When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you assume that they will get the best care possible. However, nursing home residents sometimes fall due to their age and frail bodies.  On many occasions, the fall could have been prevented if certain systems were in place by the nursing home.  If your loved one has fallen while in a nursing home, one important question you may be asking yourself is, are nursing homes liable for falls?

The short answer to that question is yes. Nursing homes and their staff have the obligation to keep their residents safe.  If they do not do so, and a resident falls because of neglectful actions, the nursing home can be held liable for any injuries caused by the fall.

Why Do Residents Fall in Nursing Homes?

There are many reasons why nursing home residents fall. The age and frailty of the nursing home resident plus nursing home negligence are among the reasons why residents fall.  Some of the facility hazards that contribute to resident falls include:

  • Wet floors
  • Bed height issues
  • Poor lighting
  • Improperly maintained wheelchairs
  • Unstable bed wheels
  • Cluttered living conditions.

If you add to facility hazards the medical and health condition of the residents, falls are bound to happen.  Some of the medical conditions that contribute to nursing home falls include:

  • Use of a walker or cane
  • Weight issues
  • History of falls
  • Being on medications
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Bad eyesight.

Types of Negligence in Nursing Homes

In order to file a lawsuit against a nursing home for a loved one’s injuries, you will need to prove that the nursing home (or its staff) acted in a negligent manner.  There are different types of negligence that nursing homes can be accused of.  Examples include:

  • Unsafe Premises – Failure to maintain a safe physical environment for the residents could be considered negligence.  Residents in nursing homes are already more prone to falls, but if the facility is not satisfactorily maintained, falls could be the result of negligent behavior
  • Employee Negligence – Nursing homes must ensure that their employees perform their jobs correctly.  Many employees should have certifications and requisite training for their positions.  Also, the nursing homes must ensure a staff-to-patient ratio that fits within the law.
  • Unsatisfactory Medical Treatment – Nursing homes must provide their residents with acceptable care and medical treatment.  Any negligent medical care, such as giving a resident the wrong medication, can have serious consequences.
  • Supervision Issues – Because of their frail state, many residents need supervision 24 hours per day, or close to that.  If the nursing home fails to provide enough supervision of the residents, more accidents can occur.

Proving Negligence In a Nursing Home Claim

In order to be successful in a claim against a nursing home, you need evidence to support your claim.  There are three types of elements needed to prove a negligence claim.  Those three elements are:

  • Breach of Duty of Care – First, you will need to prove that the nursing home breached their duty of care, mainly by one of the types of negligence described above.  If you can’t prove that the nursing home had a duty of care and breached that duty, your case will be difficult to prove.
  • Direct Causation – You will also need to prove that the nursing home’s negligence was the direct cause of the resident’s fall and that, if it were not for that negligence, the resident would not have fallen. As an example, if a resident fell off his bed because he wasn’t supervised, and he wouldn’t have fallen off his bed if he was supervised, then you have proved causation.
  • Damages – In order to get compensated for the injuries sustained by the resident, you will need to prove that the victim suffered damages.  Damages include the money you or your loved one will get based on the severity of the injuries.

Preventing Falls in Nursing Homes

In a perfect world, there would never be a fall in a nursing home. While we know that a perfect world does not exist, there are some methods for preventing nursing home falls.  While these are not fool-proof, they will go a long way to help prevent falls from happening.  Some methods to prevent nursing home falls include:

  • Conducting an assessment for risk of falling during the initial meeting with the resident
  • Use of walkers and canes to assist those who are at higher risk of falling
  • Providing staff assistance when residents are moving throughout the facility
  • Putting mats or cushions on the floor beside the residents’ beds to prevent severe injuries if they fall.

What You Should Do If You Think You Have a Claim Against a Nursing Home

Consider this scenario: You walk into your loved one’s room and find her on the floor with injuries.  If you believe that the injury could have been prevented and that the nursing home is negligent, there are certain steps you can take to make sure your claim against the nursing home goes smoothly.  Those steps include:

  • Document any signs of possible negligence, such as bruising on the resident’s body.
  • Take pictures and videos of the scene of the fall.  There may be evidence there that your attorney can use for proof of negligence.
  • Obtain any records from the day of the injury that show whether the resident had any physical symptoms of illness.
  • If you believe that your loved one is being abused and neglected, take the proper steps to get them out of the dangerous situation.

Speak To A Nursing Home Fall Attorney Today

After reading this blog post, you may still ask, “Are nursing homes liable for falls?”

If your loved one experienced a fall while they were a resident of a nursing home, they could receive compensation for their injuries if the nursing home was negligent.  The Mann Law Firm has been representing clients for over 30 years, fighting for their right to compensation.  He worked for many years as defense counsel in a large insurance company, which gives him an edge when going up against them.

Call The Mann Law Firm today at 478-742-3381 for a free consultation.

Attorney David Mann

Attorney David MannBefore leading his own firm, Mann served for several years as in-house defense counsel for a large insurance company, which gives him unique insight into how insurance companies work. He uses this critical knowledge as an advantage for his clients. He is a tough negotiator and litigator, and he is exceptionally strategic in building cases on behalf of personal injury victims.[ Attorney Bio ]

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