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Nursing Homes Preparedness for Fall Related Injuries

Earlier this week, as reported by BND, a Cook County jury awarded an elderly woman $843,000 for injuries she sustained in a fall at her Chicago area nursing home. Falls are the most prevalent injury that can be sustained in a nursing home according the Center for Disease Control ( CDC ), accounting for nearly a million falls yearly. While, some of the injuries sustained in falls are an unavoidable consequence of the victim’s physical characteristics and limitations, the CDC estimates that 16% to 27% of the falls are a result of environmental hazards.

Injury awards for falls in nursing homes are not isolated incidents and can cause serious and debilitating pain for the victim for the conceivable future. That is why Illinois and most other states have enacted many laws, which facilitate how nursing homes and other like facilities handle and prevent such harms. In the state of Illinois, there is the broad Nursing Home Care Act that outlines what is required of homes and other similar services. In the act, there are requirements for the lifting of a resident, fixtures that should be available to prevent falls, and policies in place in the event of a fall or injury. When there is a violation or action that falls below the standard of care that has been set by the Nursing Home Care Act, which leads to an injury, that is when a resident should know what do to do and understand their rights.

It is critical for the both resident and family members to first seek to enforce their rights by reporting the injury the Illinois Department of Health, which is the primary agency for enforcement of the Nursing Home Care Act. If a violation is found, penalties can be levied against the nursing home, which range from fines all the way to suspension of the home’s license.

While reporting a violation will ensure better accountability, it is also important that the victim is able to receive the appropriate funds to correct any injuries or harms sustained in a fall. Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid will only cover so much of the financial burden that is often required when treating an injury, which can lead to a strain on an already fixed income. That is where a civil suit enters the picture — a family member or victim can file a lawsuit to seek recovery of money spent on the treatment and recovery of fall related injuries, and for other harms related to the fall such as ongoing pain or now limited mobility. One of the most common avenues available is to file a lawsuit under negligence, which is basically saying that the nursing home’s actions fell below an acceptable standard of care in their facilities, actions, treatment, or response related to the injury. Awards often attempt to place the victim in the best position it can, often attempting to replicate if the injury had never occurred (paying all financial outlays while compensating for any ongoing or future injures related to the fall).

It is important that you, or your family members understand your rights if a fall has occurred and ensure that the care and recovery from the fall are completely taken care of and corrected by the nursing home, if there is fault involved. The CDC estimates that falls are often preventable if a home takes proper intervention actions. That is why you should contact our experienced Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys to ensure that your rights are fully protected and evaluate if we are able to help you or your family member receive any compensation for a fall in a nursing home.

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