Are Nursing Homes Liable for Falls?

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Nursing homes produce glossy brochures and make promises to treat our elderly loved ones with all of the care they need as well as with the dignity and compassion they’ve earned over a lifetime. But despite their caring tones, nursing homes often have high employee turnover rates, overworked and under trained staff, and inadequate supervision. These conditions lead to nursing home neglect that sometimes results in serious harm to elderly residents.

Around 1,800 nursing home residents die each year from fall-related injuries due to falls that occur in nursing homes. Even worse, a recent study suggests that nursing homes only report about 57% of falls in their facilities.

When an elderly family member suffers serious injuries or death due to a fall inside a nursing home facility, is the nursing home liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit? A knowledgeable Louisville nursing home abuse lawyer can provide clarity on this matter

Nursing Home Liability in Fall Injuries and Deaths

Nursing home staff owe a special duty of care to the residents in their facility. This duty requires them to provide medical treatment at the industry-accepted level of care as well as the general duty owed to all people to take reasonable measures to prevent causing injuries. If they breach this duty through an act of negligence and the breach of duty results in serious injury or death, the nursing home is liable for damages the victim and their family members suffer. Common damages claimed for compensation in nursing home falls include the following:

  • Medical expenses and future medical costs related to the injury
  • Related costs
  • Lost wages if family members miss work to care for an injured elderly family member
  • Pain and suffering

If the loved one dies as a result of the nursing home fall, family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Additional compensation in wrongful death lawsuits provides amounts for damages like funeral expenses and burial costs.

Causes of Nursing Home Falls

Elderly patients often suffer from weakness, vertigo, coordination problems, and mobility issues. All of these put them at substantial risk for falls. Frailness and weakened bones put them at extreme risk for fractures and other injuries. Fractures can be very serious in elderly residents, especially fractures of the hips, back, tailbone, and pelvis which cause immobility.

Falls in nursing homes often directly result from negligence on the part of caregivers including the following examples of nursing home negligent actions:

  • One caregiver attempts to move a patient when two are required to transfer the patient safely
  • Clutter and debris left on the floor as  a trip-and-fall hazard
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Lack of safety rails
  • Lack of walking aids
  • Wandering due to dementia

Falls pose a significant risk to the elderly. In some cases, an elderly fall victim’s quality of life plummets after suffering a hip fracture or other disabling injury, causing emotional anguish as well as physical suffering. This sometimes sends them into a decline just when they should be enjoying their final years.

Damages In Nursing Home Fall Cases

Elderly victims often experience serious consequences after a nursing home fall. These consequences are known as “damages” in personal injury or wrongful death claims. Common damages in nursing home neglect cases include the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost income if a family member misses time at work to care for their elderly loved one
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish/loss of enjoyment of life

In wrongful death claims from nursing home falls, the compensation typically includes amounts for funeral and burial expenses.

You trusted the caregivers to provide the exceptional care they promised for your elderly loved one. If your family member suffered due to nursing home neglect and a related fall, they deserve a voice for justice. Contact our Louisville nursing home abuse attorneys today at (502) 210-8942 or online.