What You Need to Know About Slip and Fall Settlements
Accidents can happen anywhere, and anytime. A slip or fall is a very common incident. A third of adults over the age of 65 have had a slip or a fall that resulted in injury, particularly those living in a nursing home.
A slip or fall is not a big deal for younger people, but for the elderly it can have dire consequences. Nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent accidents like this from happening.
If you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit over a slip or fall in a nursing home that could have been prevented, contact us today for a free consultation. We can help you find a medical provider to assess the condition of your loved one and let you know what kind of information you need to document to pursue a case against the facility.
The injury attorneys at Thompson Law Firm in Phoenix have significant experience in helping clients who have experienced nursing home abuse. Our offices are conveniently located in Chandler, Peoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person or over the phone or video call.
If you are unsure whether or not you can afford an attorney, no worries! We only get paid when you settle. Check out our Attorney Fees Calculator to find out more.
Keep reading to learn more about slip and fall settlements.
How Common Are Slip and Falls in Nursing Homes?
Sadly, falls in nursing homes are far too common and often result in severe injury. Over 60% of nursing home residents in the US have at least one fall a year.
For every 100 residents living within a nursing home, there are 100-200 falls recorded per year. There are likely several more that go unreported. Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable members of American society and therefore more susceptible to falls. Nursing homes are responsible for protecting their residents by ensuring a safe environment that prevents slip and falls.
Recent changes in regulations and staffing numbers have led to an increase of falls, with 7,700 more falls recorded in 2005 compared to the decade before.
Why Do Slip and Falls Happen in Nursing Homes?
There are many factors that can lead to a slip and fall in older people. Mobility and spatial awareness declines with age, which makes older people more vulnerable to falling.
Nursing homes are responsible for preventing slip and falls where possible, by reducing risks by maintaining all flooring and equipment in the home. However, sometimes a fall happens due to balance being weakened by illness, infection, or a change in medication.
Some other causes of falls include:
• Lower blood pressure
• Health conditions like arthritis and osteoarthritis
• Nervous system diseases like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis Another factor that can cause a fall is wearing ill-fitting clothing or shoes.
Not being dressed adequately and safely by nursing home staff is a form of neglect.
Common Injuries Caused By Slip and Falls
In the US, 87% of injuries directly caused by a slip and fall are fractures, especially broken hips.. In the more severe cases, a fall can cause brain injury or spinal cord injuries which can be debilitating or fatal.
Some of the most common injuries are:
- Broken wrists and collarbones
- Open wounds to legs, arms, and torsos
- Broken hips
- Broken legs, thighs, or ankles
- Spinal damage
- Brain injuries
- Bruising and cuts
These injuries are often traumatic to a vulnerable person and will take months to recover from. In many fall cases, the injuries sustained may lead to further complications and secondary injuries, like bedsores due to the reduced mobility. In the worst-case scenario, a fall may be fatal.
Complications from a fall are not limited to physical injuries. A slip and fall can lead to emotional and psychological distress. Anxiety and post traumatic stress are common in elderly fall victims.
How to Hold a Nursing Home Accountable for a Slip and Fall
An experienced attorney will assess the circumstances surrounding the fall and whether it could have been prevented. If a resident of a nursing home has had a fall that results in any form of injury, an experienced attorney will work to establish a financial settlement that reflects the severity of the injury and whether the fall could have been prevented.
How Much Will I Get for a Slip and Fall Settlement?
The financial compensation awarded in a slip and fall settlement depends on several factors that will be worked out by your attorney. Final settlement amounts in America for a slip and fall typically range from $3,000 to $25,000. But, there are many cases that result in larger compensation payments due to further complications that developed due to a fall.
An attorney handling a fall claim will calculate the amount based on several factors such as medical bills, legal fees, and nursing home costs. These costs will be presented to the nursing home representative, who will then either agree to pay or dispute the settlement. If the nursing home disputes the settlement, the case will proceed to court to be decided.
Most fall settlements are agreed outside of court, with both the injured party and the nursing home coming to an agreement with the presence of an attorney. On average, they take 3-12 months to reach a financial settlement.
An example of a larger settlement was seen in the case against a home in Arizona which resulted in an agreed $200,000 of compensatory damages being paid out. The family of the resident fought hard for the settlement after she suffered multiple falls while in the care of the nursing home.One fall caused her to break a hip, making pain medication necessary for the rest of her life at an additional cost.
The nursing home continued to neglect the defendant by failing to address escalating issues between her and her roommate. The conflict led to a violent attack, causing an eye to be removed. Tragically, the defendant died soon after this incident, and an attorney concluded it was as a direct result of the trauma, injury, and general neglect endured when living at the nursing home.
This is an extreme and tragic example that illustrates how the settlement reflected the prolonged pain and suffering that was endured by the victim. In most cases in which a fall could have been prevented, the nursing home will be solely responsible for the financial payout. In Arizona, a nursing home is legally required to have an insurance provider in place to cover legal costs and other fees, should they be sued.
Every case is different, so your financial compensation will depend on your unique situation. Your attorney can explain how this is calculated in your specific case, but the minimum compensation will cover medical bills and other expenses that were paid as a result of the fall.
Who Will Handle my Slip and Fall Settlement?
If you or someone you love has had a slip or fall within a nursing home, you should hire an experienced attorney who specializes in nursing home settlements. This will be your best chance of getting the most favorable outcome.
An attorney will know what information to look for and be able to figure out if there is a further case for neglect or abuse leading up to the fall. This is important to make sure you get a settlement that reflects the suffering you or your loved one endured while in the care of a nursing home.
It is also possible for an attorney to represent your loved one who may have had a fall in a nursing home and died because of their injuries. In these cases, it will be the family or legal guardian who will receive the settlement payout once it has been agreed upon.
Are Fall Settlements Taxable in the US?
No, due to recent changes in tax law, if a financial settlement is made for a fall in which a person was physically injured, the payment will be tax-free. However, if you also receive financial payment for any emotional trauma or distress, this part of the settlement will be taxed.
In legal terms, tax implications are only applied to punitive damages settlements for emotional or psychological injury caused directly by a fall. Compensatory settlements for physical injuries are not taxed under these new changes, which means you get the full settlement amount.
Contact Us For Help With Your Case
Our experienced attorneys know that every case is unique to our clients and our approach will be individually tailored to suit you and your family’s needs. If you’re representing a loved one in a nursing home or want to understand your legal rights when it comes to filing a slip or fall case, we’d be more than happy to speak with you today.
If you believe a fall or slip that happened within a nursing home could have been prevented, it’s likely you’ll have a solid case for a settlement. Contact our experienced team today and find out how we can help.