How to Approach a Lawsuit for Falls in a Nursing Home

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When a loved one suffers a fall in a nursing home, it may be appropriate to bring a lawsuit. It can be hard to know how to approach any claim involving an elderly or vulnerable loved one. Determining your approach helps you form expectations for litigation and work towards success as you define it. Our nursing home abuse lawyers explain how to approach a lawsuit for falls in a nursing home.

  1. Approach the lawsuit as an opportunity for accountability as well as compensation

The lawsuit is an opportunity to hold the care facility accountable for its operations. The actions of the care facility and the events leading up to the fall can take center stage. Punitive damages can be a significant source of accountability for the nursing home. Punitive damages punish wrongdoers for willful, wanton, or reckless conduct (South Carolina law § 15-32-520).

A nursing home lawsuit may prompt the nursing home to make changes that help other residents. It also encourages other care facilities to take action to avoid similar situations.

Along with punitive damages, the victim may claim a range of economic and non-economic damages. Review all categories of compensation and include everything applicable, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of mobility, and decreased life expectancy.

When approaching the lawsuit as an opportunity for accountability, consider that your lawsuit may prompt change within the care facility and improve protocols in care facilities in general. Address financial losses and seek sufficient compensation to care for your loved one’s additional medical expenses and needs. 

  1. Approach the lawsuit as a comprehensive review of the circumstances leading up to the fall

The nursing home may try to quickly blame the fall on a single event or circumstance. They may blame the victim or say that accidents just happen. However, there are many things to review and standards to evaluate to determine what truly caused the fall. There may be multiple, complex causes of a nursing home fall. 

Evaluate the following:

  • What individual risk assessments occurred for the victim before the fall? Were recommended safety protocols followed?
  • Did the victim have a previous fall history? What remedial or protective measures were taken for the safety of the victim at that time?
  • Was the care facility in violation of South Carolina Standards for Licensing Nursing Homes? (Violations may be directly or indirectly related to the fall, such as inadequate staffing or poor training.)
  • Have there been other similar falls in the facility? Did the facility follow reporting requirements for falls?
  • What were the conditions and events immediately leading up to the fall? Did inadequate railings, a lack of mobility devices, uneven flooring, or even poor lighting contribute?
  • Did the care facility follow their own internal protocols?

As you approach your nursing home fall lawsuit, conduct a thorough and holistic investigation. Review multiple bodies of records. Compare your findings to negligence standards, licensing protocols, and internal procedures, knowing that there may be more than one cause or fault that resulted in the fall.

  1. Approach the lawsuit as contested litigation

Given the age of the victim and the fact that they have been hurt in a fall, it’s easy to assume that the goal of the case is to reach a quick settlement. However, do not overlook the need to diligently build the evidence. You should build evidence of fault and damages as though you intend to take the claim to trial.

It’s the goal of the nursing home to avoid paying compensation. It’s their goal to avoid accountability completely. Because of liberal discovery procedures, the strength of the evidence is well known to both parties. If the other side knows that you don’t have strong evidence, they’re likely to try and cut a settlement short. As you prepare your case, plan to thoroughly gather evidence to sustain the claim. Doing so puts you in the best position to resolve your case with a favorable settlement.

Along with preserving evidence comes the need to work quickly. In the case of a nursing home fall, witnesses may pass away over time. Employees may move on to new pursuits and be hard to contact. Even though the wheels of justice turn slowly, you can work quickly to interview witnesses and document evidence.

Attorneys for Nursing Home Falls

Your lawyer for nursing home abuse can work to minimize the burden of the legal system on your loved one during the claims process.If your loved one has suffered a fall in a nursing home, contact our nursing home abuse lawyers for your free consultation.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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