One of the most common causes of injuries for the elderly is falling. Sometimes, the reason for their slip and fall is not just a pure accident, but may be due to negligence or abuse. When a resident falls and suffers injury in a nursing home, the immediate question is who will be liable. The first assumption is the nursing home will be held responsible, but sometimes it can be the fault of the employee or a third party.
This article will look into different parties that are most likely to be liable for falls and injuries in nursing homes:
Liability Lies with the Nursing Homes
When a resident slips and falls on the property of a nursing home, there are many factors to take into consideration to help identify if the nursing home is legally responsible. For example, does the medical chart of the patient indicate any health condition that makes him or her have a higher risk of falling? What were the staff in charge of monitoring the patient doing at the time the fall occurred? Does the facility provide adequate protocols to guard patients against falls?
When an elderly person enters a nursing home, the employees and administrators of the home have a duty of care to that patient and their families. When a resident is admitted, the nursing home will always receive their medical chart which indicates if the patient carries any heart disease or health conditions that may cause dizziness, or symptoms that will make them more likely to fall.
The experts at Davis Firm explain that in these cases, the nursing home will need to adopt special protocols to guard them against the possibility of falling. If the nursing homes fail to do so, they will have to be responsible when an injury from a fall occurs, because as a skilled medical facility, nursing homes are expected and required to provide around the clock care to their patients.
Reasons why the Nursing Home is Liable
There are various reasons why the nursing home or its staff will be held responsible for a patient slipping and getting hurt. Some of these reasons include:
- Failure to provide a safe environment (minimize the risks of wet floors and inadequate lighting)
- Failure to monitor the patients, particularly at-risk patients walking in the facility;
- Failure to assess a patient’s risk of falling and adopt appropriate care plan based on their health condition;
- Failure to use patient protective devices;
- Failure to follow facility protocols;
- A lack of proper training for staff;
- Administering incorrect medication or dosage;
- Use of improper care techniques.
Furthermore, if the nursing home staff shows signs of abuse or negligence to the elderly, the nursing home could be found liable for the assault and mistreatment of their patients and this is a serious, serious matter. Whenever a patient falls, it is vital that the relevant staff file a report to explain exactly what happened so that the authorities can look into it and make sure no abuse occurred.
Liability Lies with a Third Party
It is not always the nursing home that is legally responsible if a resident is injured. There are many causes that should be examined. For example, if the medical device or the wheelchair that the patient is using malfunctions and causes the injury, the manufacturer may be the party responsible. Or when a resident suffers from food poisoning, the food vendor can be held liable, and the contractor responsible for sanitizing the kitchen may also be involved.
There are many scenarios in which third parties can be held liable. Even a visitor to the nursing home can accidentally cause injury to an elderly resident, or the medication that was improperly provided by an external physician.
This is why it is important to examine and find out the correct cause of a resident’s fall and injury to ensure that the responsible parties are held liable. Sometimes, this means several parties may be held responsible, for example, if there is a trespasser that injures the residents, both the nursing homes and the security contractor will be legally liable. In this case, the contractor has failed to provide security service to the facility, and the nursing home has failed to provide adequate security to its residents.
In terms of resident safety in a nursing home, if you are concerned about any of the nursing home’s facilities or staff, you should discuss with them right away to prevent accidents from happening. If your loved one suffers an injury from a fall in nursing homes, it is best to contact a lawyer as they will be able to assist you with identifying the cause and the party responsible for it, as well as help get your loved one out of the dangerous situation.