Nursing Home Falls Lawyer
San Antonio Nursing Home Falls Attorney
Nursing homes are supposed to be safe and comfortable places for our elderly loved ones. Unfortunately, millions of elderly people suffer abuse and neglect in nursing homes every year. Senior citizens can suffer from a lack of basic needs as well as bedsores, medication errors, falls, and so much more. Incidents like these can drastically shorten their lives. That’s why our team at Janicek Law wants to protect the elderly by stopping abuse and neglect for good. If one of your elderly relatives has suffered a nursing home fall or any other life-threatening incident, call 210-366-4949 today.
How Many Nursing Home Residents Fall and Suffer Serious Injuries?
According to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), about half of the 1.6 million Americans who live in nursing homes fall every year. Approximately 1 out of 3 nursing home residents who fall once are likely to fall two or three more times in just one year.
How Many Nursing Home Patients Suffer Fatal Falls?
The CDC claims that approximately 1,800 elderly nursing home residents die annually after falling. Additionally, fall-related deaths in the United States have increased by 30% from 2007 to 2016. The CDC warns that if fall-related deaths don’t decrease, there will be approximately 7 fall deaths every single hour by 2030. As you can see, these numbers create major concerns for the family members of every nursing home resident.
Common Causes of Falls in Nursing Homes
Falls occur among nursing home residents for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are:
- A hazardous environment, which can include wet floors, equipment blocking the hallways, cords or other items on the floors, dim lighting, etc.
- Muscle weakness or walking problems, which is the most common cause of falls in living facilities
- Medications that primarily affect the central nervous system can certainly increase an elderly patient’s risk of falling in a nursing facility
- Beds and wheelchairs that are too high
- Broken or damaged wheelchairs, walkers, and canes
- Improper foot care and shoes that don’t fit right
Fall Related Injuries in Nursing Homes
If a nursing home patient falls, they can suffer serious injuries due to general frailness and weakness at their old age. According to data from the CDC, common fall-related injuries among elderly residents include:
- Broken bones in the pelvis, spine, hands, wrists, forearms, etc.
- Hip fractures (95% of these injuries are caused by falling)
- Traumatic brain injuries, which are most commonly caused by falling
- Severe bruising
Falls are extremely serious for nursing home patients because of their age and fragility. Their bodies will struggle to heal as quickly and completely as younger bodies. Additionally, if the elderly person already struggled with preexisting medical conditions, their recovery may be extremely slow and painful. For example, osteoporosis, malnutrition, blood vessel disease, a weak immune system, etc., can greatly disrupt a senior’s healing capacity. Depending on how serious the fall was, some elderly people may never recover. If this is the case with your loved one, you need a San Antonio nursing home abuse lawyer on your side.
Health Conditions that Can Increase Fall Risk
Some senior residents are more high risk than others, especially when it comes to falling. Elderly nursing home residents who suffer from the issues listed below are more likely to fall.
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Balance and walking difficulties
- Taking antidepressants, sedatives, or any medication that can affect balance or cause dizziness
- Poor vision
- Painful feet
Consequences of Nursing Home Falls
An elderly patient who falls won’t just suffer a serious injury that could lead to long-term treatment or disability. They will suffer in other ways too. Nursing home falls result in a new fear of falling again, which will impact their mobility and confidence. A senior may restrict their daily activities in their nursing home facility, such as avoidance of showering, socializing, and participation in fun activities. This fear and restriction will naturally result in reduced quality of life. The senior citizen will also suffer from an increased risk of death, especially if the assisted living facility does nothing to prevent them from falling again. Victims and their families should contact a Texas nursing home injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Preventing Future Falls in Nursing Homes
Preventing a nursing home fall is crucial for a resident’s quality of life, health, and confidence. Once a patient falls, it’s up to the nursing staff to implement specific fall prevention protocols, including:
- Examining the patient, their fall injuries, and the risk factors that caused their fall or could cause another fall
- Improving vision with glasses, if the patient doesn’t have them already
- Improving the patient’s environment by removing obstacles on the floors and in the hallways
- Closely watching residents and helping them move or walk when they need it
- Providing hip pads to decrease hip fractures
- Altering medications if they may have caused dizziness, muscle weakness, or balance problems
- Providing walkers, canes, wheelchairs, and properly fitted shoes
- Installing more handrails in the patient’s bathroom and bedroom if the patient doesn’t already have them
- Lowering the patient’s toilet and bed if that’s a possible risk factor for them
- Encouraging regular exercise to improve strength, balance, and mobility
It’s important to note that while nursing facilities and their staff can’t completely prevent all falls, they can certainly improve the resident’s safety and prevent most falls. But if the nursing home fails to improve safety and implement extra precautions, which later leads to more fall injuries, you can certainly pursue legal action with San Antonio personal injury lawyers at Janicek Law.
Physical Restraints and Fall Prevention in Nursing Homes
Nursing home staff members may start using physical restraints on a patient who has already suffered a fall. However, dozens of studies conclude that physical restraints aren’t effective in preventing nursing home falls. In fact, a 2012 study claims that physical restraints could cause even more falls along with the increased risk of bedsores, delirium, and immobility. So if you notice that your senior loved one is using physical restraints in their nursing facility, advocate for them and ask nursing home staff for a better fall prevention protocol.
Can I Sue for Nursing Home Falls?
Yes, you can sue for falls and any other type of nursing home abuse. Assisted living facilities are legally responsible for incidents like this, especially when it’s proven that they don’t take proper care to prevent falls. Skilled nursing facilities and their staff members can be held liable by a senior citizen’s family members if:
- Lack of supervision and assistance, generally caused by understaffing, led to one or more falls
- Medication errors led to one or more falls
- Poorly trained nursing home staff led to one or more falls
- Environmental hazards in nursing homes led to one or more falls
- The nursing home failed to implement and follow the patient’s care plan that was recommended by a medical professional
How to Win a Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit
The first step in potentially winning a nursing home neglect lawsuit is to hire experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Janicek Law. The next step in potentially winning a lawsuit is to prove the elements of negligence, but only if you believe that is the direct cause of your loved one’s frequent falls. Negligence is basically the failure to take appropriate care of someone or something. Plaintiffs must prove that the following elements occurred in order to have the best outcome:
- Duty of Care: The nursing home or the nurse/doctor in charge owed all of their patients a specific duty of care. In other words, the facility or the nurse/doctor is required to take proper care of all of their patients.
- Violating Duty of Care: The nursing home or the nurse/doctor in charge of your loved one failed to take proper care to prevent their falls.
- Causation: The elderly person suffered serious injuries from falling, which directly resulted from the violated duty of care.
- Damages: Compensation from the nursing home, nurse, or doctor would partially or totally cover the cost of medical expenses for fall-related injuries.
Elder abuse and neglect lawyers at Janicek Law can certainly help you gather enough evidence to prove these elements of negligence.
Damages for Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
If you file an elder abuse lawsuit and win, you or your senior loved one could receive financial compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Future rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Punitive damages
What is the Average Settlement Amount for Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits?
According to a 2003 study from Health Affairs, the typical nursing home settlement amount is about $406,000 in the United States.
Call Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Janicek Law Today
San Antonio elder abuse attorneys at Janicek Law have extensive experience in handling nursing home lawsuits of all kinds, including those that stem from medical malpractice, negligence, and more. If abuse and neglect led to the death of your senior loved one, we have what it takes to win a wrongful death lawsuit too. Attorneys at our law firm understand the emotional distress of watching an elderly person suffer in a home where they’re supposed to be healing. That’s why we make it our mission to protect the elderly through one legal battle at a time. Call us today at 210-366-4949 for a free consultation.