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Accidents can happen anywhere, and a slip or fall is a very common incident that happens across America, every year. In fact, on average a third of adults over the age of 65 have had a fall or slip that results in injury, particularly those living in a nursing home.

Falls or slips within a nursing home may be common but many could be easily prevented, and sadly they can have very serious consequences.

If you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit for a slip or fall that happened and could have been prevented within a nursing home, our guide will give you all the information you need to know about fall settlements and how attorneys consider all aspects before coming to an agreement for their client;

How many falls in nursing homes happen every year?

Sadly, falls in nursing homes are far too common and often result in severe injury.

Over 60% of nursing home residents have at least one fall a year in the US.

For every 100 residents living within a nursing home over a year, there are between 100-200 falls recorded officially, and sadly many more that go unreported.

Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable members of American society and therefore more susceptible to falls. However there is a responsibility from nursing homes to protect their residents and put in place the right conditions to prevent slips or falls.

Recent changes in regulations and staffing numbers have had an impact on the increase of falls meaning sadly they are continuing to increase, with 7,700 more falls recorded in 2005 compared to the decade before.

Why do slips and falls happen in nursing homes?

Falls or slips can happen for a wide variety of reasons and affect older people in particular as their mobility and spatial awareness changes.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent falls or slips where possible, reducing risks by maintaining all flooring and equipment in the home.

However, sometimes a fall happens due to illness or infection affecting balance or even a change in medication. Some other causes of falls include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Health conditions such as Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s and MS

These can also significantly increase the risk of falls happening for an individual within a home setting, particularly if they are not being regularly checked on.

It’s not just health issues or the environment that causes slips or falls as residents wearing ill-fitted clothing or shoes or who are being subject to neglect are also at high risk of falls. Sadly, there are often cases of neglect within nursing homes that result in falls happening that could have been prevented.

Common injuries caused by slips or falls

In the US, 87% of injuries directly caused by a slip or fall are fractures, particularly broken bones like hips. In the more severe cases, a fall can cause brain injury or spinal cord injuries which can be fatal.

Some of the most common injuries can include:

  • Broken wrists and collarbones
  • Open wounds to legs arms and torsos
  • Broken hips
  • Broken legs, thighs or ankles
  • Spinal damage
  • Brain injuries
  • Emotional distress
  • