Falls and Broken Bones

Our Jacksonville lawyers regularly prosecute nursing home claims resulting from injuries caused by a fall at a nursing home. In fact, one of the primary reasons that people require nursing home care in the first place is due to their risk of falling if they are left unattended. Nursing homes get paid to prevent such incidents and it is imperative they do so as falls are the most common cause of injuries at nursing homes. For some elderly persons, a fall that causes a head injury, broken leg or hip can prove fatal. Falls are one of the leading causes of death for persons over the age of 85. Disconcertingly, more than fifty percent of nursing home residents suffer a fall each year.

Nursing home residents must be evaluated to determine if they present a heightened fall risk, and, if so, precautions designed to prevent falls must be put in place. Numerous factors can place a person at an increased risk for falls including: muscle atrophy; neurological deficits (often resulting from a stroke); unfamiliarity with a new environment; dizziness; cognitive deficits; vision problems; confusion; illness; and prior falls.

A resident with a high fall risk should be assessed as needing either a “one person” or “two person” assist when performing transfers in and out of bed, to and from the bathroom, and when walking. Nursing homes can also use mechanical lifts and safety belts or harnesses to help residents perform transfers without the risk of falling. Far too often, nursing homes are understaffed resulting in a failure to provide the required assistance.

In addition to preventing falls, nursing homes must also take precautions to minimize injuries in the event a fall does occur. Such measures include: placing a bed at its lowest level to decrease the impact resulting from a fall from bed; placing mats around the resident’s bed to provide cushioning; and performing a thorough examination after a fall to ensure any injuries are discovered and treated without harmful delay.

Our nursing home lawyers have handled claims in the Jacksonville area for broken bones and falls resulting from nursing home staff: leaving a resident on a toilet; failing to respond to a call light; failing to properly assist the resident during the transfer process; dropping a resident to the floor when changing bed linens; failing to use bed alarms to let staff know when a high risk resident has left the bed (especially important for residents with cognitive deficits such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease); and failing to obtain x-rays despite doctor’s orders resulting in a painful five week delay in obtaining treatment for a broken bone.

If you, or a loved one, have suffered injury due to neglect or abuse at a Jacksonville area nursing home, please contact our law firm for a free consultation. We also recommend you contact Florida’s Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873. If we accept your case, you pay us nothing unless we make a recovery for you.