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Can I Sue after a Fall in a Nursing Home?

By Stewart J. Guss on February 21st, 2014

Photo by: Journeytorussia

Thousands of nursing home residents are injured in accidental falls each year. In fact, according information published by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between one-half and three-quarters of nursing home residents fall each year. Fortunately, some of these injuries may be compensable through by filing a personal injury claim against the person or facility responsible for your or your loved one’s fall.

elder care home legal rights

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are designed to meet the medical needs of their residents, many of whom may be prone to issues such as poor balance or cognitive difficulties. In addition, both state and federal law require that nursing homes maintain certain standards in regard to patient safety and care. The reality is that these standards are not always followed, sometimes with disastrous consequences for residents. Even when they are followed, nursing home staff may make mistakes that result in injury to patients.

Under the legal doctrine of “negligence per se,” legal standards that imposed by law can operate as the applicable standard of care when trying to determine negligence. To use a simple example, a driver who is driving faster than the speed limit may be deemed “negligent” because he or she was speeding. In the context of nursing homes, the standards are often more complicated and it may be more difficult to show that they were not being followed, but the principle remains the same. As a result, when falls are the result of non-compliance with the applicable state or federal regulations, it may be sufficient to establish legal liability for any losses incurred.

There are many potential ways that a nursing home facility or its staff could negligently cause a resident to fall. Some of the most common include:

·         Lack of supervision

·         Over medication

·         Under medication

·         Lack of handrails

·         Exposed electrical cords

·         Inappropriate activities

·         Inadequate lighting

·         Unsecured facilities

·         Misdiagnosis

·         Medication errors

When older adults fall, the resulting complications can be much more serious than if the same fall happened to a younger person. Hip fractures are of the more common issues associated with older adult falls, and can lead to extremely serious complications. As a result, any time an older adult falls a thorough medical evaluation should be conducted to determine whether any serious injuries exist. When this does not occur, it may establish a departure from the accepted standard of care and can be the basis for legal liability for any damages that a victim sustains.

Nursing home falls can lead to the additional medical treatment, rehabilitation, loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering. These and other losses may be compensable through a personal injury claim against the party or parties responsible for the fall. Attorney Stewart Guss is dedicated to helping victims of nursing home falls recover, and does not collect payment from his personal injury clients unless they recover compensation for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation with Stewart, call our office today at 800-898-4877.


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