Nursing homes are responsible for their residents’ and visitors’ safety and well-being. Anyone who enters the facility and falls due to the negligence of staff and administrators can sue for damages. In short, yes, you can sue a nursing home for a fall that results in an injury.
You will need the assistance of a nursing home fall lawyer near you from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, to discuss your legal options and begin a claim.
What Causes Falls in Nursing Homes?
There are many causes of falls, including:
- Lack of supervision
- Broken handrails
- Exposed cables
- Inadequate lighting
- Inappropriate activities
- Medical conditions
- Lack of security
- Medication errors
Nursing home staff is legally responsible for all residents in the facility, and part of that job requires them to oversee residents and assist those with mobility issues. Some nursing home residents need assistance to walk, use the bathroom, and get out of bed. Staff members cannot be in the room at all times, but policies and protocols allow for consistent monitoring of patients.
Residents who have balance issues need handrails to get around. A broken handrail can contribute to injuries and falls as well. Electric cords are another cause of falls in nursing homes. All electronic devices require plugs and cables, but it is up to the nursing home to keep cables out of the way and not in the path of a resident or visitor.
Residents participate in various daily activities to keep their minds and body active. However, staff must consider how medical conditions and limitations can lead to falls during these activities. Suppose there is a high-risk fall patient; they should not participate in a dance class.
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Are Residents the Only Ones Who Fall?
While residents are in the facility 24/7 since this is their home, they are not the only ones who can fall. Nurses, administrators, staff, and visitors are also at risk of falling. The claim process will look different for each individual.
A nursing home resident will file a claim different from the one their guest can file, but they will both be personal injury. Nurses and caregivers who fall are eligible for workers’ compensation.
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Do Medical Conditions Contribute to Falling Risk?
There are physical and cognitive conditions that can lead to higher fall risks in residents. Additionally, nursing home staff must diagnose and treat new ailments in patients if they misdiagnose an ailment that can cause an unnecessary fall risk. Another issue with misdiagnosis is residents aren’t getting the care they need.
The medical team must ensure the resident and their caregivers are aware of any new limitations or impairments. Medication errors can also lead to higher fall risks because all medications have side effects. Caregivers must administer medications to manage symptoms for the residents.
If they administer the wrong medication or dosage, that can cause them to fall. Residents can be unaware that they cannot walk or that the drug affects them.
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What Injuries Result from Nursing Home Falls?
Elderly individuals have a higher risk of severe injuries because they are frail or have existing medical conditions. Fall victims can suffer traumatic brain injuries, fractured hips, broken bones, spinal injuries, and contusions. Lacerations and contusions are a fancy way of saying cuts and bruises, and older individuals will have a more challenging time healing from these than younger individuals.
Hip fractures are extremely dangerous for older individuals because they can lead to further complications and require surgery. Seniors will be unable to walk without assistance after a hip fracture.
Traumatic brain injuries are another injury from nursing home falls that will impact a resident exponentially. TBIs result in memory loss, confusion, communication issues, mood disorders, and loss of balance.
Spinal cord trauma will heavily impact mobility in elderly adults and anyone who suffers these injuries. Depending on where the injury occurs, it can result in partial or complete paralysis of the limbs. Other side effects of these injuries include pain, loss of sensation, nerve conditions, and more.
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What Medical Treatment Do You Need?
Since there is a range of injuries an individual can suffer, there are also varying medical treatment plans. Nursing home residents must take extra precautions because they have other underlying medical conditions that complicate the treatment process. In addition to their regular medical program, they will now also need fall-related care.
Medical care for nursing home falls includes:
- Emergency room treatment
- Emergency transport
- Hospital admission
- Surgical procedures
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices
- Medical equipment
Some conditions have no pathway to recovery. Rehabilitation after a fall is a long process and requires more extensive procedures for nursing home residents due to immobility and medical conditions. A fall will also result in a loss of quality of life because many residents will have difficulty getting around and recovering.
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Are Nursing Homes Liable for Falls?
Yes, nursing homes and other assisted living facilities are liable for falls. While a nursing home’s goal is to meet residents’ medical needs, they must also keep the premises safe to avoid falls. Residents who have poor balance or other medical conditions are at higher risk of falling.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not take the proper precautions leading to residents and their guests falling.
Why Do You Need GKMB?
When you or a loved one falls in a nursing home, you need a law firm that knows the intricacies of suing a nursing home facility. While liability looks obvious, it is not, and these facilities will not want to offer you the compensation you deserve. It is essential that you work with Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, & Montesi, PLC, to prove duty and breach of duty and devise a strategy that gets you the best results.
The goal and responsibility of nursing home staff and caregivers are to make sure residents are safe above all else; a fall is a prime example of negligence.