Nursing home slip and fall accident

California has made a concerted effort in recent years to improve care in assisted living facilities and ensure prompt filing of nursing home fall incident reports. Despite these efforts, slips and falls remain a staggering – yet preventable – problem. If you or a loved one have suffered slip and fall injuries in a Southern California nursing home, do not delay; have your case reviewed by the Salamati Law Firm. Based in Los Angeles, we are here to help you understand your rights and will fight for maximum compensation from those at fault.

How common are slip and fall accidents in nursing homes? Approximately 1.4 million reside in American nursing homes and with Baby Boomers coming of age, that number is expected to more than double – to 3 million – by 2030. Approximately 75% of nursing home residents will experience a fall in any given year. To put the matter into perspective, a 100-bed nursing home can expect to see 100-200 falls per year.

Causes of falls in nursing homes

Nursing home residents can fall for many reasons, including their own infirmity, problems with the site layout of the home, employee negligence, and even a combination of these factors.

Some of the common causes of nursing home falls that we see include:

Understaffing

As facilities attempt to save money by reducing skilled nursing staff, this leads to incidents such as:

  • Residents trying to navigate to a restroom on their own
  • Employees skipping safety protocols regarding how and when to transport a resident or to engage the side-rails on beds
  • Overworked staff who are not adequately training new employees in safety measures

Inadequate planning or care

Failures with the nursing home itself or its staff increases the risk of a slip and fall:

  • Poorly designed floor plans place nurses’ stations unreasonably far from resident rooms, increasing the distance residents need to travel for assistance
  • Improper care plans lead to inappropriate dosing of medications, many of which can increase the likelihood of a fall
  • Food trays, carts, and other objects left in hallways create obstacles
  • Delays in housekeeping leaves urine, food, or drinks on the floor as a hazard

Mobility issues

Seniors, especially those who require special nursing care, may be at increased risk of falling due to:

  • Dementia
  • Balance issues due to medication
  • Loss of strength and flexibility
  • Decreased mobility
  • Impaired vision

Common nursing home slip and fall injuries

The elderly are at greater risk of falling, as well as at greater risk of becoming injured in a fall. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in Americans over the age of 65, and between 10 and 20 percent of nursing home falls cause serious injury.

Some of the most common nursing home injuries include:

  • Head injuries
  • Hip fractures
  • Other broken bones

Nursing home falls also cause decline in a resident’s ability to function, impair independence, and cause feelings of fear, helplessness, and isolation.

Reporting a fall in a nursing home

Anyone – any person or organization, not just the resident or their family members – may file a complaint about neglect, abuse, or unsafe conditions including under-staffing and poor care with the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health. For those looking to resolve a specific dispute, the California long-term care ombudsman can help try to reach a resolution with the facility.

Who is responsible for falls in nursing homes? There are many reasons nursing home residents fall. In some cases, no one is to blame. In others, the nursing home and/or its employees did something it should not have or failed to do something it should – this is called breaching a duty of care.

Are nursing homes responsible when residents fall?

A nursing home may be liable for the fall if it breached the duty of care. In a civil lawsuit, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the facility did not meet its duty.

Proving a case like this requires understanding of the nursing care industry and the rules it is required to follow. The Salamati Law Firm is intimately familiar with this process and works with experts who can effectively explain the factors to a jury.

How much is my nursing home fall case worth?

You or your loved one may be entitled to damages including:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of earnings

In the case of wrongful death, damages may also include:

  • Loss of care, companionship
  • Loss of economic benefit to heirs
  • Funeral costs

If elder abuse is suspected, special damages may include:

  • Civil penalties for violations of statutes
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney fees

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

The statute of limitations will depend on the specific claim. Generally, in California, if a claim alleges that an injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, the time frame is two years from the date of the injury. If the claim involves a wrongful death or allegations of professional negligence, the deadline may be only one year.

It is crucial to speak with a qualified lawyer to determine the statute of limitations for your claim. If a claim is not filed by the proper deadline, it will be barred.

Slip and fall lawyers Los Angeles trusts

If you or a loved one have been injured in a nursing home slip and fall, call the Salamati Law Firm at 1-888-259-4060 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer.

We provide aggressive advocacy on behalf of personal injury victims throughout California, fighting tirelessly to obtain maximum compensation.

Additional resources about nursing home falls:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Falls are leading cause of injury and death in older Americans, https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0922-older-adult-falls.html
  2. University of California San Francisco Science of Caring, How Can We Reduce Adverse Events in Long-Term Care Settings?, https://scienceofcaring.ucsf.edu/research/how-can-we-reduce-adverse-events-long-term-care-settings
  3. California Department of Aging, Local Ombudsman Programs, https://www.aging.ca.gov/Programs/LTCOP/Contacts/