Falls are a part of life at any age. However, as people near the twilight years of their lives, they present more serious threats, injuries, and costs. In nursing homes, we consistently see residents fall off their chairs, beds, toilets, and other surfaces.
The frequency of these accidents nearly rivals the toll they take on their victims: broken bones; concussions; medical bills; and even death. To highlight the issue of fall accidents in care facilities in more detail, we have summarized some New Jersey nursing home lawsuits below:
$200,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. This case kicked off when a female nursing home resident was discovered on the ground in her washroom alone and in pain. She couldn’t up by herself and from the reports of people that initially entered the scene it seemed as though she was seriously hurt.
From the evidence collected later, it was easy to confirm that she tried to get help using the bathroom before she went herself. Yet, the reports were not definitive as to how many times she tried to obtain assistance or even if those calls were fielded by any of the nursing home staff.
Fortunately, she eventually was found and employees switched into double time in order to get her to the emergency room as fast as possible. Once she arrived at that facility, she was quickly seen by physicians and specialists in order to figure out what happened and how it could be corrected.
They surveyed the damage that the nursing home fall accident did to her: broken bones in her legs and hands; various scars and lacerations; and multiple contusions. After a prolonged stay at the nursing home, she was discharged. However, the incident left her with substantial long-term pain and discomfort.
To recover for the pain, expense, and disabilities that the event caused her, she sued the nursing home for damages.
Her lawsuit stated that the defendant nursing facility owed her a duty at all times to protect her well-being and that it breached that duty when it allowed her to fall and injure herself. The nursing home returned volley with a contributory negligence defense.
It contended that the woman caused her own injuries and that as such she should pay for them herself. Yet, faced with the prospect of making this case to a sympathetic jury, it opted to settle and compensated the woman in the amount of $200,000.
Here some salient facts to keep in mind about this New Jersey nursing home settlement:
- It far surpassed her direct expenses, medial and otherwise, but
- It still was far below the median New Jersey nursing home settlement.
$500,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. The resident that was victimized in this cause of action was in his early eighties. He had been living at the home at the center of the dispute for a few years before the incident but had previously stayed at a few other facilities as well.
The facts and circumstances of the incident were relatively basic. He fell out of bed in the middle of the night while he was sleeping. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reach his phone to call for assistance. It took several hours before the employees of the nursing home found him after they heard his cries for help. They quickly phoned for emergency transportation and arranged for him to be taken to the hospital.
Without much waiting at the E.R., he was taken in by a doctor and examined for injuries. The physician very swiftly identified the major problem. He sustained a concussion as well as a number of other minor injuries such as a broken finger and pulled muscles.
After a substantial amount of time in recovery, he was dismissed from that hospital but admitted to a different nursing home. In short order, he filed a case against the facility where the nursing home fall accident occurred. His complaint predictably charged it with negligent procedures, supervision, training, and care.
It sought compensation for the medical and other bills that accrued, pain it caused, and long-term impairment it created. Also, predictably, the defendant facility either demurred or denied all of these points. However, after a long exchange of back and forth prior to trial, it eventually agreed to settle.
Here are a few reasons that explain the high settlement value of this lawsuit:
- It deviated from tradition in not installing bed rails;
- The state was investigating the matter; and
- The accident did leave him with significant, long-term impairments.
$100,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. This suit started as a scuffle that had unfortunate consequences for one of the residents involved in the altercation. Nursing home staff and other workers were attempting to transport him from the facility to an offsite medical center.
However, he became unruly and disagreed that he should be taken there against the advice of his doctors. Apparently, at the time of this misunderstanding and subsequent fall, he was suffering from dementia and other health issues.
Therefore, staff were trying to strap him down and take him to the medical center but he fell down and injured himself. The injuries significant and necessitated medical attention and treatment. The victim and his lawyers considered legal action because of the costs involved as well as the pain that came from the experience.
Putting the issue of the man’s own confrontational conduct aside, their view was that nursing home staff did not properly take his condition into account. They argued that he should have been medicated prior to transport and that this failure was a contributing factor to the fight and fall.
The one thing the plaintiff had going for him was that the defendant home had a history of being sued for falls. Therefore, it was eager to end the litigation and move on from the affair.
Thus, the plaintiff was offered a settlement amount and the matter was removed in due time.
