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Settlement For Nursing Home Fall
Among the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the US, about 50% fall annually. Falls often lead to severe consequences, especially for frail older individuals, and fall-related injuries can cause reduced quality of life, decreased independence, and a higher risk of death.
Nursing home falls are usually the result of a combination of risk factors. In some cases, falls among nursing home residents are impossible to prevent. However, a nursing home fall typically results from negligence or abuse.
If your loved one was the victim of a nursing home fall caused by the facility’s failure to put fall prevention measures in place, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your family’s losses. The personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can help you hold the negligent parties accountable and recover fair compensation for your loved one’s unnecessary suffering.
Contact our affiliate nursing home abuse lawyers toll-free at (800) 926-7565 or use this online contact form to schedule a free consultation today.What Are the Types of Nursing Home Falls?
In nursing homes, a resident can suffer four main types of falls. These include:
- Slip and Falls: Slippery floors cause most nursing home slip and falls. Since some older individuals are frail, they are more likely to suffer severe injuries from any fall.
- Trips: Tripping hazards such as curled carpet, uneven floors, and debris can cause a nursing home fall. Just like slip and falls, the consequences of tripping are particularly hazardous for older patients.
- Stair Falls: A fall from a staircase may be the most severe fall a nursing home resident can experience. Falling down a flight of stairs is more likely to cause fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and other severe and potentially life-threatening injuries. In worst cases, stair falls among elderly individuals can cause death.
- Bed Falls: Nursing homes typically provide bed rails to prevent patients from accidentally falling off the bed. Faulty or improperly installed bedrails can cause residents to fall off their beds and suffer severe consequences. Residents who fall from their beds may also be unable to get up again. Without immediate medical attention, they may experience severe injuries and extreme pain.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can easily lead to a devastating fall. The following are common reasons why abuse and neglect increase the risk of nursing home falls:
Lack of Supervision
Many nursing home patients lose their independence as they grow older and require supervision from a nursing home worker. Some may require constant care as they are no longer able to ensure personal safety, as in the case of dementia patients.
Many unsupervised patients are in harm’s way, leading to a fall. Even if the fall is out of a nursing home’s control, lack of supervision can lead to the patient receiving delayed medical attention.
Nursing homes must have fall prevention measures, including providing a safe environment for all residents. Nursing home staff must eliminate risks that could create hazardous areas, including wet and uneven floors, clutter, poor lighting, tripping hazards, faulty bed rails, and other factors that can lead to a fall.
Lack of Fall Risk Assessment
Fall risk assessments help nursing home staff to reduce the risk of falls. A nursing home patient may suffer serious injuries without a proper fall risk assessment.
Unsafe Medical Equipment
Many patients require medical equipment for mobility, such as wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Defect equipment could lead to severe injuries from mishaps and falls.
Lack of Staff Training
Nursing home staff must follow protocols that prevent falls and know what to do in case a resident falls and why falls happen in the first place. Nursing homes that do not train or educate their staff correctly increase the risk of falls among elderly patients.
Physical elder abuse can directly or indirectly cause a fall. A direct cause involving physical assault might occur when a nursing home worker pushes a resident, making them fall. An indirect cause might involve a nursing home worker uses violence on a resident, causing an injury that increases their risk of falling.Common Fall-Related Injuries Among Elderly Patients
Older adults are more prone to severe injuries caused by falls. These injuries often include:
- Fractures: Falls can lead to broken bones, which usually take longer to heal for elderly patients. Fractures also increase the risk of death in the elderly and often cause a decreased ability to function.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: The impact of a patient’s fall could move their brain violently in the skull, leading to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). These injuries range from mild concussions to severe brain bleeds, increasing the risk of death in elderly patients.
- Spinal Cord Trauma: Spinal cord injuries typically occur when a patient falls on their back. A spinal cord injury can lead to total or partial paralysis.
- Cuts and Abrasions: Fall victims often sustain cuts and abrasions.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These injuries include sprains, strains, and contusions. They can be especially painful and debilitating for elderly individuals.
According to a Health Affairs report, the average nursing home abuse settlement is approximately $400,000. However, some nursing home settlements can go up to $1 million or even higher, depending on the case's specifics.
Numerous variables in calculating a settlement amount depend on the circumstances unique to the case.
Factors Affecting a Nursing Home Abuse Settlement
Insurance companies consider several factors when deciding the value of a nursing home abuse settlement. These factors may include:
- The Extent of the Victim’s Injuries: A case involving severe injuries typically has a higher nursing home settlement amount compared to claims involving minor damages. For example, a victim that suffered a traumatic brain injury is more likely to receive a more significant settlement than a victim that only had a sprain.
- The Impact of the Injuries: The jury may consider the impact of the injuries on the victim’s life. For example, if your loved one can no longer walk because of a fall, they may receive a higher settlement.
- The Financial Consequences on the Family: The settlement value may be higher with more severe financial consequences for the victim and their family facing years of medical bills and other related expenses.
- The Level of Negligence or Abuse Involved: A nursing home abuse settlement may depend on the level of negligence involved in the accident. Generally, severe abuse or neglect cases tend to resolve with a higher settlement value. Furthermore, falls caused by medical malpractice (e.g., failing to evaluate fall risk) may receive larger settlements.
