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When to File a Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit 

Falls in nursing homes are a significant concern and can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities among residents. When these falls are the result of negligence, North Carolina law allows for legal action to be taken against the responsible parties. At The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, we have experience in representing families and individuals affected by falls in nursing homes, ensuring they receive the justice and compensation they deserve.

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Call us at (866) 907-1145 24/7 to arrange to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, or contact us through the website today.

What Constitutes a Fall in a Nursing Home?

When to File a Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit 

A fall in a nursing home refers to any incident where a resident unintentionally comes to rest on the ground or another lower level, not as a result of an overwhelming external force or medical event such as a stroke. Falls are among the most common accidents in nursing homes, and they can have serious consequences for elderly residents, who may be more susceptible to injuries due to frailty or pre-existing health conditions. Understanding what constitutes a fall and the factors that often lead to these incidents in nursing homes is crucial for prevention and management.

Common Causes of Falls in Nursing Homes

When elderly residents suffer from preventable falls due to oversight or mismanagement, it often indicates negligence on the part of the nursing home. Here are the common causes of falls in nursing homes that could potentially lead to lawsuits:

1. Inadequate Staffing

  • Negligent Supervision: Insufficient staff numbers to provide proper supervision can increase the risk of falls, especially for residents known to be at high risk due to mobility or cognitive impairments.

2. Environmental Negligence

  • Poor Maintenance of Facilities: Hazards such as wet floors, loose carpeting, inadequate lighting, and the absence of necessary safety installations like hand railings can lead to falls. Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that all areas are safe and free of such hazards.
  • Lack of Adequate Railings: Railings are essential in preventing falls, particularly in hallways, bathrooms, and stairwells. The absence or insufficient number of railings in critical areas is a significant oversight and can be a basis for negligence claims.

3. Improperly Maintained Equipment

Nursing homes must keep wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices in proper working order to prevent falls. Neglect in the maintenance of such equipment can lead to accidents and injuries.

4. Lack of Fall Prevention Measures

  • Failure to Assess and Implement Plans: The long-term care facility must evaluate each resident's fall risk and develop personalized fall prevention strategies. Neglecting these assessments or failing to implement necessary measures can be deemed negligence.
  • Inadequate Training: Staff should be well-trained in fall prevention techniques and proper methods for assisting residents. A lack of such training can lead to improper handling of residents, increasing the risk of falls.

5. Violation of Safety Regulations

State and federal regulations govern long-term care facilities, dictating safety standards and care requirements. Non-compliance with these regulations, such as failing to install adequate railings where needed or maintaining proper staffing levels, can lead to legal action.

Common Injuries from a Nursing Home Fall

Falls in nursing homes can result in a range of injuries, which may vary in severity depending on several factors, such as the nursing home resident’s age, physical condition, and the circumstances of the fall itself. These injuries can have significant impacts, affecting the overall health, mobility, and quality of life of elderly residents. Here are some of the most common injuries that can result from a fall in a long-term care facility:

Fractures

  • Hip Fractures: Perhaps the most serious and common fall-related injury among the elderly due to their devastating impact on mobility and independence. Recovery can be lengthy and may require surgery.
  • Wrist and Arm Fractures: Often occur as residents attempt to break their fall with their hands.
  • Pelvic Fractures: These are particularly concerning in elderly patients due to the complications associated with immobilization.

Head Injuries

  • Concussions: Mild traumatic brain injuries that can affect cognitive function and require careful monitoring.
  • Contusions or Hematomas: More serious brain injuries that involve bleeding or bruising within or around the brain, posing significant health risks.

Soft Tissue Injuries

These include bruises, which although often considered minor, can be a sign of more serious underlying trauma, and sprains and strains of ligaments and muscles, which can result from falls, leading to pain and reduced mobility.

