Nursing home residents in New York and all over the United States are at high-risk of falling and suffering broken bones and other life-threatening injuries. As a result, nursing homes are required to create a plan of care for residents, outlining necessary assistance based on the patient’s risk of falling. Nursing homes can be held accountable when this is not followed and a fall occurs.
At The Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC, our New York attorneys have protected clients from elder abuse for more than 40 years. We are well-prepared to hold nursing homes responsible for neglecting your loved ones. Concerned about your family member’s broken bones resulting from nursing home negligence? Contact us for aggressive and experienced representation. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your claim.
Dedicated Legal Team
For more than four decades, our attorneys have successfully handled complex personal injury cases. Lawyers Daniel Gallivan and Thomas Gallivan have an extensive background in investigating and pursuing actions for nursing home neglect and violations of patient rights. Our attorneys will review the resident’s daily charts to determine how often the patients are supervised. In addition, they will determine whether appropriate fall precautions (interventions) were put in place, including bed and chair alarms, low beds, chair locks, mats, and bed rails. Conducting such a detailed investigation enables us to determine the cause of the fall.
Many falls in nursing homes occur as a result of the following:
- Wet floors
- Poor lighting
- Weakness resulting from malnutrition
- Malfunctioning wheelchairs and walkers
- Failure to use bed or chair alarms
- Failure to properly use restraints
- Failure to toilet residents
- Failure to have enough staff to help residents
We are committed to fully understanding the extent of your family member’s injuries. Our law firm employs two in-house nurses who work with our attorneys to properly represent victims of nursing home neglect. We will fight to obtain as much compensation as possible to cover medical costs and the pain and suffering associated with broken bones and other injuries.
Common Nursing Home Fall Injuries
Falls in nursing homes can lead to serious or even fatal injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020 alone, there were 3 million emergency department visits for older adult falls. In the same year, 36,000 adults aged 65 or older died as a result of falls.
Falls do not always result in injuries. However, 1 in 5 falls does cause a serious injury. This may include:
- Broken bones, including wrists, arms, and ankles
- Hip fractures
- Cuts and abrasions
- Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and contusions (bruises)
- Spinal cord trauma
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions
Even if a nursing home resident doesn’t suffer any serious injuries in a fall, it can have serious psychological impacts. Many people who fall become afraid of falling, which often causes them to limit their activities to avoid another fall. This leads to a vicious cycle, as people who are less active tend to become weaker, which increases their risk of falling.
Falls can take place almost anywhere in a nursing home. A resident may slip and fall on a wet or slick floor. They may trip on a curled-up carpet edge, or a piece of broken tile. They may also fall down stairs if proper safety precautions are not taken. In some cases, residents may even fall from beds if bed rails are either not installed or not properly installed.
Some conditions make it more likely that an older person will suffer a fall. Risk factors for falls include:
- Difficulties with balance and/or walking
- Lower body weakness
- Lack of coordination
- Use of certain medicines, including sedatives, antidepressants, and some over-the-counter medicines
- Vision problems
- Foot pain
- Poor footwear
- Hazards, such as throw rugs, cords, or broken or uneven flooring or stairs
The more risk factors that a person has, the higher the likelihood that they will fall and suffer injuries. Nursing homes should be aware of which patients have a higher risk of falling and should take precautions to ensure that their residents are safe. If a nursing home fails to take special care to protect residents from falls, they may be liable for any injuries that result.
Can You Sue for a Nursing Home Fall?
If a loved one – such as your mother, father, grandparent, aunt, or uncle – falls while living at an assisted care facility, you may assume that this is just a natural part of getting older and that no one was at fault. However, this isn’t necessarily true. If a nursing home or its staff was negligent in some way, then they may be sued for any losses suffered in a fall.
Negligence is a legal standard that essentially means carelessness. A person is said to be negligent if they failed to act in a way that a reasonable person would act in a similar situation. For example, in a car accident case, another driver may be considered negligent if they ran a red light or were speeding and caused a crash.
