Falls are especially dangerous for residents in nursing homes. As people age, a full recovery from these injuries becomes more challenging. Moreover, falls can worsen mobility issues, negatively impacting their independence and quality of life. At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, we have handled many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect in Texas, so your loved one will benefit from our experience and advocacy. Trust that we will work to get your loved one better care as soon as possible.
The Impact of Nursing Home Falls on Seniors
Every year, millions of seniors fall, resulting in 800,000 emergency room visits for people over 65.
Injuries can include the following:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head injuries, including concussions
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Brain or nerve damage
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Loss of balance or coordination
These injuries can have long-lasting consequences for nursing home residents, including surgery, long-term care, and ongoing treatments. Some people never regain their previous levels of mobility.
Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents and Their Families
In 1987, Congress created the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), which brought about sweeping changes to protect residents in nursing homes. If a resident is at risk, the management and the staff must implement fall prevention strategies. Otherwise, it is a form of negligence when a person is injured in a preventable fall. Eligible persons must file a claim within the statute of limitations, generally two years from the date of the accident.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Falls
Identifying negligence may begin with determining why the fall happened. These cases typically require in-depth investigations to uncover the truth.
Here are some common reasons for falls in nursing homes:
- Wet floors
- Poor lighting
- Incorrect bed height
- Improperly fitted wheelchairs
- Inability to use or reach aids, e.g., canes or walkers.
Note that the nursing home could still be liable even if there is a medical reason for your family member’s fall.
Responsibilities of Care Facilities
As noted above, federal law mandates that all nursing homes in Texas must provide a safe environment for their residents, including adequately training staff on fall prevention. In addition, a high caregiver-to-resident ratio is also crucial to health and safety. It results in personalized care since the staff is responsible for fewer residents.
Another essential duty of care facilities is maintaining safety within the premises, which includes the following:
- Checking the functionality and safety of equipment, e.g., assistive devices such as walkers
- Ensuring that walkways are free of hazards
- Ensuring that stairways, bathrooms, and bedrooms are fitted with necessary safety measures, including handrails and non-slip bath mats.
Additionally, the facility should regularly assess its residents’ health, particularly individuals with a higher risk of falling.
Filing a Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit
If you believe your family member’s fall was caused by the negligence of nursing home staff or facility, you have the right to take legal action.
Here are some steps that nursing home abuse attorneys may take:
- Review medical records for evidence of negligence.
- Conduct interviews to determine if the nursing home correctly assessed the resident’s risk of falls and took necessary precautions.
- Create a timeline of events leading up to the fall for further investigation.
- Assess damages or losses suffered by your family member due to the fall.
- Negotiate with insurance companies to ensure a fair and reasonable settlement.
Potential Compensation in Nursing Home Fall Lawsuits
You or your family member may be eligible for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easily quantified, such as medical bills, ambulance rides, and surgery.
Non-economic damages can include the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Our team can help you understand your rights and potential compensation in more detail. Every case is different. Settlements could range from several thousand to several million. We recently obtained $2.5 million in a nursing home fall case.
Schedule a Free Consultation
We leverage our in-depth legal knowledge to uncover nursing home negligence to build a strong case. Our team fights tirelessly for your family’s rights. Schedule a free consultation with our nursing home slip and fall attorneys at Crowe Arnold & Majors today. We can assess your case and answer your questions. Since we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront fees.