Cuts and Lacerations

These injuries can occur if a resident falls against sharp objects or furniture, leading to bleeding, potential infections, and the need for stitches.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Although less common, spinal injuries can occur from falls, especially if the fall impacts the resident’s back. These injuries can range from mild back pain to severe cases involving paralysis.

Psychological Impact

Falls can instill a fear of falling again, leading residents to become less active, further diminishing their physical condition and increasing the risk of additional falls.

Death

In severe cases, especially when significant injuries such as head trauma or hip fractures occur, falls can lead to complications that may result in death.

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Call us at (866) 907-1145 24/7 to arrange to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, or contact us through the website today.

When to File a Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit

Deciding when to file a nursing home fall lawsuit involves assessing the severity of the injuries, the impact on the resident’s quality of life, and the potential need for compensation to cover medical costs and other damages. Here are the key factors to consider when determining the right time to pursue legal action:

Severity of Injuries

  • Significant Harm: If the fall results in serious injuries such as fractures, head injuries, or any condition that requires extensive medical treatment, surgery, or long-term care, it is appropriate to consider filing a nursing home lawsuit. Serious injuries can increase medical expenses and significantly alter the resident's quality of life.

Financial Impact

  • High Medical Costs: When injuries from a fall result in substantial medical bills, ongoing rehabilitation costs, or the need for specialized medical equipment, these financial burdens can be a strong motivator to seek compensation through legal action.
  • Loss of Quality of Life: If the fall and resulting injuries affect the resident’s ability to perform daily activities, contribute to chronic pain, or necessitate significant lifestyle changes, compensation may be sought for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Necessity for Future Care

  • Long-Term Care Needs: Injuries resulting from long-term or permanent disability may require continuous medical care or personal assistance. Filing a nursing home lawsuit can help secure funds to cover these future needs, ensuring that the resident continues to receive the necessary support.

Accountability and Prevention

  • Prevent Future Incidents: If the fall was due to negligence on the part of the long-term care facility, such as poor maintenance of the premises or inadequate staffing, filing a nursing home fall lawsuit cannot only obtain compensation but also hold the facility accountable and encourage better safety practices to prevent future incidents.

How a Nursing Home Fall Lawyer Can Help

We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a fall can take on nursing home residents and their families. If your loved one has experienced a fall due to negligence in a long-term care facility, our dedicated team is here to help. Here’s how our experienced nursing home fall lawyers can assist you through this challenging time:

  • Case Evaluation: Initial consultation to review the circumstances, medical records, and any available evidence.
  • Expert Investigations: Collaboration with medical experts and safety inspectors to establish negligence.
  • Liability Determination: Identifying all potential liable parties, including nursing home staff, management, or maintenance contractors.
  • Damage Calculation: Assessing the full extent of damages, including medical costs, pain and suffering, and potential future expenses.
  • Negotiation and Litigation: Skilled negotiation with insurance companies for fair settlements, and preparedness to take cases to trial if necessary.
  • Support and Guidance: Continuous support throughout the legal process, handling all aspects to allow families to focus on recovery.
  • Contingency Fee Basis: No upfront costs; fees are only collected if compensation is recovered, aligning our interests with yours.

What To Do When a Resident Falls in a Nursing Home

When a resident falls in a long-term care facility, it's crucial for family members to take immediate and informed steps to address the situation and protect their loved one. Here’s a concise list of actions to take:

Immediate Actions

  • Ensure Medical Attention: Confirm that the resident receives immediate medical care to assess and treat injuries.
  • Document the Incident: Request a copy of the long-term care facility incident report and take photos of the fall scene and any visible injuries.
  • Ask Questions: Speak with staff members who witnessed or responded to the fall to understand how and why it occurred.

Follow-Up Care

  • Monitor Health: Ensure ongoing medical treatment and watch for any new or worsening symptoms.
  • Review and Communicate: Discuss the incident with nursing home management to understand how future falls will be prevented.

