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Nursing Home Fall Sparks Civil Lawsuit

Virtual Strategy reported this week on a new nursing home neglect lawsuit that has been filed on behalf of a family whose loved one passed away, they allege, following complications from a preventable fall. Each Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm is intimately familiar with these sorts of accidents. Far too often, elderly residents find their quality of life decimated and health spiral downward after falling while inside a long-term care facility.

Nursing Home Lawsuit
This latest case involves a fall where care members were directly involved. According to allegations in the complaint, the nursing home resident was in need of close assistance any time that he was moved. A “Hoyer” lift was used when he was being transported. Also referred to as “patient lifts,” these are common assistance devices that use hydraulic power and slings to move individuals with mobility problems. Various versions exist to help residents and patients with different needs.

While using the lift, the nursing home resident in this case fell. He apparently suffered extensive leg wounds in the fall. His health never recovered from the incident, and he died shortly afterwards.

In filing the nursing home neglect lawsuit, the decedent’s family claims that the facility failed to meet a string of proper caregiving requirements. Part of the errors included a failure to ensure that the equipment used was in good-working order. This initial report of the new suit is unclear on whether the family believes that the fall was caused by error on the part of caregivers in using the equipment, a problem with the lift itself, or a combination of both.

Our Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys know that in many of these cases the family is not able to pinpoint the problem until they are given an opportunity to collect more information about the case. The phase of the process known as “discovery” is where the parties in a suit share records, interview relevant individuals, and otherwise gather information that might be used at a trial. Discovery does not happen, however, until the suit is actually filed and responded to by the defendant-facility.

Preventing Illinois Nursing Home Falls
As discussed in a blog post last week about a settlement following a fall at a nursing home, these are some of the most common accidents at skilled nursing facilities. There is a misconception among some that when a senior falls at a facility is it simply an unpreventable incident that occurs because of the senior’s vulnerabilities. While these falls are almost never intentional, they often indicate negligent conduct at the facility allowing accountability via the civil justice system.

Nursing homes are required to properly assess the fall risks of residents who enter the facility. Then, after clearly laying out the potential hazards for the residents, they need to enact basic steps to ensure those risks are accounted for. Failure to do so, when it results in an injury to the resident, is negligence. As this case demonstrates, the consequences of these falls are often life and death, and so there is no excuse for facilities to cut corners when it comes to preventing nursing home falls.

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