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Slip and Fall Accidents at Nursing Homes

When older people sustain injuries, it takes much longer for them to heal than it does for younger adults. That said, San Francisco elder abuse lawyers have found that minor accidents like tripping, slipping or falling down can be extremely dangerous for older adults, and preventative measures to ensure these accidents do not happen need to be in place in all nursing homes.

Because many older people do not have the ability to live on their own, loved ones and family members may choose to place them in the care of a nursing home. The older person, loved ones and family members are paying for staff and medical responders to be on-site 24 hours a day and to assist or watch over older residents who may be unsteady on their feet and need assistance in getting around. Falls, and the injuries that go along with them, pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of older Americans, especially those in nursing homes or care facilities.  If understaffing or staff neglect results in a resident falling, the nursing home should be held responsible for any injury.

Falls in a Nursing Home

Slip and fall accidents can happen for a number of reasons:

  • Bad lighting in hallways and bedrooms
  • Wet floors
  • Slippery or icy conditions outside or in front hallways
  • Lack of bedrails, hand holds, or beds that are too high
  • Mess, clutter, or other hazards in main hallways, dining and common areas, and resident rooms
  • Medication that may blur or compromise one’s vision, depth perception or awareness
  • Lack of adequate supervision or trained staff presence
  • Understaffing that causes difficulty in moving patients from room to room, to the restroom, etc.
  • Non-working equipment like call buttons or intercom systems
  • Ill-fitting shoes or slippers
  • Dehydration or malnutrition that leads to dizziness, weakness, or other health complications

While accidents do happen, there are several preventable mistakes on the list that create risky situations. Preventing accidents and creating and maintaining safe, nurturing environments are responsibilities for nursing home administrators, and failing to do so could result in serious injury or even death for residents.

Neglect or failing to provide a safe, reasonably hazard-free environment for residents are forms of abuse. California law establishes standards of cleanliness, professionalism and duty of care for nursing homes throughout the State.  The standards apply to the staff as well. Nursing home staff should be on guard against dangers to those in their care, especially dangers that could be easily eliminated. If a staff member is aware of a potentially dangerous situation, and an accident does happen, the home could be held liable for their negligence and resulting injuries.

Injured residents and their families can pursue claims against nursing homes for negligence, neglect, and elder abuse. The goal of these claims is to provide full and fair compensation for losses caused by the facility’s failure to take adequate steps to prevent falls.  

Unfortunately, some nursing home admissions contracts may contain arbitration clauses that impose limitations on effort to pursue compensation. While arbitration may present challenges, the bottom line is, when a senior has suffered damage due to the negligence of the care facility, legal recourse is available so the victim can be properly compensated.

At Evans Law Firm, Inc., our elder abuse lawyers represent clients who have been injured as a result of abuse in a nursing home. To discuss your case, and to protect the safety and health of your loved ones, contact us at 415-441-8669 or online for a consultation today.

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