One of the most serious and common dangers that New York nursing home residents face encounter falls. The reason that they’re so common is that nursing home residents can happen in a million different ways-out of wheelchairs, beds, while standing, the list goes on and on.
The reason that they’re so serious is partially because of the vulnerable state of residents but also because of the particular threats that falls pose.
Take a look at some of these New York nursing home verdicts and settlements that focus on fall accidents.
$10,000 NURSING HOME VERDICT:
Erie County, New York nursing home fall case.
This nursing home fall case was unique because the victim was an employee and not a resident but it is still instructive nevertheless.
What exactly transpired was a little bit a point of conjecture but we know some things: the woman was going to meet a resident to assist her in using the facilities; another staff member had recently mopped the floor leading to the resident’s room; the staff member had not placed a sign warning of a wet floor; the victim walked through the area and fell.
The consequences were severe: herniated discs; rotator cuff injuries; numbness; pain; and other various personal injuries. The victim sued the nursing home for negligence and argued that it should have done more to provide a safe environment. T
he defendant replied simply that the wet floor condition was obvious and that the woman should have seen it and avoided it. They jury agreed with that premise but still awarded the plaintiff $10,000 for pain, suffering, medical bills, and lost wages.
Importantly, the men and woman of the jury also gave her a portion of the fault so her verdict was lowered proportionately.
Here’s why she got compensation as well as some of the blame:
- Her injuries and expenses from the incident were significant and the defendant had some part in the affair.
- The evidence that the wet floor condition was open and obvious was more speculative than clear.
$250,000 NURSING HOME VERDICT:
Nassau County, New York nursing home fall case.
The victim in this incident was ninety years old and a resident of the nursing home in question for a long time. While in the care of the facility, she fell on multiple occasions. Due to the collective impact of all of the falls, she actually broke her hip and even require a replacement surgery.
Unfortunately, during the course of the surgery to replace the affected hip, she died from complications. Representatives for her estate claimed in a subsequent lawsuit that the nursing home’s failures caused her injuries and death. They claimed the defendant facility was negligent and in breach of multiple New York statutes including Public Health Law Sec. 2801-d and 2803-c.
The defendant disagreed that it was at fault and claimed that it gave the decedent the kind and extent of care that was required under the law.
The jury sided with the plaintiffs and awarded them $250,000 maybe for these reasons:
- The victims’ expenses due to these events (including medical and burial/funeral) easily cost them tens of thousands of dollars.
- The defendant facility didn’t have any tailored policies for residents like the decedent who were at high risk for falls.
- However, the woman was extremely old and could not make a strong argument that these events cut short her life by a wide margin.
$1,102,000 NURSING HOME VERDICT:
Richmond County, New York nursing home fall case.
This cause of action was an unfortunate series of events that ultimately ended in death for the particular nursing home resident involved. She was 73 years of age and living at a nursing home in Richmond County, New York when she suffered a number of falls while under the care and supervision of the defendant facility.
After the last of these falls, she was taken to a nearby hospital and diagnosed with a broken hip on her left side.
In order to treat her condition, doctors placed her in an immobile state. It was then-while recovering in the same nursing home-that she developed bed sores across her buttocks and spine. They eventually got to stage II before they became infected and took her life.
The woman’s estate brought a wrongful death action against the nursing home for its failure to prevent this condition from occurring and sought various damages under common law and New York statutes (including N.Y. Pub. Health Law Sec. 2801(d)).
Specifically, the complaint alleged that the defendant facility did not provide a safe environment, create an individual plan to stop bed sores, sufficiently monitor her, or in other ways give her the appropriate care that she deserved.
The defendant refused both that it was responsible and the extent of the injuries that the plaintiff claimed. However, the jury decided that the defendant’s conduct was negligent and the legal cause of the woman’s injuries.
They awarded her $1,102,000 in damages for the following items:
- $600,000 for lost services;
- $100,000 for past medical bills;
- $400,000 for pain and suffering; and
- $2,000 for compensatory damages.
$325,000 S NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
New York, New York nursing home fall case.
This cause of action settled just before the beginning of trial in New York, New York. The plaintiff was the estate of a recently deceased seventy-eight-year-old woman. The allegations of the lawsuit state that the woman was dropped in transit as she was returning to the facility and broke her fibula and tibia.
