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Nursing Home Falls

Nursing home falls can be very serious and happen to virtually any elderly person given their frail condition. Sometimes it is simply an accident that cannot be avoided, but in many other cases someone falls because of negligence or an oversight at the nursing facility where they are living. There are nursing homes all over Seattle, Bellingham, Kirkland, Olympia, and all over Washington State. All of them must comply with the applicable Washington State law regarding the care of the residents who live there. Falls at nursing homes can be very devastating to the elderly because of their frail, fragile, and vulnerable physical condition.

Nursing Home Fall Statistics

Of all the reasons the elderly are taken to the ER, nearly 40% of the time it is because of falls at a nursing home. In Washington State, the average nursing home has about 100 beds and each nursing home will have as many as 200 falls in a given year. Various hazards in the nursing home make up about 25% of all the falls.

The most typical kind of hazard that leads to a fall that is within the control of the nursing home are slippery floors and not having enough staff members to properly monitor the elderly guests who are attempting to navigate the nursing home or assisted living facility. Other hazards include bad lighting, bad floors, and other items that are left on the floor and lead to people tripping or slipping and hurting themselves.

Common Injuries After a Fall at a Nursing Home

If a loved one has fallen at a nursing home and injured himself or herself, the injuries can be extensive and possibly life-threatening. The most common injuries an elderly person will suffer at a nursing home are:

  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Tailbone injuries
  • Hip injuries that may necessitate a hip replacement
  • Knee injuries
  • Head trauma, including a traumatic brain injury
  • Neck injuries
  • Death
  • Paralysis

These injuries will rarely just go away or heal on their own, especially when it is an elderly man or woman who might not have been in great health prior to the fall.

Washington State Nursing Home Laws for Falls

After discovering that your elderly loved one has fallen and hurt themselves at the nursing home or assisted living facility, you are understandably shocked and upset and your mind may be turning to how the fall occurred and if the nursing home failed to do something to prevent the fall. In many cases, the answer is yes, the nursing home could have prevented the fall had they been properly staffed or properly trained their staff, which are the most applicable forms of negligence that someone will sue for: negligent hiring and negligent supervision.

There may be instances to sue for malpractice or even what is known as premises liability—which would be appropriate if something about the nursing home’s facility was dangerous or not kept up in a manner that it should have been.

For example, if your elderly loved one tripped and fell or slipped and fell because of water that was spilled by another resident, left to sit there for a period of time and not cleaned up by the staff, which caused your loved one to fall, then your best form of a lawsuit would be a premises liability, meaning that the nursing home simply failed to keep up the nursing home in the right condition.

However, if it can be proven that your loved one fell because he or she was attempting to navigate the hallway unassisted, then the nursing home could be liable under a theory of negligent supervision because the nursing home has a legal duty to properly supervise the residents who live there.

In any case, in a negligence action you have to prove a number of important things. You have to prove that the nursing home owed your elderly loved one a duty not to get hurt, you have to prove that the nursing home acted in some way so as to cause your loved one to get hurt, and you have to prove that your elderly loved one’s injuries were related to the wrongdoing of the nursing home (as opposed to something else, such as a pre-existing condition your elderly loved one might have had or just old age in general).

Obviously, the particular facts of your case will determine how this goes, but that is how the law looks at these cases in terms of how you must prove your case and establish the key elements of your case. The Jackman Law Firm stands ready to assist you in this matter

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

If your elderly loved one has been injured by a fall at a nursing home, you might be wondering what remedies you have, if any, against the nursing home. The Jackman Law Firm has the resources to help you recover the following:

  • Money for pain and suffering
  • Money for medical bills
  • Money for out of pocket expenses

It is important to note that Washington State does not have what our called punitive damages, meaning you cannot sue the nursing home and ask for money strictly as a form of punishment. Rather, the money you seek must be tied to the injured person’s damages, which are normally physical and emotional. The law recognizes emotional and psychological injuries just as much as physical injuries.

Typically, a lot of nursing homes have large insurance companies who will step and defend the nursing home in the event of a lawsuit. As you can guess, these insurance companies are not willing to simply write you a check without serious argument and pushback. They will likely attempt to do everything possible not to pay out by arguing that your elderly loved one’s fall was not their fault or that their injuries were related to something other than the fall or both. The Jackman Law Firm can depose key witnesses and subpoena important documents. We can do everything possible to understand how and why your loved one fell and injured themselves. Do not go through this difficult and long process alone. Trust us to do excellent work for which, of which we have a long track record.

Feel free to call The Jackman Law Firm for a free consultation.

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