equity by providing plaintiffs some protection from overeager insurance providers.
If your family has been affected by the negligence of someone who was trusted to care for a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. in Grayslake today for a consultation. Our attorneys are skilled in Illinois’ wrongful death laws and can help guide you to a fair and equitable outcome.