Of course, negligence in a nursing home setting is a bit different. When you make the decision to move to a care facility or to place a loved one in this type of home, you are entrusting the staff to keep them safe. The question of negligence is therefore based on what a reasonable nursing home or nursing home employee would do, which is evaluated in part against state and federal standards for care facilities.
There are a number of different ways that a nursing home’s negligence may lead to a fall. This includes:
- Lack of supervision, particularly of patients at high risk of a fall and/or those suffering from conditions like dementia;
- Unsafe environments, such as wet floors, clutter, uneven floors, poor lighting, faulty bed rails, and tripping hazards;
- Failure to assess fall risk to ensure that proper precautions are taken;
- Unsafe or defective medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes, and walkers;
- Lack of staff training to understand how to prevent falls and to know how to respond in the event of a fall.
In some cases, a nursing home fall case is based on intentional conduct, such as physical abuse. For example, a nursing home employee may be violent with a resident, such as by pushing them down, directly causing a fall. In other cases, physical abuse causes injuries or weaknesses that increase the resident’s risk factors for a fall.
If a nursing home fall was caused by the facility or its staff, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties with the help of a New York nursing home abuse attorney. Through this type of personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for your full range of losses. This may include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Moving costs
- Expenses associated with a disability, such as therapy, mobility aids, and home renovations
- Loss of income for family members who had to care for their loved one after a fall
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Punitive damages, if the nursing home or an employee acted recklessly or intentionally
To successfully resolve a nursing home abuse claim, your lawyer will gather evidence to prove that (1) the nursing home failed to meet the standard of care for your loved one; (2) the nursing home’s negligent or intentional conduct directly caused their injuries; and (3) they suffered losses as a result. Evidence may include medical records, photos and videos of the accident site and the victim’s injuries, witness accounts, and expert testimony.
Nursing home fall cases can be challenging to prove, particularly when your loved one may have already had risk factors for a fall. A skilled New York nursing home abuse lawyer will work with you to put together a strong claim for financial compensation. Most importantly, pursuing this type of claim can help you achieve justice for your loved one.
Hurt in a Nursing Home Fall? Contact Us Today
Nursing home falls can produce devastating injuries. Victims of nursing home falls and their loved ones often struggle to get help after a nursing home fall. We are dedicated to proving fault and obtaining compensation for pain and suffering, as well as future medical bills associated with the traumatic slip-and-fall accident.
Based in White Plains, the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan represents victims of nursing home falls, nursing home abuse, and nursing home neglect throughout New York. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a no-risk, no-obligation consultation with a New York nursing home fall attorney, give us a call at 914-220-1086 or fill out our online contact form.
Who Is Liable for Nursing Home Falls?
Generally, nursing homes are responsible for implementing a fall prevention plan to reduce the risk of residents falling. If a nursing home or other care facility fails to put a strategy in place to prevent falls, and a resident falls and is hurt, then they may be liable for any injuries that result. In addition, individual staff members may be liable for their own negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct that led to a fall.
While older Americans do have a higher fall risk than younger people, falls are not a normal and expected part of living at a nursing home. If your loved one was hurt in a fall while residing in a nursing home, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility and anyone else who may have been responsible for their fall. Reach out to the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to schedule a free initial consultation with a New York nursing home fall attorney.
If My Loved One Died in a Nursing Home Fall, Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Possibly. If the fall was a result of negligent, intentional, or reckless behavior on the part of the nursing home, then you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against any at-fault party. However, in New York, wrongful death claims are brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, not family members.
Wrongful death actions can be an important way to get justice for your loved one, as well as financial compensation for things like funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and other losses. If your loved one died in a fall at a New York nursing home, reach out to the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
Are Nursing Home Falls Preventable?
Not every fall is preventable. However, many falls are preventable – particularly when an older person is living in what should be the fairly controlled environment of a nursing home. If the nursing home failed to implement basic precautions, like properly supervising patients and removing or reducing tripping hazards, then any resident falls may have been preventable.
A skilled New York nursing home fall lawyer will investigate the underlying facts to determine if your loved one’s nursing home fall was preventable. If so, then they advise you of your legal rights and options for filing a claim against the facility. Contact the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
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