The CDC estimates that annually one out of four seniors will fall particularly in nursing homes. Falls at an advanced age can result in serious injury, including fractures, head injuries, bruises, lacerations and even social consequences, such as isolation and anxiety.
As we age, many people suffer with vision, balance, ambulation and nutritional deficits. Seniors are also more likely to use prescription medication, which can further impair their mobility. Ideally, a nursing home resident should be able to rely on staff and mobility aids to prevent falls—but sadly, they still occur. The question is, when is a nursing home responsible for their patients’ falls and injuries?
Nursing home fall risks
In order to be liable for negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the nursing home had a duty of care to prevent a falls, breached that duty, and as a result, the patient suffered actual harm. Cases often hinge on whether or not the nursing home breached their duty of care.
Breach of duty in fall cases can be proven in several ways. For example, nursing homes are aware of the increased risk of seniors falling, and should have plans in place to prevent them. If patients are deemed a fall risk, they should be monitored even more vigilantly. When a lack of supervision or care is to blame for a fall, patients can compare the home’s fall prevention policy and state and federal requirements to their actual experience. If the home was in violation of the law, or did not uphold their own policies, plaintiffs may be able to recover damages for their injuries.
Furthermore, nursing homes are obligated to reduce environmental hazards. Wet floors, dim lighting, inappropriate furniture height and loose carpeting can cause anyone to fall—and at an advanced age, even minor falls can cause lasting injury. If the nursing home knew or should have known about the environmental hazard, and failed to fix the issue in a timely manner, they may be held liable for negligence.
Falls aren’t always due to negligence, and they’re not always preventable. Sometimes they’re simply accidents. However, if you suspect that negligence was a factor in your or a loved one’s fall, it’s important to talk to a Dworken & Bernstein attorney as soon as possible.
The experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein will be happy to discuss your nursing home fall claim. Schedule a consultation today!