Fractured Ankle Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home
Demanding justice after an ankle fracture occurs inside a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Our nursing home broken ankle attorneys understand that nursing homes must be held accountable for the improper care that leads to fractured ankles and other injuries. If someone you love has sustained an injury or even passed away as a result of neglect at a nursing home, you deserve compensation—not only for the bills accrued during this time but also for the suffering your family has endured. This includes preventable ankle fractures that occur in a healthcare facility setting.
Elderly patients gradually experience a greater decline in mobility over time, and a broken bone in a vital area such as the ankle can spell disaster for their physical and mental well-being. If a fractured ankle occurs while a resident is under the care of a nursing home facility, the incident should be reported to the appropriate welfare services for investigation. You do not need to simply accept that your family member’s accidental ankle fracture is a “normal” part of living in a long-term care facility.
Free Nursing Home Ankle Fracture Case Consultation
If someone you love has suffered a broken bone or fractured their ankle in a nursing home—whether they were dropped by staff, injured by another resident or something else—you deserve compensation. Our nursing home fall attorneys understand that this is a challenging time for your family and seek to remove as much stress and confusion as possible. We will never charge you for our services up front, and we only accept payment if we secure a recovery in your case.
You have legal rights if your loved one suffered a broken ankle in a nursing home, so reach out to us at 888-375-9998 or via our online message system to get started on the next steps.
Fractured Ankles Are Not a “Normal” Nursing Home Event
It is the job of each and every nursing home to properly protect residents against injury whenever possible. This includes not only careful and gentle handling of the residents themselves but also comprehensive fall prevention plans and other safety measures that keep individuals out of harm’s way. Despite this, it is estimated that one in three residents will sustain a fall injury each year.
While the most common broken bones following a fall are in the pelvic region, ankle fractures are the third most frequent bone injury. Some studies suggest a correlation between patient mortality and ankle fractures, with more than twice as many (15.4%) of individuals passing away within one year of their broken ankle in a nursing home versus at home. Ankle fractures pose a major health risk in elderly patients.
Nursing homes are responsible for safeguarding residents whenever possible. Even if a fall or other injury is an accident, a facility must prove that it did everything possible to prevent that accident from occurring—and in our experience, a large number of nursing homes do not uphold this duty.
Preventing Fractured Ankles in Nursing Homes
The installation of safety precautions in order to mitigate the risk of falls, broken bones, and other injuries is legally mandatory for nursing homes. While each facility may approach this task using a variety of interwoven strategies, some of the most common include:
- Consistent supervision by members of staff, including check-ins every few hours
- Proper maintenance of the building to prevent trip hazards such as cracked flooring or bunched carpet
- Use of lifts for the purpose of moving residents, as well as mandatory involvement of at least two members of staff during transfer
- Call bells residents can use whenever they need to speak with staff or require assistance
- Socks with no-slip coating on the soles to prevent falls
How Ankle Fractures Occur in Nursing Homes
Ankle fractures can happen in a variety of ways, and if someone you love has suffered this injury in a nursing home, you may have been told that it was the result of the natural aging process. As bones age, they tend to become more brittle and prone to fractures. However, it is important to remember—ankles do not spontaneously break, and among the bones that can suffer sudden cracking due to osteoporosis, the ankle is associated with no greater risk of breakage than average.
Instead, ankle injuries in nursing home are most commonly associated with resident falls—many of which are preventable by the facility—or negligence on the part of caregivers, who may drop the resident. Drop injuries are the most frequent and tend to occur during the process of transferring the individual from one location to another. Ankles can get caught in the process of moving or can be twisted at unusual angles, especially if the nursing home does not employ sufficient staff to adequately handle the transfer.
It is in fact very common for a single person to be responsible for transferring a resident from bed to a sling or wheelchair, even though guidance indicates that at least two professionals should be present. It is important that you investigate the true cause behind your loved one’s injury, and our nursing home abuse law firm can help you to do that.
Treatment Options for a Broken Ankle
Treatment for a fractured ankle can be done relatively conservatively; unfortunately, the treatments required can put elderly residents of nursing homes in even greater danger if the facility is already demonstrating negligent behaviors. One of the most important elements of fracture recovery is elevated rest, which requires keeping the affected ankle above heart level for an extended period of time. Nursing homes with inadequate levels of care may not properly prevent the development of bedsores (sometimes called decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers) during this healing phase.
How long a fractured ankle takes to recover will also depend upon the type of injury. A comminuted fracture—in which the bone is broken into more than two pieces—takes the longest to heal alongside open fractures that break through the skin. However, if your loved one suffered only an extra-articular fracture that did not extend into the ankle joint itself, recovery may be simpler.
Potential Damages for Ankle Fractures in Nursing Homes: How Much Is the Settlement?
An older individual who suffers a broken ankle will, on average, spend longer in recovery than their younger peers. With the median inpatient stay for such a fracture and the immediate rehabilitation sitting at about five days, your loved one will already be facing not only the stress and suffering of the injury but also the costly medical bills. Ankle fractures vary in severity, so you may expect anywhere from a few thousand to upwards of $50,000 in medical bills for critical procedures to restore the use of the joint.
If you elect to bring legal action against a nursing home for your loved one’s injury, you can attempt to secure these costs as damages. If successful, you can be compensated for medical bills as well as your loved one’s emotional and physical suffering.
Each case is unique, which means that there is no way to predict ahead of time exactly how much you might expect to receive if you succeed in your lawsuit. However, our nursing home abuse law firm often settles claims for broken bones, including ankle fractures, with many of these cases closing at six figure settlements. This means you could be entitled to anywhere from $100,000 to just shy of $1,000,000 depending on the details of your case.
Should I File a Lawsuit for a Broken Ankle in a Nursing Home?
Regardless of the condition of your aging loved one, a fractured ankle is not a “normal” or expected part of growing older in a nursing home. Studies indicate that elderly individuals who sustain traumatic injuries such as broken bones experience higher morbidity than those who are protected from these incidents, and so it is important to realize that your loved one deserves—and should expect—high-quality care that works to prevent such damage.
Your loved one also deserves compensation for the vulnerability and emotional anguish that they endure, not only from the injury itself, but from the resulting changes to their lives. They are robbed of their mobility and independence, and this may result in increased agitation or even depression.
If you suspect that your loved one’s ankle fracture was preventable or the result of abuse or neglect, it is vital that you reach out for legal assistance as soon as possible after the event. Our fractured ankle lawyers will investigate the details of the injury at no cost to you, and if we determine that the break was preventable and the fault of the nursing home, we can advise you on what to do next to bring a lawsuit. We will not take the nursing home at their word—and neither should you. Always be sure to investigate or reach out to someone who can help you to do so.
Remember: your lawsuit can help more than just you. If you hold a nursing home accountable for its negligent behavior, you could save the lives of other residents who benefit from amended practices and a higher quality of care thanks to your case.
Questions About Fractured Ankles in Nursing Homes? Our Abuse and Neglect Attorneys Can Help
Our nursing home neglect law firm is happy to discuss the potential next steps after a nursing home injury during a free consultation. Call us now at 888-375-9998 or fill out the free case evaluator below.