The very nature of nursing homes and similar facilities makes for an increased risk of falling in Arizona. If the residents were capable of caring for themselves, they wouldn’t be in the facility, and the fact that they can’t take care of themselves produces endless opportunities for falling. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently reported that 16.6% of nursing home residents had fallen since admission to the facility or since their last functional assessment by the facility. About one third of the falls resulted in some injury. Without a dedicated Phoenix nursing home falls attorney, many facilities will not take blame for accidents like these. However, the attorneys at Knapp & Roberts can help you build a strong case against nursing homes at fault.
Elderly residents often have a lengthy list of characteristics that make falls more likely:
Facility staffing and promptness of response to residents’ calls for assistance may also contribute to the risk. For example, if a resident with bladder urgency calls for help and it doesn’t come promptly, the resident has an incentive to try to reach the bathroom without help, which may prompt a fall anywhere on the trip to and from the bathroom.
Arizona nursing homes and similar facilities often defend claims for injury when a resident falls by claiming ignorance of the fact that the circumstances presented a risk of falling, of the fact that a specific resident was prone to fall, or both. Fortunately for injured residents and their families, an experienced Phoenix nursing home falls attorney knows that falling is a well recognized problem for many groups of people, especially the elderly, the sick, and the injured. The physics of falling—what happens, the differences that various surfaces make as to injuries, etc.—has been studied extensively. Researchers have also spent considerable time analyzing:
If the facility is ignorant of the risk of falling, the ignorance may well be an indication that the staff is unqualified, inadequately trained, or very bad at communicating with each other.
By far the most common injuries from falling are fractures and soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains. Head injuries are frequent as well, and may cause permanent reductions in brain function. Psychological consequences may include increased anxiety, diminished confidence, and depression.
Injuries may be exacerbated by the facility’s failure to take steps to minimize the consequences of falling in those patients known to be at considerable risk. For example, residents at high risk for falling could be given beds lower to the floor, shoes and support clothing that increases balance, and soft floor coverings in the areas they most commonly traverse.
Prompt response to patient calls and avoiding spills that create slippery floor conditions are also important.
Damages for fall injuries in a nursing home can be sought under Arizona’s Adult Protective Services Act (APSA). APSA allows recovery of actual, consequential and punitive damages for neglect, as well as the costs of the suit and reasonable attorneys’ fees. If the facility is subject to the federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), violations of that act’s standards of care may also establish neglect or negligence.
If you or a family member has fallen in a nursing home due to negligence on the part of the management or staff, getting help from an experienced Phoenix elder abuse lawyer starts the process of holding the facility accountable. At the law firm of Knapp & Roberts, our elder abuse attorneys have successfully handled many care facility fall cases. In most cases, the claim ends up settling before trial, but we know how to prove your case in court if necessary.
Give Knapp & Roberts a call today. We are committed to justice for you, and we don’t charge for the consultation.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.