Our elderly loved ones are especially vulnerable when residing in a nursing home or long-term care facility because many cannot advocate for themselves and often rely on the staff for assistance with everyday activities. If you made the tough decision to put someone you love in a nursing home and learn they had a slip and fall accident and are injured, you should know your rights. Our Los Angeles attorneys are here for you and your family.
Common Nursing Home Slip & Fall Injuries
Our elderly are more prone to certain types of injuries, especially harm that is due to a fall.
Some of the most common nursing home injuries include the following:
- Hip fractures,
- Wrist or hand fractures,
- Herniated disc,
- Ankle fracture,
- Spinal cord injury,
- Traumatic brain injury,
- Skull fracture, and
- Compression fracture.
In addition to being more at risk for certain fractures and injuries, it can take longer for elderly individuals to heal and recover.
Causes of Nursing Home Slip and Falls
There are many reasons why nursing home residents may find themselves the victim of a slip and a fall, including problems with the facility, lack of supervision, negligence, inadequate resident care plans, and more. Let’s look at some of the common causes of nursing home falls.
If a nursing home is not fully staffed, it follows that each resident will receive less care. Staff members that are spread too thin are often stressed out and not able to provide the best care. Understaffing can be especially prevalent in government-funded nursing home facilities.
When these facilities cut costs and reduce nursing staff, it can lead to an increase in slip and fall incidents due to:
- Residents who attempt to navigate their room or the facilities on their own;
- Nursing staff skipping safety protocols, such as failing to engage bed rails;
- Overworked nurses who get fatigued and less able to perform their jobs well;
- Failure to adequately train new employees; and
- Failure to hire qualified staff.
Often, understaffing snowballs into other problems and creates additional risks. If you believe your loved one was the victim of a slip and fall due to understaffing, you should consult with a
nursing home slip and fall attorney right away.
Lousy hiring can result in unqualified and unsavory employees. Nursing home facilities are responsible for being diligent and thorough during the hiring process, including performing criminal background checks and checking references.
Unfortunately, not everyone cares for our elderly as they should, and some people have ill intentions. A rigorous hiring process can help ensure the facility employs only the most qualified individuals.
Poorly Positioned Nurses Stations
If nurses’ stations are not positioned close to resident rooms, it can take too long for them to respond to requests for help, resulting in residents falling and injuring themselves. Additionally, residents who are most at risk or who require the most assistance should be placed closest to the nurse’s stations.
Failing to address environmental hazards adequately can be pivotal in nursing home falls.
Environmental hazards can include the following:
- Wet floors and surfaces;
- Rugs that are not adequately secured;
- Inadequate lighting;
- Lack of bed rails, handrails, and other safety equipment; and
- Food or medicine carts and trays that are left in the hallway.
Many nursing home residents have special medical needs that may also put them at an increased risk of falling, such as:
- Loss of strength and flexibility,
- Decreased mobility,
- Lack of balance from certain medications, and
- Impaired vision and hearing.
Nursing home falls can also result from inadequate or negligent care plans. Subpar care plans can lead to medication errors and the failure to provide assistive devices like wheelchairs, canes, or walkers.
Our elderly are some of the most vulnerable people in society, and nursing homes must take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety.
Proving Nursing Home Liability
Proving nursing home liability is like proving any other negligence case. The plaintiff, or injured victim, has the burden of proving the nursing home breached its duty of care. If the plaintiff can establish that the nursing home’s breach caused their injury and that resulted in damages, their case will be successful.
Proving liability for a nursing home slip and fall accident is complex and requires an in-depth knowledge of the law, rules, industry, and court. At Senior Justice Law Firm, our Los Angeles slip and fall nursing home lawyer is well-versed in this process and the law. Nursing home cases often require extensive discovery, the use of experts, and intense litigation. Upon meeting with our team, we will immediately investigate the cause of the fall and who might be responsible.
Average Nursing Home Fall Settlement
Quantifying an average nursing home fall settlement or award can be difficult because each case is unique. The potential damages in one case can differ widely from another. However, upon assessing the possible damages available to your loved one, your attorney can give you a better idea of what to expect.
A nursing home fall victim may be entitled to damages for:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of quality of life.
If your loved one tragically died as a result of their fall, wrongful death damages can also include:
- Funeral costs,
- Loss of companionship,
- Loss of caretaking, and
- Loss of economic benefits to heirs.
Generally, nursing home fall victims and their families will be entitled to the compensatory damages discussed above. However, in cases that involve egregious misconduct, the plaintiff may also receive punitive damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit?
In California, a nursing home fall victim generally has two years from the date of injury to file their claim. This deadline is codified in a law that is referred to as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations can be longer or shorter depending on certain circumstances. We always recommend consulting with an attorney soon after the incident to preserve your rights.
California Slip and Fall Nursing Home Attorney
Whether your loved one told you they had a slip and fall accident or you suspect a fall may have happened, you should know your rights. It is essential to have solid legal representation and a compassionate advocate on your side. The nursing home may be liable for any slip and fall injuries, and you should speak with a Los Angeles nursing home fall attorney at Senior Justice Law Firm immediately. We offer free consultations at your convenience!