Many people take comfort when an older relative moves into a nursing home, trusting that their loved one will be safer and happier in that environment. Unfortunately, slip and falls occur all-too-frequently in nursing homes, and the results can be life-changing or even fatal. If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home fall here in Boca Raton, call Kogan & DiSalvo today to book a free case review and learn more about your options for holding responsible parties accountable and pursuing compensation through a nursing home fall lawsuit.
Common Injuries from Nursing Home Falls
Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to serious injury from a fall, due to the fact that they may be physically frail or disabled, and may have diminished eyesight or reaction times. Because of this increased vulnerability, they may suffer life-changing, life-threatening, or even fatal injuries in a nursing home fall. Some of the injuries commonly associated with nursing home falls are:
- Severe lacerations and cuts
- Broken or fractured bones
- Head injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries
- Ligament damage
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
Here are some of the common causes of falls in elder homes:
- Liquids or debris that spills or drops onto the floor and is not cleaned, removed, or blocked off by nursing home staff
- Handrails that are loose or even missing in wet areas where residents must stand or walk, such as the bathroom or shower
- Snags or loose or worn portions of rugs or carpeting
- Floor tiles that are missing, broken, uneven, or damaged
- Floor surfaces that are highly polished
- Uneven segments of the floor, such as in a doorway
- Housekeeping or maintenance equipment, such as mops, brooms, cleaning supplies, or vacuums that are left unattended in high-traffic areas of the nursing home
What to Do Following a Nursing Home Fall
If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home fall, you will likely be experiencing a combination of significant concern, anger, and confusion. Depending on the cause of the fall, you may have grounds to recover financial compensation via the filing of a nursing home slip and fall claim. In order to maximize the amount of financial compensation that the victim receives, here are some steps that you can take in the immediate aftermath of the fall:
- Notify management at the nursing home and ensure that an incident report has been filed and documented.
- Make sure that the victim seeks medical attention as soon as possible, no matter how serious the injuries he or she has suffered appear to be.
- Take pictures of anything you can think of that may be relevant. Depending on whether or not you witnessed the fall, this may include the victim’s injury, the exact location of the fall, the substance or obstruction that caused the fall, any property that was damaged during the fall, and any surveillance cameras that you see.
- Collect the contact information of anyone who witnessed any part of the accident.
- Call an experienced nursing home fall lawyer to set up a consultation as soon as possible. This meeting will inform you as to the victim’s legal rights, the strengths and weaknesses of his or her case, an approximate financial value of the claim, and any legal deadlines that may be looming. The insurance company that represents the nursing home may quickly present a lowball settlement offer that is significantly lower than the actual value of the claim, so this consultation with a qualified attorney can educate you as to whether or not any offer that is presented is fair and reasonable.
- Refrain from communicating anything about the victim’s accident, injuries, or pending lawsuit on social media, whether in the form of updates, pictures, or videos.
How Elder Care Homes Can Reduce the Likelihood of Resident Falls
While our Palm Beach County attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo have a successful track record of helping nursing home fall victims recover financial compensation for their damages, ideally, these falls would not happen anymore. Fortunately, in addition to eliminating slippery surfaces or obstructive trip hazards, there are some other steps that nursing homes can take in order to reduce the risk of elder falls, such as the following:
- Assess each residents’ fall risk, and continue to assess this at regular intervals, as patients’ physical and mental capabilities can change over time. Examples of some risk factors include previous falls, underlying health conditions, medications being taken, and whether the patient is prone to wandering.
- Providing residents with appropriate footwear. By wearing shoes that provide the necessary stability and support that they need, elder home patients can reduce their likelihood of falling.
- Placing furniture, such as chairs and beds, at an appropriate height. If they are too high off the floor or too low to the ground, these pieces of furniture may present a danger to the residents to the imbalance caused when they stand up or sit down. The bed railings also need to be positioned such that the patient cannot climb over it when exiting the bed.
- Providing assistive devices, such as handrails in bathrooms, walkers, canes, and wheelchairs.
- Provide sufficient rest areas and seating throughout the facility. Nursing home patients may become weak or unstable at any time, so having a seat nearby that they can use to sit down and rest when necessary can be highly beneficial.
- Properly train and equip staff members charged with assisting residents to and from beds or wheelchairs.
- Carefully monitor, in particular, the residents that are at a heightened risk of falling.
The Right Lawyer Can Make All the Difference
Make no mistake about it, South Florida nursing homes are businesses that – to some degree – are focused on the bottom line. This means that they want to ensure that a certain number of beds are filled at all times, and they can ill afford to pay substantial amounts of compensation to injured victims. Because of this, they will not make it easy to investigate and build your case, as their reputation will be tarnished if you are successful, which may lead to fewer residents moving in and/or put a heavy strain on their budget. The right attorney will know what to do, which questions to ask, which people – such as nursing home administrators and/or experts – to contact, and which evidence to pursue and preserve to build your case. In other words, the right attorney can make all the difference in your fight for justice and accountability.
At Kogan & DiSalvo, our experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys work relentlessly and zealously to maximize the amount of financial compensation that our valued clients receive. We are not intimidated by corporations or insurance companies, and have a consistent track record of achieving quality settlements or jury verdicts on behalf of our clients.
Call Kogan & DiSalvo Today
If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home fall, call Kogan & DiSalvo today to set up a zero-cost case review with a Boca Raton slip and fall lawyer. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, our clients never receive a bill from us unless they win their case.