In a 6-0 decision, late last week March 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in the case of Thomas Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor, Inc. that punitive damages are not allowed under the Nursing Home Care Act in death cases.
This is an unfortunate decision that seems to give nursing homes less incentive to care for the most vulnerable people in our society–the elderly who need care.
While defense attorneys in the matter surely argue that the elderly are sick “already and dying,” we find just the opposite in the cases we have handled–the elderly in cases meet an untimely and early death due to errors in care, abuse and/or negligence–and sometimes willful and wanton conduct that should give rise to punitive damages to send a message to the nursing homes that better care and attention is required so that the next person is not treated similarly.
The key here that should be well-noted is that if you believe a loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home and has not died (fortunately), swift action should be considered to garner potential punitive damages. Do not delay and contact us immediately if you believe this has happened.
You can contact us here 24/7/365 (and we really mean that as we will answer our phone) if you have any questions and to learn how we may be able to help you and your loved one.