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Areas of Practice

Nursing Home Claims

Nursing home abuse and neglect is ever increasing in our society. If you believe that a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home you can report it to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s 24 hour hotline at (800) 252-4343. Nursing home claims typically fall within the following categories:

Fall Cases

A fall in a nursing home can result in serious injury and deceased life expectancy of a nursing home resident. Pursuant to federal regulations, every resident, upon admission, must be assessed to determine if they are a fall risk. If a resident is a fall risk, then the nursing home must create a care plan to eliminate or significantly reduce the fall risk. There is likely a meritorious fall case when a resident’s chart is devoid of fall risk assessments and fall care plans. This is especially true when a resident has a prior history of falls or ambulatory injuries. A fall care plan needs to be individualized to the particular resident based on the resident’s specific physical and mental limitations. If you believe your loved one was injured as a result of a fall in a nursing home, you should contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.

Wandering/ Elopement Cases

These cases typically involve dementia-behaviorally challenged nursing home residents that wander and/or elope from a nursing home. The resident is found injured or dead either outside the nursing home or in the stairwells of the nursing home. Investigation usually reveals that a nursing home was not equipped to protect the resident’s safety.

Medication Errors

Medication errors occur when a nursing home either fails to provide physician ordered medication or provides the wrong medication in name or dosage. A nursing home must immediately notify the resident’s physician and family of medication errors per the federal regulations.

Decubitus Ulcer/ Pressure Sores

Pressure sores are a serious health risk to any nursing home resident. Pressure sores have the ability to cause infection, sepsis, osteomyelitis, and death. Pursuant to the federal regulations every nursing home resident must be assessed upon admission for current and future skin breakdown. A care plan detailing interventions to treat and/or prevent pressure sores must be in the chart. A common defense to pressure sore claims is that the sore was unavoidable despite proper care. Consideration of the nursing home resident’s chart, past medical history, and the circumstances of the formation of the pressure sore is essential to determining whether there is a meritorious claim.

Malnutrition & Dehydration

Usually occurs when a patient is transferred from a hospital to a nursing home for rehabilitation or long-term care. Federal regulations require a malnutrition/nutrition assessment upon admission of a nursing home resident. If there is a risk of malnutrition/dehydration, a care plan must be created for the resident. If you believe your loved one was neglected in a nursing home, you should contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.

Physical Abuse

A nursing home is responsible for its employee’s physical abuse of a resident under the Nursing Home Care Act. Additionally, a nursing home can be responsible when one nursing home resident physically abuses another nursing home resident. In physical abuse case it is imperative that the abuser and witnesses be identified immediately. Potential witnesses are usually other nursing home residents and their testimony needs to be preserved for trial due to their age and underlying health conditions. A nursing home will attempt to stall and delay identification of the abuser and/or witnesses under some vague claims of privilege. It is imperative to get a competent litigation attorney involved on your side immediately to preserve and collect evidence and testimony necessary for the prosecution of the nursing home. If you believe a loved one has been physically abused in a nursing home you can report it to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s 24 hour hotline (800) 252-4343.

Sexual Abuse

A nursing home is responsible if its employee sexually abuses a resident. A nursing home can also be liable if one of its residents sexually abuses another resident. In a sexual abuse case it is imperative that the abuser and any witnesses be identified immediately. Potential witnesses’ testimony will need to be preserved. Any physical evidence needs to be collected, documented, and preserved. A nursing home will attempt to stall and delay identification of the abuser, witnesses, and may even alter or destroy physical evidence of a crime. It is imperative to get a competent litigation attorney involved immediately to protect the rights of your loved one. If you believe that a loved one has been sexually abused in a nursing home you can report it to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s 24 hour hotline (800) 252-4343.

Auto & Trucking Accidents

An auto & trucking accident can result is serious injury and/or death of a loved one. Medical expenses mount, wages are lost, and a family suffers. More semi tractor-trailers are on the road than ever before. Most drivers have liability insurance. An insurance company has competent investigators and defense attorneys that are working hard to limit the liability of the person(s) and/or company(ies) responsible for the crash. In an auto or trucking accident you deserve to have a competent litigation attorney to protect your rights.

Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist Claims

In some instances a driver responsible for the collision either has no insurance or may not have enough insurance coverage. In this case, it is imperative to determine there is uninsured motorist coverage and/or underinsured motorist coverage and file a claim with your own insurance carrier as soon as possible to protect your rights. In an underinsured and/or uninsured motorist claim your own insurance carrier stands in the shoes of the underinsured and/or uninsured motorist that caused the collision.

Premises Liability

This area of the law generally consists of a the liability of an owner and/or possessor of property for injuries and death as a result of slips, trips, or other exposures to dangerous conditions existing on a property. Owners and/or possessors of property may have liability for criminal acts of other persons occurring on a premises resulting in either injury or death. Common examples include liability of big box stores for merchandise falling from high shelves injuring or killing a shopper. Other examples of premises liability claims include injuries from slipping or falling on conditions existing on a floor of a premises such as dropped food, standing water from a recently mopped floor, improperly maintained conditions on the premises that lead to injuries and/or death.

Liability for criminal acts of a third-party can result when a property owner and/or possessor is on notice that a criminal act is likely to occur, and there is a special relationship between person entering the property and the property owner and/or possessor.

Construction Negligence

In some instances a worker injured or killed on a jobsite not only has a claim against his employer for worker’s compensation benefits but may also have a claim against the general contractor. Claims may also exist against subcontractors on the jobsite for the creation of a dangerous condition. A common defense to a construction negligence claim is that the general contractor owes no duty to a subcontractor’s employee injured or killed on a jobsite. The determination of whether a meritorious claim for construction negligence exists requires evaluation of facts of each individual case by a competent litigation attorney.