Reporting and Legal Steps

  • Report to Authorities: If necessary, report the incident to relevant state agencies or the local long-term care ombudsman for further investigation.
  • Consult a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer: Consider consulting with a nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect negligence or abuse contributed to the fall.

Documentation and Records:

  • Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of all medical care, communications, and any other relevant information regarding the incident.

By following these steps, you can effectively respond to a fall, ensuring that your loved one receives the necessary care and attention while protecting their legal rights.

Who is Liable for Injuries Sustained in Nursing Home Fall?

Determining who is liable for injuries sustained in a nursing home fall involves examining the actions and responsibilities of several potential parties within the nursing home environment. Here’s an overview of who might be held liable:

  • Nursing Home Staff and Management: If a fall results from improper care or handling by the nursing home staff, such as failing to assist residents properly or not following safety protocols, both the direct caregivers and the management may be held liable. Management can also be responsible if the fall was due to systemic issues like inadequate training, insufficient staffing, or poor supervision.
  • Facility Owners: Owners of the long-term care facility might be liable if the resident's fall was due to environmental hazards that were not addressed, such as slippery floors, poor lighting, or unsafe furniture and equipment. This also includes failures in maintaining the facility to meet required safety standards.
  • Third-Party Contractors: If the fall involved faulty equipment, such as a broken wheelchair or bed, the manufacturer or the service provider responsible for maintaining that equipment could be held liable.
  • Healthcare Providers: External healthcare providers who contribute to a resident’s fall through inappropriate medical treatment or a failure to diagnose conditions that affect the resident's mobility might also bear responsibility.

Need Help with a Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit?

If you suspect nursing home negligence caused the fall, contact The Law Offices of John M. McCabe today. Our experienced team is ready to help you secure justice and compensation. Call now for a free consultation, and let us advocate for your loved one's rights.


Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit FAQs

What is a nursing home fall lawsuit?

A nursing home fall lawsuit is a legal claim filed against a nursing home, its staff, or other responsible parties when a resident suffers injuries from a fall that could have been prevented. These lawsuits typically allege negligence or failure to provide the standard of care required.

Who can be held liable for a nursing home fall?

Liability in a nursing home fall can extend to:

  • Nursing Staff: For inadequate care or supervision.
  • Nursing Management: For systemic issues such as understaffing or insufficient training.
  • Facility Owners: For failing to maintain safe premises.
  • Equipment Manufacturers: If faulty equipment contributed to the fall.
  • External Healthcare Providers: If improper medical treatment or prescriptions played a role.

What do I need to prove in a nursing home fall lawsuit?

To succeed in a nursing home lawsuit, you typically need to prove:

  • Duty of Care: The assisted living facilities owed a duty to ensure the resident’s safety.
  • Breach of Duty: The home failed to meet this duty through negligence or improper action.
  • Causation: This breach of duty directly caused the fall and resulting injuries.
  • Damages: The resident suffered actual physical, emotional, or financial harm due to the fall.

What types of damages can be recovered?

Damages in a fall lawsuit may include:

  • Medical Expenses: For treatments related to injuries from the fall.
  • Pain and Suffering: For physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the resident.
  • Loss of Quality of Life: If the fall results in long-term impairment.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases of egregious negligence to punish the offending party and deter future negligence.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

The time frame, known as the statute of limitations, varies by state. In many states, you typically have one to three years from the date of the fall to file a lawsuit. It’s important to consult with an attorney promptly to ensure you meet these deadlines.

Should I hire an attorney for a nursing home fall lawsuit?

Navigating a nursing home fall lawsuit involves complex legal and medical issues, making it beneficial to hire an attorney experienced in personal injury and elder law. An attorney can help gather evidence, hire necessary experts, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.

What should I do if I suspect negligence caused a fall?

If you suspect that negligence led to a nursing home fall, take immediate steps to document the incident, get medical help for the resident, and consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can evaluate the situation and advise on the best course of action.

 

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