When our loved ones are supposed to be under the care of nursing home staff members, the last thing we should have to worry about is them sustaining an injury. Unfortunately, patient falls inside nursing homes occur much more often than most people realize. This is due to a combination of factors, including the age of the nursing home occupants as well as various disabilities that increase fall risks. However, nursing homes are supposed to have procedures in place to prevent patient falls. Here, we want to examine whether or not nursing homes can be liable for falls that cause injuries.
The Nursing Home’s Duty of Care
Just like any other property owner or landlord, nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their premises and those who have a right to be there. In these cases, nursing homes most certainly have a duty of care that they owe to the nursing home residents.
For fall incidents that occur, we will typically look to an area of law called premises liability. However, nursing home fall injuries could also fall under medical negligence theories when it comes to falls that happened to those who are seriously injured or disabled.
What Could Lead to the Nursing Home Being Liable for a Fall Injury?
In many cases, falls that occur inside of nursing homes happen for the same reasons that falls occur on other types of property:
- Wet floors
- Bunched up rugs or carpeting
- Electrical cords running across the ground
- Obstacles in pedestrian pathways
However, there are times when falls occur inside nursing homes because of an attendant’s failure to adequately guard and protect residents who face an increased risk of falling.
When nursing home fall cases are investigated by attorneys, it is not uncommon to discover the following causes of patient falls:
- Failure to monitor at-risk patients
- Failure to properly assess a person’s fall risk
- Failure to use patient protective devices (bed rails, wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc.)
- Malfunctioning bedrails
- Improper usage of bed pressure alarms
- Unreasonably hazardous floors
- Improper positioning of a resident at a chair or table
- Damaged or defective walking aids at
- Improperly trained nursing home staff
- The improper administration of prescription medications (wrong meds or wrong dosages)
Holding a Nursing Home Responsible for Fall Injuries
If your loved one has fallen inside of a nursing home and sustained an injury, it may be possible to hold the nursing home responsible for what happened. These cases can be challenging to prove, which is why we strongly recommend that you contact a skilled nursing home injury and abuse attorney as soon as possible.
When an attorney gets involved in these cases, they will handle every aspect of the claim. This will begin with using their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the incident. An attorney may be able to gather various types of evidence that improve what happened, including:
- Statements from eyewitnesses or other staff members
- Nursing home employee training records
- Records regarding the safety history of the nursing home
- Possible video surveillance of the incident
While an attorney is gathering the evidence needed to prove liability, they will also ensure that the fall victim is evaluated by a trusted medical professional who can help properly calculate total expected losses. A San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer will vigorously negotiate to ensure that their client receives adequate compensation for their losses.