Nursing Home Negligence: Falls Resulting in Significant Harm and Wrongful Death

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      Placing a loved one in a long-term care facility, also known as a nursing home, can traumatize a family. This difficult decision, usually the result of an emergent situation or chronic health concern, can leave the family wrought with feelings of guilt, grief, and anxiety. As the resident and their loved ones adjust to lifestyle changes, it is not easy to trust and have confidence in the care provided. Especially for the most vulnerable persons requiring around-the-clock supervision and intensive care. So, what happens when your worst fears become a reality? The phone rings, and you are informed your loved one has had a severe fall with injury or death? If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to get in touch with a personal injury attorney in Orlando to help manage your claim. A serious injury in a nursing home may result in medical bills and other challenges that can be difficult to manage on your own. The Badgley Law Group can help victims of personal injury in Florida recover compensation for damages.

   Fall-related injuries and wrongful death in nursing homes is a serious health concern in our country. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and the Bureau of Long Term Care Services oversees nursing homes’ state licensing. Nursing homes rely heavily on the payment source provided by public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. A severe violation of safety standards, causing a recipient to suffer injury or death, can be determined as immediate jeopardy. It carries severe sanctions for a facility from the state, such as termination of payment from public payors or an inability to admit new patients.

 According to the Center for Disease Control, each year, 50-%-75% of all nursing home residents in this nation will have at least one fall. Approximately 1800 nursing home residents die each year from injuries sustained from falls. Being high risk for falls is a product of many factors for a resident with a functional decline, a physical disability, or cognitive disabilities.

Determining Negligence in Nursing Home Cases

   Owners of nursing homes are bound by premises liability laws for injuries to persons on their property. They have a duty of care under the medical negligence theory to provide appropriate medical care and a safe environment for those admitted to their facility. They are liable for damages if they fail to provide this duty of care. Based on this premise, each nursing home resident requires an assessment upon admission that includes their fall risk. They need a reassessment for every medical condition change. Preventative measures are to be implemented to keep them safe.

 Depending on the medical and mental status of the resident, safety interventions for risk of falls may include but are not limited to:

  • Staff assistance for toileting at regular intervals, placing the resident near a nursing station for higher visibility, use of a low bed with a bed alarm, medication adjustments, physical therapy, assistive devices for transfers such as walkers and transfer belts, working call bell systems, assignment of a staff person to stay with the resident during high-stress times, such as sundowning for residents with Alzheimer’s disease.

   Facility regulatory non-compliance such as low staffing levels, failure to provide adequate staff training, and failure to keep premises clear of safety hazards further contribute to falls in nursing homes.

Compensatory Damages

   For injuries and wrongful death related to negligent care in nursing homes, the family may file a civil lawsuit in the Florida court system on behalf of the resident. Compensatory damage awards may include the cost of medical treatment, physical and emotional pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and more. Punitive damages may be awarded to deter similar acts or omissions of care in the future.

    Lawsuits against nursing homes can be complicated and require the representation of an experienced attorney that understands the process of personal injury law. In investigating negligent nursing home claims, it is necessary to scrutinize medical records and facility incident reports. Witness testimony of medical staff and photographs of injuries are significant evidence. Expert witnesses can provide factual evidence, and families can convey the depth of their losses to a judge or jury.

The Badgley Law Group provides Superior Legal Representation for Victims of Personal Injury.

    Attorney Jeff Badgley has provided successful and compassionate representation for clients with personal injury and medical malpractice claims since 1988. He has an AV Preeminent standing, which is the highest rating for an attorney for ethical standards and legal abilities, based on Martindale Hubbell peer reviews. As a Board-Certified Civil Trial Lawyer since 2007, he is recognized by the Florida State Bar as a specialist in the field of trial law. Fewer than 5% of Florida lawyers are board-certified in their area of law practice.

You deserve an attorney with a record of success in personal injury law. Contact the Badgley Law Group in Orlando, Florida, at 407-606-5603 for a consultation and free review of your claim and legal options. 

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