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Are Nursing Homes Liable When a Resident Falls?

Dec 15, 2016 | Nursing Negligence

According to statistics, approximately 1 to 2 million people aged 65 or older in the United States have been exploited, injured, or mistreated by a caregiver. According to research, roughly 1 of every 14 incidents involving elder abuse in domestic settings is actually reported to local or state authorities.

Also, only 1 in 25 cases of financial exploitation get reported. The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study indicated that approximately 20% of cases involving neglect, abuse, exploitation, or self-neglect are reported.

A common reason that the elderly, as well as their family, might choose the option of a nursing home or assisted living facility is the risk of falling. Therefore, it is reasonable for the resident as well as the family members to expect that the nursing home and its staff will anticipate and account for this type of risk and do everything to ensure that the risk of fall-related injuries is minimized.

When a fall does take place, it does not automatically mean that the home or its employees were at fault from a legal point of view, but incidents like these can rise to the level of malpractice or negligence.

Assessing a Risk of Falling

All skilled nursing homes or facilities are legally obligated to assess the needs and health of each resident properly at intake, and to provide and follow a personalized care plan that will adequately protect the resident’s health and safety.

The care plan of a resident should include a complete evaluation of all factors that might contribute to or cause falls. That means fully considering the health issues of the resident, like:

  • Limitations on mobility
  • General loss of balance and strength
  • Medications that can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or poor reaction time
  • Impaired vision
  • Dementia

The care plan should also provide the resident with assistive devices and equipment that will be required to properly care for the resident and keep them as reasonably safe from falls as possible, including:

  • Assessing safe height for chairs, beds, and toilets
  • Walkers and other equipment to aid mobility
  • Positioning of rails and grab bars
  • Installation of cushioned surfaces

Liability for Falls in a Nursing Home

There are certain incidents that can result in a resident suffering an injury due to a fall. If these occur, it may be likely that you have a viable case for liability against the home or facility:

  • Failure to develop an adequate customized care plan based on the resident’s individual needs and health condition
  • Failure to assess and change the resident’s care plan on a regular basis
  • Failure to provide care, according to the resident’s care plan
  • Failure to use improper care techniques, e.g. in moving the resident from the wheelchair to the bed
  • Failure to follow proper protocol, e.g. concerning resident access to call buttons or care alarms
  • Hiring unqualified staff members or providing inadequate training
  • Understaffing, especially if it prevents the resident from receiving safe and adequate care
  • Failure to repair or resolve environmental hazards in public areas or within a unit, including inadequate lighting, wet floors, and defective flooring

If you or a loved one has suffered a fall-related injury due to nursing home negligence, you should immediately seek the assistance of the medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280. Give us a call, the first meeting is free.

RMFW Law has won millions of dollars for past clients. You too can be on this stellar list but you need to call us first. Take that initiative. The first meeting is free, in fact you really do not pay us anything since if we actually lose you owe us nothing and if we settle or win the case at trial we only take a percentage of the final settlement amount. RMFW Law’s makes all decisions with your blessing and we will keep you informed of the case’s progress.

We only take cases where we believe the chances of winning are in your and our favor.

Call RMFW Law today!