Monday, May 18, 2020

$1.025 Million Settlement for Family in Champaign County

The nursing home abuse attorneys at Keating Law Offices secured over one million dollars through a settlement for a family who lost their mother and father at Champaign County Nursing Home. The Champaign County Board agreed to pay the settlement totaling $1,025,000.00.

Despite an aggressive defense waged against the family of the deceased mother and father, attorneys Mike Keating and Tom Reuland gathered enough evidence that the wrongful deaths were the result of nursing home negligence to secure one of the largest settlements in Central Illinois for this type of case. The nursing home claimed that in the case of the father it provided the best care it could under the circumstances and in the case of the mother her unwitnessed fall was an unfortunate circumstance outside of their control.

The case involved the tragic loss of both a father and a mother within weeks of each other. The father of the family committed suicide with an elastic band that nursing staff admitted should not have been left in his room. Medical records indicated he had a history of suicidal thoughts and harmful behavior leading up to his death, yet no psychological evaluation was performed after admission. After his death, the nursing home ultimately revised its training policies regarding residents who exhibit suicidal tendencies.

After the father died, the family’s mother was devastated. Her overall condition worsened and the lawsuit alleged that the nursing facility failed to properly assess and monitor her following changes in her condition. The mother then suffered an unwitnessed fall and hit her head. This fall caused a brain bleed that ultimately led to her death.

Keating Law Offices identified several communication breakdowns and inadequate assessments regarding the mental and physical health of the residents in this case. These types of breakdowns are all too common in nursing homes in Central Illinois and across the country. If your mother or father is a resident in a nursing home, here are a few steps that you can take to help reduce the likelihood of nursing home abuse or neglect:

1) Talk to management about how the staff communicates with each other and with outside physicians. Communication is key when it comes to treating residents in a nursing home. Sometimes nursing home staff needs to take quick action to address a health issue. You want to be sure that the staff communicates quickly and clearly with the people who can help.

2) Be sure that nursing home staff and management fully understand and appreciate the medical history and needs of your parent. Medical histories are an important factor on which nursing facilities create care plans, assign staffing, and order consultations that are tailored to each individual resident. If they don’t know or understand a resident’s medical history, that resident might not receive necessary care.

3) Find out how a nursing home handles staffing problems. At the very least, the facility should comply with applicable legal staffing requirements regarding the number and qualifications of staff. Beyond the basics, how does the facility deal with staffing shortages, absent nurses, or a worker who suddenly quits? Is the staff adequately paid, or are the nurses who are assigned to care for your mother or father exhausted from working too many shifts or moonlighting at another facility just to make ends meet? Be sure that the nursing home management is well prepared to deal with staffing challenges that frequently arise.

Keating Law Offices represents clients in nursing home negligence and abuse cases throughout Illinois. If you suspect that a resident at a nursing home has been injured, abused, or neglected, then you can call 312-239-6787 or click the "chat now" box for a confidential and free consultation with a qualified and experienced attorney.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

What is a Power of Attorney for a Nursing Home Resident?

Family members of nursing home residents or hospital patients are often asked about who has "Power of Attorney" for the family member. Many people feel that because the resident or patient is their spouse or a member of their own family that they automatically have Power of Attorney. But that is not always the case. 

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (“POA”) is a legal document that enables someone else to act on the family member's behalf over important decisions when they are unable to act on their own. The person appointed to handle the legal affairs or make decisions is called an “Agent.” There are few restrictions on who can become the Agent, but you typically want to choose a competent and trustworthy adult you know will always keep the loved one's best interests at heart. Often, people appoint a backup Agent—called a “Successor Agent”—in case the Agent is unable to carryout his or her duties.

The power granted to the Agent can start right away or start only when other conditions are met, such as mental or physical incapacitation. For example, some people decide to establish a POA when they show early signs of an illness that could lead to incapacitation. The POA could specify that the Agent’s powers only begin once a medical doctor has deemed you unable to make decisions on their own.

What Kind of Decisions Can the Person with Power of Attorney Make?

The "power" of the agent with power of attorneys depends on the type of power of attorney that is created. One of the most common types is a POA over healthcare decisions. This type of POA facilitates important medical decisions, often in emergency situations and towards the end of someone’s life. Another type of POA can limit an Agent’s role to managing property and financial affairs. For example, you can appoint someone to handle real estate, taxes, or business operations in the event that you suffer a devastating personal injury that renders you unable to handle those affairs yourself. There is also a type of POA where the Agent has the power to handle both healthcare decisions and financial matters.

Does Illinois Allow for Power of Attorney?

Every state recognizes some form of POA agreements. However, states sometimes have particular rules regarding the form, content, and validity of the agreements in certain situations. In Illinois it easy to obtain basic POAs through the Illinois Power of Attorney Act. This Act has basic forms for a POA over healthcare and a POA over property that are presumed valid when filled out properly.

If you or a loved one have been severely injured and need to invoke a Power of Attorney, the nursing home negligence and abuse attorneys at Keating Law Offices are here to help. Contact us today. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

All Keating Law Offices Attorneys Recognized as 2020 Super Lawyers

CHICAGO, IL – All of the attorneys at Keating Law Offices have been named to the 2020 Illinois Super Lawyers and Illinois Rising Stars list. Super Lawyers makes its selections with a patented multi-phase selection process that evaluates each candidate on twelve indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement on an annual basis. Of all the attorneys in Illinois, only 5% of attorneys receive the distinction of being a Super Lawyer and only 2.5% of attorneys in Illinois receive the Rising Star designation.

Keating Law Offices' founder Michael Keating was named a 2020 Illinois Super Lawyer. Senior Associate Thomas Reuland and Associate Attorney Catelyn Viggiano were named 2020 Illinois Rising stars.

"Everyone at Keating Law Offices is proud of the fact that Super Lawyers has chosen to recognize all of our attorneys.  In particular, we are extremely grateful that the hard work and dedication of Tom Reuland and Catelyn Viggiano was illuminated. This recognition reflects our firm's commitment to our clients and our community at large. It also reflects the results we have been able to consistently deliver to our clients. Keating Law Offices' representation of our clients is a sacred obligation that we take very seriously."

About Keating Law Offices, P.C.

Keating Law Offices is a premiere personal injury and wrongful death law firm. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding Keating Law Offices please contact the firm at 312-239-6787 (Office). Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and absolutely free.