Residents in nursing homes can be very frail, and it is not uncommon that they will fall down and get hurt. This can be a very emotional experience for the resident and family members. One question you may ask yourself is, are nursing homes liable for falls? Our attorneys can help explain.
Are Nursing Homes Liable For Falls?
The answer to this question, generally, is yes. Even though every case is different, nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that their residents do not fall, which can cause injuries. Nursing homes have a duty of care that includes protecting residents from injuries. If a nursing home allows residents who have difficulty with walking to move around unattended, then the nursing home can be held liable if the resident falls.
According to U.S. Code 42 U.S. Code § 1395i–3, nursing homes have to provide care that accommodates the needs of nursing home residents. Also, nursing homes must have the necessary facility design and equipment to ensure that a resident is not injured while living at the nursing home. If nursing homes do not have a safe environment for their residents, they can be held liable for falls by residents.
To be held liable for a resident’s fall, the resident (or the family of the resident) has to prove that the nursing home did not perform one of the following:
- Use proper care techniques, which led to the fall
- Fix any conditions that were deemed to be hazardous or a danger to the residents
- Hired employees who were not qualified to perform their tasks led to the fall
- Have an appropriate plan of care in place
- Have enough staff members in the nursing home
- Assist a resident in or out of a bed or chair.
Hazards at the facility sometimes cause falls in nursing homes. Some of those hazards include:
- Poor lighting
- Defective chairs or wheelchairs
- Wet floors
- Defective bed rails.
Since most residents in nursing homes are elderly, falls in these facilities can be especially devastating. Some of the most common injuries that occur at nursing homes include:
- Fractures or Broken Bones
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Fractured Hips
- Spinal Injuries
- Contusions and Lacerations.
Can You Sue a Nursing Home for a Fall?
If your beloved family member has fallen while a resident at a nursing home, and there have been negligent actions by the facility, you can file a lawsuit against the nursing home. Most of the time, lawsuits against nursing homes related to resident falls settle before they go to trial. The results of settling with the nursing home are twofold. First, you will obtain compensation for the suffering of your family member. Second, your lawsuit will penalize the nursing home and push them to make changes to decrease the likelihood of falls at their facility.
According to New York Law, you have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit against a nursing home. Because of the nature of the injury and the age of the nursing home residents, you will want to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the fall.
You may ask how much your loved one will receive due to the nursing home lawsuit. That depends on many factors, including, most importantly, the extent of the injuries. More extensive injuries may lead to higher settlement demands and compensation. There are two types of damages that your loved ones can get if they fall at a nursing home:
- Compensation for medical bills, which include but are not limited to ambulance bills, hospital bills, and physical therapy bills
- Compensation for pain and suffering.
If you file a claim against a nursing home for a fall, you may have to deal with the facility’s insurance company. Also, many nursing home insurance companies do not want to agree to a settlement, and you may be forced to file a lawsuit against the nursing home.
Are Nursing Homes Required to Report Falls?
Nursing homes in New York are not required to report falls to the state or federal government. However, the facility management must conduct a full investigation whenever there is a fall at a nursing home. Once the investigation is completed, a nursing home incident report must be filled out.
A nursing home incident report should be available to the injured person’s family. Still, some families have difficulty obtaining a copy of the report from the facility. These reports usually contain damaging information about the situation that led to the resident’s injury, so the nursing home will do everything possible to keep the incident report from getting into the hands of family members. Nursing home incident reports must be given to the injured’s attorney in most states during document production.
Even though nursing homes are not required to file their incident reports with the state, families can be proactive by submitting a complaint through the New York Department of Health website. All complaints are confidential and can be sent in anonymously. The department will investigate your claim and a determination will be made.
Call Feroleto Law For Help With Your Nursing Home Fall Case
If your family member has been injured in a nursing home fall, you will need an experienced attorney to fight for their rights. At Feroleto Law, we have been in business for over 40 years. We have the knowledge and experience to make sure that your loved one receives compensation for their injuries, as well as hold the nursing home liable so that changes can be made.
If your loved one has been injured in a fall at their nursing home, it is important to take action immediately. Our attorneys will quickly review your case and collect as much information as possible about the fall. We will speak to witnesses, review records, and look at video footage quickly so that memories don’t fade or the video doesn’t get lost.
Our nursing home fall attorneys are ready to discuss your case. We offer a no-fee guarantee, which means that we get paid only if you receive compensation. Give us a call at 716-854-0700 so we can help you explore your options.
Attorney John Feroleto
Attorney John Feroleto understands the value of hard work. He is known in the community and by his peers for his willingness to work and go the extra mile. Other lawyers often ask John to handle their trial matters to maximize clients’ recovery. Trial lawyers know who the best trial lawyers are. He was also named Trial Attorney of the Year in 2012 by the Western New York Affiliate of New York State Trial Lawyers Association. [ Attorney Bio ]