Loved One Slip and Fall in a Nursing Home?
NJ Nursing Home Slip and Fall Attorneys Explain Liability
Slip and fall injuries account for over a third of preventable hospital emergency room visits by patients in nursing homes. Even more frightening is the fact that falls in skilled nursing facilities frequently go unreported. Each year, an average nursing home reports between 100 and 200 slip and fall accidents, and may leave hundreds more unreported. Injuries sustained in nursing home falls often cause a significant injury to elderly residents. The result may be impaired mobility, reduction in independence, and a lowering of the overall quality of life of the victim. Feelings of helplessness, depression, anxiety and social isolation are common for slip and fall victims. When a nursing home does not take the proper precautions to prevent elderly falls, then the facility may be held liable. Contact an attorney if your loved one was injured after falling in a long-term care facility.
The New Jersey attorneys at Keefe Law Firm represent nursing home residents and families in slip and fall claims. Nursing homes that are understaffed and/or provide poor supervision should be held accountable when preventable injuries occur. Our nursing home slip and fall lawyers have obtained numerous successful verdicts and settlements in elder neglect cases. We can use our experience to protect your loved one’s rights after a fall.
Are Nursing Home Falls Preventable?
With proper fall prevention policies and procedures in place, most nursing home falls are preventable. Skilled nursing facilities should take the time to assess a new patient’s risk of falling. Then, the nursing home should make modifications to enable safe mobility when there is a substantial risk. All care staff should be made aware of residents that have a high risk of falling. Additionally, nursing staff and aids must maintain their education in fall prevention. When a mobility device is necessary, it should be well maintained and easy to use.
Factors that may cause or contribute to slip and falls in nursing homes include:
- Muscle weakness
- Mobility issues and lack of assistance
- Lack of assistance with poor balance
- Environmental hazards
- Medication side effects
- Mistakes in medication doses or types
- Staff errors when moving patient
- Improper foot care and/or footwear
- Inadequate maintenance or improper use of walking aids
Environmental hazards, especially dim lighting, create a pronounced risk for residents and cause many nursing home falls. Slippery and wet floors may become extremely unsafe when residents have preexisting balance and mobility issues. Additionally, beds, chairs and mobility devices should be strategically placed so they are safe and easily accessible. Bathroom falls can be prevented by installing handles and safety rails along walls. No-slip flooring can help prevent slips. When a nursing home fails to address known dangers and hazards, causing injury to your loved one, then you may have grounds for a negligence claim.
When Is a Liable Nursing Home for a Fall?
Nursing homes and their staff are responsible for making sure the environment is safe and free from fall hazards. Staff also must exercise the same degree of care and caution that a reasonable health care worker would exercise under similar conditions and circumstances. This extends to moving and supervising residents. However, not every fall and fall injury may be preventable. Therefore, to file a successful nursing home negligence claim, you and your attorney must generally demonstrate:
- The existence of a legal duty. Nursing homes and their staff have a duty to keep their patients reasonably safe in their environment while under the direct care of the facility.
- The nursing home or a staff member did not meet the obligations of their duty. For example, a staff member may improperly lift a patient, causing injury. In other circumstances, staff may mop the floor but fail to ensure the area is completely dry before residents enter it.
- The failure to meet the duty resulted in a patient’s injury. This means that an injury must exist for a claim to exist. So, negligent staff merely leaving the floor wet would not be actionable. Someone must have actually fallen and gotten hurt.
- The injury results in significant injury. A minor injury not requiring medical attention, like a minor bruise, may not be worth pursuing due to the cost of litigation. In these cases, you may be able to report the nursing home and/or staff member instead.
If your loved one sustained injuries in a nursing home fall, then you should speak with an attorney. Our lawyers are familiar with the standards for safety policies and practices in long-term care facilities. We can advise you on these standards and explain your legal options.
Contact Our New Jersey Nursing Home Slip and Fall Attorneys Today
The nursing home negligence attorneys at Keefe Law Firm help individuals pursue compensation for slip and fall accidents. We can assist you in moving your loved one to a different facility and also in filing a claim for compensation. Additionally, legal claims are often the best way to prevent future negligence and injuries.
Call our office at (866) 575-5000 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation today.