- The Age of the Victim: Juries may also consider the victim's age. Younger residents are more likely to receive a higher settlement since an injury can impact their quality of life for a longer time.
Nursing home abuse cases typically settle out of court. Plaintiffs (the victim or their family) file a claim against the nursing home, and the nursing home’s insurance company makes a settlement offer.
If parties cannot agree on a settlement, plaintiffs can take the case to court by filing a nursing home lawsuit.
In any case, a plaintiff must establish liability and causation, proving that:
- The nursing home failed to provide a standard duty of care to your loved one
- The nursing home’s negligence directly resulted in your loved one’s injuries and losses
- The extent of the losses and injuries
Evidence of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
A nursing home abuse lawyer can collect evidence to build a strong case that might include:
- Medical records
- Photos or videos of the accident scene
- Photos and videos of the victim’s injuries
- Eyewitness accounts
- Expert testimony
The time to file a nursing home abuse case is of the essence. The statute of limitations for personal injury usually requires plaintiffs to file a lawsuit within two years of the accident.
The following damages can increase or decrease the value of your nursing home abuse settlement:
- Medical Bills: These are the costs of treating your loved one’s injuries due to the fall. Claimable medical bills may include emergency transport, surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and medications. You may also be able to seek compensation for future medical expenses if the injury requires long-term care.
- Disability: A nursing home fall can result in your loved one’s permanent disability. If this happens, you could sue the nursing home for the costs associated with disability, such as mobility aids, therapy, and loss of quality of life.
- Pain and Suffering: Your family can seek compensation for your loved one’s physical pain, emotional trauma, and mental distress.
- Loss of Income: If you had to miss work to visit your injured family member in the hospital or take care of them while they are recovering from their injuries, you could include lost income in your claim.
- Scarring or Disfigurement: A fall victim may sustain permanent scarring or disfigurement in the accident.
- Punitive Damages: You may also include punitive damages in your claim to hold the nursing home accountable for egregiously abusing or neglecting their elderly residents.
- Financial Exploitation: If your loved one was the victim of financial abuse in the nursing home, you could also recover compensation for missing money, valuables, and fraudulent charges on credit cards.
- Wrongful Death: If the fall injury results in your loved one’s death, you can file a wrongful death case against the party at fault. Wrongful death damages include funeral and burial costs, medical treatment, and pain and suffering.
Consult a nursing home abuse lawyer to determine the average settlement you might receive based on the damages you’ve suffered.
How Nursing Home Abuse Cases Are Resolved
The first step to handling a nursing home abuse case is contacting a lawyer. Nursing home lawyers help victims file civil cases and negotiate settlement amounts with defendants. If the negotiation is unsuccessful, lawyers take the case to court for a jury trial.
Your family can accept the settlement before or after the trial starts. If you accept the settlement offer, you can no longer sue the nursing facility for additional damages that might arise in the future.
Most nursing home cases settle out of court to avoid high legal expenses for both parties. If you cannot agree to resolve your nursing home lawsuit, your attorney will take the case to court.
The judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and arrive at a verdict. Many plaintiffs and defendants choose not to take the nursing home abuse lawsuit to court because there is no assurance of the outcome. Should jurors agree with the defendant's side, you may receive no compensation.How Nursing Homes Can Mitigate The Risk of Falls
Senior facilities can reduce the risk of falls among their residents by using a combination of interventions, such as:
- Individualized or group physical therapy
- Balance and strength training
- Environmental modifications (e.g., anti-slip rugs)
- Increased staff training
- Providing proper medical aids
- Treating foot and footwear problems
- Addressing Vitamin D deficiency
- Conducting accurate fall risk assessments
Are you considering a local nursing home for your aging loved one? Does your loved one have a known fall risk? First, review the home’s fall prevention strategies and let the facility know so they can employ proper prevention strategies.
Moreover, observe how the facility treats its residents firsthand before admitting your loved one. Looking out for signs of abuse or neglect can help prevent your loved one from suffering at the hands of the people that are supposed to be taking care of them.
If you see signs of nursing home abuse, report it to the local authorities as soon as possible. Call 911 if you think that the abused resident is in immediate danger.Hire Experienced Nursing Home Lawyers to Maximize Your Settlement Offer
Nursing home patients are prone to falls due to their age. Intrinsic factors such as unsteady gait, acute medical conditions, and deconditioning can increase a patient’s fall risk. These factors are usually unavoidable. However, nursing homes are responsible for taking reasonable measures to prevent falls.
Moreover, elderly fall accidents can result from nursing home abuse or neglect. If the nursing home failed to meet its legal obligation of providing a standard duty of care--or caused intentional harm to your loved one--contact our nursing home abuse law firm to hold responsible parties accountable.
Nursing Home Law Center, LLC exclusively handles elder abuse, wrongful death cases, and personal injury lawsuits for nursing home inhabitants. Call our affiliate lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free case review today.
All confidential or sensitive information you provide will be protected under an attorney-client relationship. We handle nursing home cases on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay unless we win.