Families with loved ones in nursing homes trust that nursing home staff will follow appropriate standards of care to keep elderly residents healthy, comfortable and, most importantly, safe. Unfortunately, negligence in nursing homes results in the injury and death of thousands of elderly Americans each year. Of the many types of injuries that can occur in long-term care facilities, one of the most serious is burns.
Causes of Nursing Home Burns
There are many ways in which nursing home misconduct can result in burns or scalding. Residents may be exposed to dangerously hot water when staff members fail to check the water temperature of a bath, for instance. Patients with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can become badly burned when using heated devices such as curling irons or coffee makers without adequate supervision. Elderly residents allowed to smoke may suffer cigarette burns or even start a fire that threatens their life and the lives of other residents. Thinner skin, diminished senses and limited mobility can reduce an elderly person’s reaction time, allowing for more severe burn injuries.
When someone you love has suffered a burn injury or death in a nursing home, it’s only natural to wonder what could have been done to prevent the accident. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are required by law to comply with strict standards and inspections aimed at preventing fires, burns and other hazards. When nursing homes fail to uphold an appropriate standard of care, they may be legally liable for injuries sustained by residents.
Some of the most common causes of burns in nursing homes and long-term care facilities include, but are not limited to:
- Exposure to hot or scalding water, such as during a bath or shower
- Contact with radiators or heaters
- Use of heated appliances, such as coffee makers, stovetops, microwave ovens, and curling irons
- Unsupervised cigarette smoking or candle burning
- Accidental fires
Nursing home residents who suffer serious burn injuries face a long and painful road to recovery, if they are able to recover at all. Many burn victims are left disfigured, disabled, and in chronic pain. Unable to regain their strength due to already declining health, elderly burn victims may experienced depression and diminished quality of life in their final years. Families of the injured are often burdened with medical bills, the need to find a higher level of care, and an understandable amount of emotional distress. When nursing home negligence or misconduct contributes to burn injuries, victims and their families may be entitled to significant financial compensation for these losses.
Holding Illinois nursing homes accountable for burn injuries
Statistics show that serious injuries such as burns are most likely to occur in nursing homes that are understaffed or staffed by poorly trained employees. However, there is no excuse for neglect or lack of supervision that robs elderly patients of their health and their lives. When burns happen, it’s important to determine who is at fault. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Offices have 65 years of experience successfully representing burn victims and their families. We know how to recognize nursing home neglect and abuse – and how to expertly investigate claims, build strong cases, and obtain justice on behalf of our clients.
Senior citizens should have the right to live out their lives in peace and comfort. Our Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys are dedicated to stopping nursing home abuse and helping injury victims and their families recover the damages and dignity they deserve. If someone you love has suffered a preventable injury or death in a nursing home, call us today at (312) 346-4262 or contact us online to discuss your legal options during a free no-obligation consultation.