However, she was not taken in for treatment on these injuries for nearly a week. By then, due to the complications and her age, doctors were unable to perform surgery in order to correct them. She died not long after that.
Lawyers for the woman argued that the nursing home was responsible for her death and the injuries and pain that came before it. They sought economic, non-economic, and wrongful death damages.
The defendant thought that it was not responsible for her death and claimed that her pre-existing conditions such as heart problems were the real source of her passing. Yet, as noted above, both sides were able to find room to settle and avoid trial.
Here are some things of note about this settlement:
- The defendant could not justify why the medical authorities were not notified for so long after the accident.
- The defendant’s standard of care deviated significantly from the appropriate level as set by statute and the plaintiffs were prepared to argue this was the cause of her death.
- The woman did have heart problems and other pre-existing conditions but this accident also did clearly cut short her life by a significant amount.
$750,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
Bronx County, New York nursing home fall case.
The victim at the center of this dispute was an elderly woman who was experiencing breathing problems. To correct this problem, doctors placed a tracheotomy tube in her throat. One day, she needed to get up from her bed at the nursing home and rang for assistance but none came so she tried to do it herself.
However, it didn’t go well. She fell down, injured her head, and ripped her tube out of her throat.
Moments later the nursing home staff came in and rushed her to the hospital but it was too late. She passed away just a few days later as a result of the injuries she sustained in this accident. Her lawyers brought a lawsuit for damages on her behalf to recover for the pain and expenses that this cost her.
Also, they alleged that she was entitled to punitive damages under New York law because she was denied her rights as a nursing home resident.
The defendant facility denied all of these charges and refused to settle so the matter went to trial. The jury awarded the estate $750,000 in damages: $250,00 for compensatory damages and $500,000 for punitive damages.
Here are some insights regarding this nursing home verdict:
- Public Health Law Sec. 2801-d was the key section that the plaintiffs sought punitive damages under and they dramatically made a play for them at court by showing how humiliating and painful the ordeal was for the decedent.
- The woman’s estate sustained tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for medical bills, funeral costs, and other related items.
$300,000 NURSING HOME VERDICT:
Richmond County, New York nursing home fall case.
This case started out as a fall accident but then soon developed into much more than that. The victim was an elderly veteran in his early seventies. Prior to the incident, he was suffering from diabetes, obesity, and other serious health conditions.
At some point while staying at nursing home at the center of this controversy, he fell down out of his bed and had to be taken to the hospital.
Doctors soon discovered that he had several bed sores across his back and buttocks. They diagnosed them, treated them, and then sent him back to the nursing home. However, not long after this visit, he passed away from an infected sore.
His family brought suit against the doctors that cared for him as well as the nursing home where he was residing. They alleged a number of failures such as negligence, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
Neither defendant would concede or settle so the matter was put before a jury where it rendered a nursing home verdict in the amount of $300,000 for the victim’s estate.
Here’s why that amount might seem appropriate:
- The doctors and nursing home clearly messed up by allowing the bed sores to continue to develop to the point of infection even after they were diagnosed.
- However, the man was extremely ill even before these events occurred as a simple review of his pre-existing conditions would show.
NEW YORK NURSING HOME FALL CASE TAKEAWAYS
After looking over these New York nursing home verdicts and settlements, take a look at these key takeaways:
- Plaintiffs normally got more when the state came in and cited the nursing home for conduct that the plaintiff also complained of in the lawsuit.
- One of the biggest points of controversy in New York nursing home fall cases is the sufficiency of the prevention plan and follow through by the facility on the plan.
- Plaintiffs that filed multiple claims in their suit (like negligence and wrongful death) generally saw more in verdict or settlement.
- Residents that fell out of bed or their wheelchair received the most compared to residents that fell from other places.
- Recoveries skyrocketed when the fall incident required the victim to undergo surgery or endure a disability.
WAS YOUR LOVED ONE INJURED FROM A FALL IN A NEW YORK NURSING HOME?
If you fell from your bed, wheelchair, or other surface while living in a New York nursing home, then you should call Nursing Home Law News. We can come in and investigate the circumstances of your accident and identify where and how you can pursue recovery.
Then, if you hire us, we will put your case to a jury to ensure that your story is heard and you get the compensation you deserve or we won’t charge a thing.
All you have to do is call our offices and learn about how we can help you!
For information on laws and regulations applicable to New York nursing homes, look here.
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