Can I Sue a Nursing Home for a Fall?

Falls in nursing homes are all too common. And for an elderly person, a fall can be a serious, life-threatening event. In certain situations, you may be able to take legal action against a nursing home if your loved one has taken a fall. However, bringing a claim against a nursing home requires substantial proof of wrongdoing. Given the complexities, reaching out to a personal injury lawyer who handles nursing home negligence cases could be your best bet.

This post will provide you with a brief overview of this topic, including:

  • Some general statistics about the prevalence of falls in nursing homes
  • Risk factors of falls
  • Common causes of falls
  • When a nursing home may be to blame
  • What steps you should take
  • When to call an injury lawyer

Before we get started, please understand the purpose is to provide you with basic information. Every situation is different. If you need targeted legal counsel, please reach out to our injury lawyers. There’s no cost.

How common are falls in nursing homes?

Unfortunately, falls in nursing homes happen all the time. Here are some general statistics from AHRQ and the CDC:

  • About half of all 1.6 million nursing home residents in the US fall every year
  • About a third of those will fall more than once in a year
  • One in ten falls results in a serious injury
  • About 1,800 nursing home residents die from a fall every year
  • Many additional falls go unreported

Are some people more at risk of falling in a nursing home?

In nursing homes, some people have a higher chance of falling than others, especially older residents who are more vulnerable. As we get older, our bones become weaker, muscles shrink, and we may not move as well. This makes us more prone to falling and getting hurt.

There are other things that can increase the risk of falling in a nursing home, such as:

  • History of falls
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Certain medications
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Weighing too much or too little
  • Impaired vision

To keep residents safe, nursing home staff should provide each person with a fall risk assessment. Additionally, each resident should be regularly re-evaluated. Depending on the risk, they might need to put extra measures in place to keep residents safe.

When is a nursing home at fault for a fall?

There may be times when a nursing home could be responsible for a loved one’s fall. Do you suspect that the nursing home could have prevented the fall from happening? If so, they might be legally responsible to compensate your loved for their medical care, pain, and suffering. However, keep in mind that not every fall is someone else’s fault.

To illustrate, here are some examples of when a nursing home might be liable for a fall:

  • Hiring unskilled staff or not providing adequate training
  • Understaffing
  • Failure to repair uneven floor surfaces or other hazards
  • Lack of safety guards
  • Poor lighting
  • Lack of protocols for transporting residents
  • Improper nutrition or hydration

Even if you believe the nursing home made a mistake, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an easy path to compensation. You must be able to prove that the facility’s carelessness directly caused your loved one’s injury.

What should you do if you think a nursing home caused your loved one’s fall?

Here are a few things you can do immediately following a loved one’s fall at a nursing facility. We suggest you take these actions even if you aren’t sure exactly what led up to the fall.

  1. Gather evidence. Take photos of the scene of the fall as well as your loved one’s injuries. See if there were any witnesses who observed what happened. If possible, ask if they can give an account of what happened and write it down.
  2. Seek outside medical care. Get your loved one assessed by outside medical staff such as their primary care doctor or a hospital.
  3. File a report with the nursing home. Notify the nursing home of what’s happened in case they haven’t already written an incident report. Make sure to ask for a copy.
  4. Call a personal injury lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers (such as our firm) offer a free, no obligation consultation. The earlier you call, the more assistance they may be able to lend. This could be crucial if it turns out that you do have a case.

Depending on what happened, you may also need to consider a new living situation for your loved one.

Can a personal injury lawyer help with a nursing home fall?

Yes. You should always reach out to a personal injury lawyer if your loved one has taken a fall and you think the nursing home was to blame. Bringing a claim against a nursing home is complex. An experienced lawyer will understand how to navigate any contracts, state, and federal laws.

A personal injury lawyer can help file necessary paperwork, communicate with the nursing home or their representatives, and take legal action on your behalf. We can offer trusted advice and counsel on resources and “next steps” you might not have thought of.

Sometimes, people are surprised to learn that we don’t charge any fees upfront for our services. If after hearing what happened we decide to work together, we’ll pay all the costs associated with your case upfront. You only pay us if we’re able to win you a settlement.

Speak with a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Today

Do you have questions about a particular situation that happened to you or a loved one? Please call us. Rest assured, there is no fee or obligation. Again, you only pay a fee if win you compensation.

Please don’t delay or feel nervous about speaking with one of our attorneys. We are happy to explain your legal rights. Call us at 253.272.5226 or fill out the short form on our contact page.

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