$250,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. The resident who filed this lawsuit in New Jersey was a little over seventy years old. Before the fall accident which initiated this cause of action, he was already dealing with a number of pre-existing injuries and conditions from his time in the armed service as well as from past accidents.
However, that did not excuse what transpired here. He needed help getting around the nursing facility most of the tie and often used a walker, wheelchair, or cane. Normally, this attracts the concern of care facilities and they increase the pre-cautions and care they spend on the resident.
Yet, it appears that that was not what happened in this case. Instead, they merely left him to himself for the most part and that did not go well. On one early morning, he attempted to walk outside onto the nursing yard but fell down and hurt himself. Some of the past injuries flared up and some new ones emerged.
He needed to go to the emergency room, undergo various corrective treatments and procedures, and spend a considerable amount of time in rehabilitation. This cost him money, gave him pain, and left him crippled. He sued the nursing home for negligence in court and alleged injury, negligence, and damages.
The defendant denied it was at fault but it couldn’t explain the following errors so it shifted gears and offered to settle:
- There was no staff outside supervising him;
- There was no explanation as to why he was allowed to leave the interior of the premises; and
- There was no record of heightened precautions or measures taken to protect him from a fall given his pre-existing handicaps.
$100,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. This case may have seemed like much ado about nothing but the facts and circumstances were serious once you stopped to thoughtfully consider them. The injured resident was an elderly woman.
The nature of the fall accident was disputed on both sides but some of the facts are clear. She had difficulty walking so she required some form of assistance. In some cases, it was a walker or other devices. In other cases, it was a nurse or some other staff member that helped her get about the premises.
On one such occasion where she needed help, it was getting her from her room to the dining facilities for a meal. Along the way, she fell down and cracked a rib and sustained other injuries. How exactly it happened and who exactly was there were controversial points of debate.
To get to the heart of the responsibility, though, she filed sued against the nursing home as well as the company that provided staffing to the facility. She charged them both with negligence. Her lawsuit complained that their combined actions caused her injuries and that they were legally obligated to pay her damages.
Both defendants began to bicker and forth that the other was responsible and that they were free of guilt. However, as a legal point, this didn’t really matter to the plaintiff because she could have gone after either one of them for the entirety of her compensation.
Once it became evident that neither one could completely exculpate itself, they were more amenable to settlement and they each gave her $100,000 in compensation for the following damages:
- Her medical bills;
- Her court fees and expenses;
- Her bodily injuries; and
- Her pain and suffering.
$300,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. The resident who filed this lawsuit in New Jersey court was in his eighties. He suffered from dementia and other psychological disorders. He also had significant bodily handicaps that restricted his mobility. One night while nursing home staff were trying to help dress him, wash him, and get him ready for the day, he fell out of bed.
Apparently, at the exact moment that he rolled out of his bed, the employees that were helping him were not there. They had left the room to attend to another matter before returning to his room to discover that he had fallen.
Once they got him back up, they stabilized his condition and informed emergency services that he needed to be taken to the hospital. It was there that doctors discovered the true extent of his injuries. They were not minor.
He aggravated a past hip surgery and that necessitated a follow-up, corrective procedure. Also, he suffered extensive back and neck injuries. These required extensive operations and a lot of recuperation. Needless to say, the medical bills piled up. To account for these expenses and the pain that the incident caused him, he sued the nursing home. He alleged its negligence caused his damages and pled for compensation. After lengthy pre-trial negotiations, both sides arranged a $300,000 settlement.
Here is what the plaintiff had to his advantage in this legal standoff:
- He probably would not have fallen down if the facility would have installed bed rails;
- The nursing home had a history of fall accidents; and
- The man was left even more disabled than he was prior to the incident.
$1,000,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. This lawsuit was so disturbing because the resident turned victim was very young. Also, the circumstances which led to her death could have been prevented. In fact, she didn’t just fall on one occasion; rather, she fell a number of times.
It was only the final accident which required her to be taken to the hospital for emergency treatment. However, despite the best efforts and rapid response of qualified doctors, she still passed away a little over one day after the event.
After her passing, physicians performed a complete analysis of her death and figured out that she was pretty sick prior to all of the falls. She was mostly confined to a wheelchair and suffered from heart and lung problems. Yet, she was stable overall. The falls caused her to spiral down into a state of complete disrepair and there was not much that they could do.
