When you trust a nursing home to care for yourself or a loved one, you want to believe they will keep you and your family safe. With more than 1.3 million Americans residing in nursing homes, safety should be a priority. Unfortunately, approximately half of all nursing home residents have suffered a fall within the last year. Those harmed by nursing home falls and fractures may be eligible to file a nursing home falls lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a fall in a nursing home, the Chicago nursing home falls attorneys at Senior Justice Law Firm can help. We can help you understand what your rights are after a nursing home fall and what steps to take as you are healing. Contact us to speak with a nursing home fall lawyer in Chicago today.
What Are the Causes of Nursing Home Falls?
Nursing home falls can be caused by a combination of factors related to the resident’s physical condition, the environment of the facility, and the level of care provided. Regardless of the reason, a nursing home has a responsibility to keep its residents safe. Below are some common causes of nursing home falls.
Balance Issues and Mobility Impairments
Many nursing home residents have physical limitations, such as muscle weakness, balance issues, and mobility impairments, that make them more susceptible to falls. Vision problems can also make it difficult for residents to navigate their surroundings safely. If a nursing home is understaffed or fails to provide your loved one with required assistive devices, you may be able to recover damages.
Residents with cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, may be disoriented or confused, increasing their risk of falling.
Medication Side Effects
Some medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or changes in blood pressure, which can contribute to falls. This issue can be especially prevalent if a nursing home does not provide adequate medication monitoring or access to medical treatment.
Wet or Slippery Floors
Spills, wet floors, or poorly maintained flooring and facilities can create hazardous conditions that lead to slips and falls. Poor lighting and environmental hazards, like loose area rugs or power cords, can make it difficult for residents to see obstacles and navigate safely, particularly at night.
Improper or Defective Safety Equipment
Incorrectly installed or improperly used bed rails or wheelchair restraints can result in falls when residents attempt to get in or out of bed or a chair. Nursing homes may also fail to routinely inspect or maintain equipment, leading to falls, fractures, and other injuries. Improper equipment can also lead to improper transfers from wheelchairs or beds, and result in injuries.
Regardless of the reason for the fall, nursing homes need comprehensive fall prevention protocols, including regular assessments of fall risks for each patient, appropriate staffing levels, clear communication among staff, maintenance of a safe environment, and personalized care plans.
Are Nursing Homes Liable for Falls?
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act requires nursing homes to maintain individualized fall risk assessments for each patient and update them annually. Failure to do this can result in nursing home liability. Using physical restraints instead of monitoring patients and conducting adequate risk assessments does not limit nursing home liability.
What Claims Do You Have If You or a Loved One Was the Victim of Nursing Home Negligence?
If you have fallen while in the care of a nursing home, you may have one of the types of claims listed below. These are only examples of typical claims, and a nursing home fall attorney in Chicago can review the facts of your individual case to formulate a legal strategy.
If the nursing home staff or management failed to provide proper care, supervision, or maintenance, which led to the fall, you may have a negligence claim. The nursing home may be liable for negligence if you can prove it breached its duty to provide a safe environment for its residents, leading to the fall and subsequent injuries and losses.
Nursing homes have a duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition. If a hazardous condition, such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, or inadequate lighting, contributed to the fall, you may be able to pursue a premises liability claim.
If the fall occurred due to the negligent actions of medical personnel, such as a failure to properly assess a patient’s risk of falling, inadequate medication management, or improper use of restraints, talk with a lawyer about a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice claims focus specifically on the negligence of healthcare professionals.
Breach of Contract
You do not need a contract to pursue many types of claims against a nursing home. But if there was a contractual agreement between you and the nursing home, the circumstances leading to your fall may have constituted a breach of that contract. Nursing home contracts typically promise residents proper care and a safe environment. You may be able to pursue a breach of contract claim if the nursing home’s actions fell short of these commitments.
If a nursing home fall results in a resident’s death, their family may pursue a wrongful death claim. This type of claim seeks compensation for the loss of a loved one due to the nursing home’s negligence.
Pain and Suffering
In addition to claims related to medical expenses and economic losses, individuals who experience pain, suffering, and emotional distress as a result of a nursing home fall may seek compensation for these intangible damages.
Pursuing a claim against a nursing home after a fall can be complex. The specific legal options available will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Be sure to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in nursing home negligence or personal injury law after a fall. Senior Justice Law Firm can provide valuable guidance in determining the appropriate course of action and can help you stand up for your rights.
What Rights Do Nursing Home Fall Victims Have?
While state laws may provide additional protection, residents of facilities that participate in the Medicare program have the following federal rights:
- Be treated with respect,
- Participate in your facility’s programs and services,
- Be free from discrimination,
- Live comfortably and without discrimination from staff or the facility,
- Be free from abuse and neglect,
- Live in the facility without the use of physical restraints,
- Make complaints to facility management or to the government,
- Receive proper medical care and refuse treatments,
- Use your own doctor,
- Have your representative or a member of your family notified if anything happens to you,
- Be told how much things cost and manage your own money if you desire,
- Have privacy and appropriate living arrangements,
- Spend time with family and other visitors, and
- Leave the facility if you desire.
This is not an exhaustive list, and you may have additional rights guaranteed by state or federal law. If you feel that your rights or the rights of a loved one have been violated, contact one of our Senior Justice Law Firm nursing home attorneys today. We can fight for your rights after nursing home neglect, abuse, or a fall.
What Can a Chicago Nursing Home Falls Lawyer Do for You?
At Senior Justice Law Firm, our Chicago nursing home attorneys specialize in helping clients fight nursing home abuse. We know that nursing home residents are at a higher risk of falling than the general population due to their physical limitations. When we take a nursing home abuse case, we focus on the following steps to help clients obtain the compensation they deserve.
Our work for you includes gathering medical records and incident reports. We will interview witnesses and collect witness statements to support your case. We also obtain facility records to get to the bottom of what caused your fall.
We can also assess whether the nursing home or its staff can be held legally responsible for your fall. This involves examining whether the facility adhered to proper protocols, provided adequate supervision and assistance, and maintained a safe environment. We can also assist if your fall was due to defective or outdated equipment and hold that party responsible.
Filing a Claim with the Right Parties
If you have been injured in a nursing home fall, we can file a claim on your behalf. Whether you want to make a complaint with the Illinois State Ombudsman or other regulatory agency, or if you want to take your case to court, we can help.
Speak with Our Experienced Chicago Nursing Home Falls and Fractures Lawyers
No one expects to be injured in a nursing home fall, especially if you have chosen a facility based on its safety record. Whether you want compensation for your injuries or want answers about why you fell to prevent it from happening again, the Senior Justice Law Firm can help you understand your rights and plan your next steps. We are here to help. Our nursing home attorneys offer as much information as possible to help you understand your current circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation and to learn how to get justice.