What You Should Know About Nursing Home Falls
Falls, which usually cause serious physical and emotional injuries, are rampant at many nursing homes. Over half of long-term care residents fall every year. The rate is so high because the risk is so high. Most nursing home residents have pre-existing conditions that affect fall risk. Gait disorders are a good example. Many older people shuffle their feet. So, when they stumble, they almost always fall.
Older adults are also more susceptible to the serious injuries mentioned above. Physically, injuries like broken bones and nerve injuries are difficult for older people to recover from. Emotionally, many older fall victims experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-type symptoms, such as fear and hypervigilance. They are so afraid of a repeat fall that they basically become prisoners in their own rooms.
Our experienced Tampa personal injury attorneys routinely handle these matters throughout the Tampa Bay area. Because of our experience, we are usually able to resolve these matters out of court. So, victims obtain the compensation they need and deserve faster than they would if the cases went to trial.
In Florida, the path to compensation starts with victim classification and legal duty. There are basically three possible categories in the Sunshine State:
- Invitees: These individuals have express or implied permission to be on the land. Furthermore, these guests benefit the owner, either economically or noneconomically. Since the relationship is close, the duty of care is high. Generally, owners have a duty of care to make premises, including nursing homes, reasonably safe.
- Licensees: Some individuals, like children who cut across parking lots on their way home from school, have at least implied permission to be on the land. But their presence doesn’t benefit the owner in any way. Usually, owners have a duty to warn licensees about latent (hidden) defects.
- Trespassers: If the visitor didn’t have permission to be on the land and the visitor didn’t benefit the owner, the owner usually has no legal duty to provide for the person’s safety. A few exceptions, like the frequent trespasser rule, protect a few trespassers in a few situations.
Based on this discussion, nursing home residents are clearly invitees. These individuals sign contracts, so they have express permission. Furthermore, they provide an economic benefit to the owner.
Arguably, nursing home visitors are invitees as well. That’s especially true if the visitor was a potential future resident or related to a current resident. Future residents are a potential economic benefit. Visitors lift residents’ spirits, and happier residents benefit owners.
Knowledge of Hazard
Florida law, along with a Tampa persona; injury attorney’s legal arguments, usually determine legal duty. Knowledge of hazard is a fact question.
Direct and circumstantial evidence is available in these situations. Direct evidence of actual knowledge could be a restroom cleaning report or a construction zone threat assessment. If anyone in the employer’s organization has direct knowledge, the employer usually has direct knowledge as well.
Circumstantial evidence claims often hinge on the time-notice rule. Assume the victim slips on a banana peel. That doesn’t just happen in the movies. If the peel was black and gritty, as if it had been walked on, it had probably been on the floor for a while. If that’s the case, an employee should have known about the hazard and should have addressed it.
Compensation in a fall injury claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Rely On a Dedicated Hillsborough County Attorney
Fall injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. After-hours visits are available.