Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Falls That Lead to Wrongful Death

Senior woman falling down in a nursing home. Nursing home falls. Visual concept for legal blog

When a nursing home accepts a new resident, the facility takes on a duty to provide that person with adequate medical care. This duty includes assessing whether the resident is at risk for falling. If they are, the facility must take reasonable steps to prevent a fall.

Failure to prevent falls is a form of nursing home neglect, and the injuries an elderly person suffers in a fall could be serious or even fatal.

If a loved one died because of a fall in a nursing home, the nursing home could be liable. Our nursing home wrongful death attorneys can analyze your situation, help you explore your options, and fight for the compensation your family deserves.

Nursing Home Fall Statistics

As people age, they tend to lose strength and coordination. In addition, many nursing home residents take medications that can affect balance and coordination. This combination increases the risk of falling.

According to a study by the National Institute of Health:

  • Between 50% and 75% of nursing home residents fall every year.
  • Only about 57% of nursing home falls are reported.
  • Approximately 1,800 nursing residents die every year because of injuries suffered in falls.
  • About 5% of American adults aged 65 and older live in nursing homes, but deaths due to falls in nursing homes account for 20% of the deaths in the same age group.
  • Approximately ⅓ of nursing home residents will fall two or more times in a year.
  • Between 16% and 27% of nursing home falls are caused by environmental hazards, such as equipment in the hallways.
  • About 35% of injuries due to falls occur in residents who cannot walk on their own.

Even though nursing home residents are at an increased risk of falling, most falls are preventable. In many cases, a fall in a nursing home is a sign of nursing home neglect.

Is a Nursing Home Liable for Allowing Residents to Fall?

In many cases, the nursing home is responsible for injuries a resident suffers in a fall. Nursing homes are legally obligated to implement a care plan to prevent residents from falling. When the facility fails to take appropriate precautions and a resident falls and is injured, the nursing home may be liable.

After a fall in a nursing home, the facility may claim that falling is just a consequence of getting older. However, state and federal regulations state that falls are not a regular or acceptable part of living in a nursing home. Each facility has a legal responsibility to assess a resident’s fall risk and to implement a fall prevention plan. Failure to do so could mean the nursing home was responsible for allowing the fall to happen.

Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Wrongful Death?

Nursing home staff have a duty to provide residents with appropriate medical care. When the care is inadequate and the resident dies because of the nursing home’s negligence, the nursing home could be liable for wrongful death.

Under Ohio’s wrongful death statute, the family members of the deceased person can file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the death of a loved one. The lawsuit is filed in the name of the estate of the deceased person and is filed to compensate the surviving spouse and children of the deceased person for their loss.

A wrongful death lawsuit allows the estate of the deceased person to seek compensation for:

  • Loss of support
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of society, including loss of companionship, consortium, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, and education suffered by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin
  • Loss of prospective inheritance
  • The mental anguish suffered by the surviving spouse, dependent children, or next of kin

Proving a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Seeking compensation for the loss of a loved one is a complicated matter that should not be undertaken without assistance from an experienced Ohio wrongful death lawyer.

To prove a case of nursing home wrongful death, the family of the deceased must prove the following elements:

  • Duty. By agreeing to care for the resident, the nursing home was legally obligated to provide the resident with a minimum standard of medical care and treatment.
  • Breach. The nursing home violated its duty by providing substandard care. Proving a breach of duty is often accomplished by carefully analyzing nursing home records.
  • Causation. The family of the deceased resident must prove the resident’s death was caused by the nursing home’s failure to provide adequate care. Nursing home facilities may try to avoid liability by claiming the resident’s death was caused by some other factor.
  • Damages. Finally, the family of the deceased resident must present to establish the measure of compensation they are owed for the loss of the loved one.

The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Ohio wrongful death claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. But, wrongful death claims are accompanied by other claims for negligence and could be subject to a shorter statute of limitations.

If you lost a loved one because of a fall in a nursing home, time is of the essence. You must act quickly to protect your family’s right to seek compensation for your loss.

Contact the Ohio Wrongful Death Attorneys at Robenalt Law Today

A fall in a nursing home can be a dangerous, even fatal experience. If your family lost a loved one because of a fall in a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss.

Nursing home wrongful death cases can be extremely complicated. To obtain a successful result, you should work with an experienced legal team that has the resources and expertise to bring your case to an optimal resolution.

Robenalt Law is proud to represent the families of people who died because of nursing home neglect. We represent clients in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Akron, throughout Ohio, and elsewhere. In many cases, there is no fee unless we win.

To put our expertise to work for you, call (216) 223-7535 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.