Dramshop

This is a type of claim created by the legislature allowing any person injured by and intoxicated person in Illinois in person or property to make a damages claim against any person or company licensed under the laws of the state of Illinois to sell alcoholic liquor that causes the intoxication of the person that caused the injuries. The amount of damages recoverable in a Dramshop claim is limited by Liquor Control Act.

Other Illinois Statutes impose liability on persons providing alcoholic beverages to underage persons who then cause injuries to others.

Product Liability

When a person is injured or killed by the use of a product a manufacturer may be responsible under product liability law. The various theories of liability are to numerous to list but generally include design defect, manufacturing defect, and/or warning defect. Common examples of product liability cases could include liability for adulterated foods resulting in injury or death; improper design of products; failure to warn a consumer about a risk of injury inherent in the use of a product. Any potential claim for products liability should be evaluated by a competent litigation attorney.

Employment Law

Wrongful Discharge/Retaliatory Discharge

In Illinois, an employer may discharge an “at-will” employee at any time and for any reason. However, the law places some limits on an employer’s right to discharge an “at-will” employee. Illinois has recognized the tort of retaliatory discharge. The tort of retaliatory discharge is an exception to the general rule that an “at-will” employee is terminable at any time for any or no cause. A discharged “at-will” employee may have legal recourse against his/her former employer for wrongful discharge/retaliatory discharge in following instances:

Retaliatory Discharge For Exercising Workers’s Compensation Rights

Your employer cannot terminate you for seeking compensation for a work related injury under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act. 820 ILCS 305/4(h). Contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free no obligation consultation as soon as possible if you believe that you were terminated for making a claim for worker’s compensation benefits against your employer.

Retaliatory Discharge Public Policy Exception

The public policy exception is a narrow exception to an employer’s right to discharge an “at-will” employee. An essential element to this cause of action is that the discharge must have violated a “clearly mandated public policy.” There is no precise definition of the term “clearly mandated policy.” Illinois courts generally find that policies affecting the health, property, lives, and safety of citizens will support a cause of action for retaliatory discharge. Courts have generally allowed retaliatory discharge claims when an employee has been discharged for reporting illegal or improper conduct, otherwise known as “whistle blowing.” If you believe that you were terminated in retaliation for reporting your employer’s illegal or improper conduct, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free no obligation consultation. Courts have found the tort of retaliatory discharge properly alleged in the following circumstances:

  1. Nursing home employee terminated for reporting violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Act and other health and safety regulations to the Illinois Department of Public Health properly stated a claim for common law retaliatory discharge. In another case a nursing home employee who reported to the nursing home administrator what she believed were instances of neglect at the nursing home properly stated a cause of action for retaliatory discharge. Unfortunately nursing homes commonly retaliate against employees that report or complain about neglect and abuse of nursing home residents to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  2. Employee terminated for reporting OSHA violations stated a cause of action for retaliatory discharge.
  3. Employee terminated for reporting employer’s health code violations stated a cause of action for retaliatory discharge.

Illinois Whistleblower Act 740 ILCS 174/1, et seq

The Illinois Whistleblower Act prevents an employer from retaliating against an employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of State or federal law, rule or regulation. The Illinois Whistleblower Act prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for refusing to participate in a violation of State or federal law, rule, or regulation. The Illinois Whistleblower Act only protects employees that report an employer’s violation of State or federal law, rule, regulations to government or law enforcement agencies. Contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free no obligation consultation if you believe you were retaliated in violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act.

Employment Discrimination

It is generally a violation of both federal and Illinois law to disparately treat persons on the basis of race, gender, age, disability, religion, and national origin. It is a violation of law to harass employees on the basis of their race, gender, age, disability, religion, and national origin. Employment discrimination law is complex and requires assessment of the facts of each individual case to determine whether there is a meritorious case, and determine whether certain prerequisites have been followed, including but not limited to the timely filing of appropriate charges with various governmental regulatory agencies such as the EEOC and/or the Illinois Department of Human Rights before any lawsuit can be filed. As a result of a change in Illinois law, jury trials can now be sought in the Illinois Circuit Courts, making it necessary to determine whether a potential discrimination claim should be filed in either the Illinois Circuit Courts or the Federal District Courts. Contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects members of the armed forces from discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment (hiring, compensation, promotions, termination) and prohibits employers from retaliating against any employees involved in the investigation and enforcement of USERRA violations. The USERRA requires, in most cases, a member of the uniformed services be reinstated to the position he/she would have held had he/she not left for military service. If you believe your employer has violated the USERRA, you may have a right to file a private lawsuit. Remedies include: injunctive relief; lost wages and benefits; liquidated damages, if your employer’s violation of the USERRA was willful; and attorney’s fees and litigation costs. If you believe your rights have been violated under the USERRA, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.

Federal Employer’s Liability Act

Railroad employees injured in the course of their employment have a cause of action against their employer under a federal statute known as the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA), 46 U.S.C. §§51-59, rather than a worker’s compensation claim. FELA provides for a cause of action against any common carrier by railroad in interstate commerce arising out of the injury or death of an employee. The railroads have claim agents working hard to eliminate or significantly reduce an injured employee’s recovery. You should have an aggressive attorney working hard on your side, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free no obligation consultation.

Animal Control Act

Owners or keepers of animals that cause physical harm to persons may be liable for damages under the Animal Control Act 510 ILCS 5/16. Additional common law theories of liability may also be available. If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog or other animal contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free no obligation consultation.

If you believe that a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home or you have been wronged in some way, contact Brain J. Graber, Ltd., for a free no obligation consultation