After her family reviewed the findings of this procedures (she was survived by several family members), they chose to bring an action against the nursing home for negligence and wrongful death. They argued in their complaint that but for the defendant facility’s negligence she would still be alive and they would not have suffered pain, expense, and losses.
The defendant offered a strong defense in its reply by there was no real play at trial and the two parties moved into settlement move just after it started.
The family received approximately $1,000,000 which aligns with the following trends:
- It is not far off the national average for wrongful death cases with nursing homes;
- The nursing home couldn’t produce a strong defense as to why she fell down so many times; and
- The decedent had a lot of surviving family that each had a valid claim to damages.
$75,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. This incident wrapped up quickly but still was instructive of nursing home in the garden state as well as across the rest of country. The victim who eventually filed the case was an elderly man who had stayed at the care facility for a number of years before the accident occurred.
He did not have any physical handicaps, mental deficiencies, or any other significant pre-existing conditions at the time of the fall. When it did occur, he was in the outside community area of the nursing home.
The area was supposed to be secured and supervised by facility staff. Other residents were with him and they were enjoying the day. However, at some point, he fell off the bench he was sitting and fractured his elbow.
The damage was confined to that local area on his body but it was still substantial. He needed corrective surgery, rehabilitation, and long-term prescription medications. All told, the incident cost him thousands of dollars.
When his health had finally stabilized, he brought an action against the nursing home and charged that its negligence was the proximate cause of his injuries. He sought compensation for the expenses, pain, and disability that the fall created. The two parties worked out a private settlement not long after that filing.
Here’s a few reasons why the settlement amount was a bit lower than you might have imagined for this case:
- A lot of the money went to pay off a state lien for the medical bills because the government provided the funds to cover those procedures; and
- The pain was relatively localized.
$125,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New Jersey nursing home fall case. The nursing home resident injured in this controversy ostensibly created her own harms. She was walking about the premises unattended when she fell down a flight of stairs.
Staff at the care facility had instructed her to remain in her room prior to the accident but she disobeyed those instructions. Furthermore, she had no mental or other impairment that could have prevented her from understanding and following those instructions.
Nevertheless, she went out and fell over and injured herself. She suffered numerous injuries broken bones, sprained ankle, and other harms. Due to her old age, these inflicted a substantial toll on her health and day-to-day life following the accident. First, she needed to spend time in a hospital to receive treatment for the injuries. Then, she needed to undergo rehab at a different nursing home.
Needless, the incident left her changed in many ways well beyond the date of the fall. To account for that difference, she sued the nursing home and the company that helped staff it. Her lawsuit cited a number of duties that it owed her regarding care and supervision.
Specifically, she claimed that it should have better protected her from falling down the stairs through staffing, video surveillance, or other devices. The defendant home swiftly shot back with contributory negligence and the defense that she assumed the risk of fall and injury.
However, this approach did not advance well beyond its reply because they settled not long after for a sum of $125,000. Here are some of the motivating factors that could have led to settlement:
- The staff clearly abandoned the woman despite giving her instructions;
- There were no precautions to prevent people from going down the stairs unattended; and
- The woman had sizeable direct and economic damages because of the event.
NEW JERSEY NURSING HOME FALL CASE TAKEAWAYS
After you have looked over these New Jersey nursing home case summaries, review these points to keep in mind what is most important about this field of litigation:
- State investigations or citations drastically increased the rate and recovery potential of plaintiffs.
- The lack of a plan or execution of a plan boded poorly for nursing homes.
- When plaintiffs combined wrongful death with negligence claims, their recoveries increased anywhere from two to three times.
- Most fall accidents occurred when the resident was in bed or in a wheelchair.
DID YOUR LOVED ONE FALL AND GET HURT IN A NEW JERSEY NURSING HOME?
If you did, then you should contact our team so that one of our New Jersey nursing home negligence attorneys at Nursing Home Law News can take immediate action to preserve your recovery. We can begin at once the process of building your case for jury award or settlement. Plus, we don’t charge anything upfront so it’s no cost to you. The only thing you need to do is come forward with your story. We will listen to you and take care of everything else!
If you would like to learn more about nursing home cases in New Jersey, please read the following pages:
NEW JERSEY NURSING HOME ABUSE CASES
NEW JERSEY NURSING HOME BED SORE CASES