One of the leading risks of injury in a nursing home in Detroit and Michigan is the threat of falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an average 100-bed nursing facility can see as many as 200 falls every year. Further, the CDC reports that falls at nursing homes occur more often than at an elderly living community. Because nursing home patients are less mobile and have more serious medical conditions, they are at a greater risk for a fall. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
When a resident of a nursing home does fall, the Detroit and Michigan nursing home abuse lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm are there to help. We understand the severity and the complexity of these cases. Michigan nursing home falls lead to serious injury, hospitalization and even death. Our Detroit nursing home injury attorneys recognize that falls in nursing facilities and nursing homes can be the result of negligence.
What Are the Causes of Nursing Home Falls in Detroit and Michigan?
There are numerous reasons why a nursing resident may fall. Sometimes it can be the fault of the resident, but often a mistake is made by a nursing home employee or caregiver in causing the patient to fall. Common causes for falls in a nursing home include:
- Attempting to move the patient from one place to another without proper assistance from nursing home staff;
- The resident is on medication and disoriented;
- A patient needs to use the bathroom and asks for help or presses the call button, but nobody comes to assist;
- A resident needed help getting on or off the toilet and a staff member does not assist;
- Failing to properly use or maintain bedrails, causing a resident to fall out of bed;
- A resident has dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease that affects their ability to walk or appreciate certain dangers.
What Are the Causes of Nursing Home Drops in Michigan?
- Transfer from a bed to the floor or ground without;
- Transfer from a bed to a wheelchair;
- Transfer of a patient to or from a shower
- Transfer of a patient to or from the toiler
- Improper use of walking aides;
- Dangerous conditions in the nursing home itself, such as poor lighting, wet floors, or faulty wheelchairs
Whatever the reason for the fall or drop, if an injury results an investigation into the event is warranted. A skilled Michigan nursing home lawyer can help ask the right questions and get started on why the fall occurred and what, if anything, the nursing home did incorrectly to cause the fall.
Bed Rail Falls in Detroit and Michigan Nursing Homes
Falls from a bed due to a bed rail not being fastened correctly, properly maintained, or used at all can lead to catastrophic injuries. Elderly patients are already susceptible to injury. Falling from a bed onto the floor can cause hip fractures, broken bones and bleeding to the brain. Since 2001, Michigan has had specific guidelines for the use of bed rails in long term care nursing facilities.
These regulations include:
- The distance between the slats of the bed rail must be small enough to prevent the resident’s head from becoming accidently trapped. Typically, a gap of no more than 4.5 inches is acceptable;
- The bed rail must be mechanically sound and firmly attached to the bed;
- The bed rail latches must be in good working order;
- The space between the bed rail and mattress and between the mattress and head or floorboard cannot be greater than 2.5 inches on any side;
- On each of the first 5 days following the initial use of a bed rail, the resident, bed frame, bed rails and mattress must be monitored by each shift to document proper use;
- The long-term care facility must use maintenance logs to document safety checks.
In addition to these regulations, long term care facility staff must be trained and educated regarding bed rail use and evaluation, the risks and benefits of bed rail use, and bed and bed rail safety.
What are Common Injuries from Nursing Home Fall in Michigan?
Because nursing home residents tend to be frail with pre-existing medical issues, the injuries they can sustain from a nursing home fall can be very severe. These injuries can include, but are not limited to:
- Hip fractures with surgery;
- Broken femur, fibula and tibula;
- Broken arms, elbows, knees and other orthopedic injuries;
- Facial injuries, including teeth damage, broken jaw and orbital fractures;
- Closed head injury or traumatic brain injury, including brain bleeds;
- Death from a fatal fall
What are Potential Causes of Action in a Michigan Nursing Home Lawsuit?
Almost all nursing home lawsuits from a fall, drop or slip and fall in Michigan are standard negligence cases. This means the resident or his/her family is filing a lawsuit because the nursing home staff failed to meet the standard of care and broke the safety rules, thus leading to the injuries sustained by the resident.
The following can be grounds for filing a Detroit and Michigan nursing home lawsuit against the nursing home facility or long-term care facility and its employees:
- Negligent Hiring: Nursing homes must hire staff members who are qualified with proper certification. They must have a clear record, with no history of abuse or violence. If a nursing home hires an employee with a troubled background, the facility can be held liable if this employee in part caused the injuries.
- Inadequate Training: All nursing home employees must be adequately trained and understand the regulations and standard of care. Sometimes, nursing homes do not have staff members who are properly trained, and therefore fail to meet proper safety protocols. In this situation, the nursing home can be held liable.
- Understaffing: Nursing homes that are understaffed is a major problem that plagues nursing facilities throughout Michigan. Whether the home is in metro Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint or Traverse City, staffing is an issue. But it’s not an excuse. Nursing homes must have the proper number of nurses and aides available to care for the residents at the home. Failing to have adequate staffing is evidence of negligence.
- Medical Errors: Every resident must be given the proper medication in the proper dosage. The doctor prescribing the medication will give these orders in writing and the nurses and aides responsible with providing the medication must follow these orders. Medication usage must be charted and properly documented. Failing to do this can lead to serious injuries.
What is a Typical Nursing Home Fall Settlement in Detroit and Michigan?
The amount of money an injured resident and his or her family can receive due to nursing home negligence following a fall or drop depends on a lot of factors. No situation is the same and no case is the same. The severity of the injuries, the level of negligence, the amount of past and future medical expenses, and future medical treatment are all important factors in determining how much a case is worth.
In a nursing home lawsuit, there are both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include outstanding medical expenses, the cost of future medical care and out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering, the emotional distress, disfigurement, trauma and loss of enjoyment of life the resident has gone through.
If a nursing home patient dies due to the negligence of a nursing home, then the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In this situation, the family can sue for the pain and suffering their loved one went through and outstanding medical expenses. But the family can also sue for loss of companionship as well as funeral expenses.
The Best Detroit and Michigan Nursing Home Fall Attorneys
Residents of nursing facilities across Michigan deserve the expertise and compassion of nursing home abuse lawyers who will fight and obtain the justice they and their families deserve. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has fought the large nursing corporations and won. We are pleased to be a leading choice for families in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and across the state of Michigan when a loved one is injured following a nursing home fall or due to nursing home neglect.
Call our team of Michigan nursing home fall lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) and ask for a free case evaluation. Our legal professionals will come to the nursing home if needed. And you never pay a fee until we win your case.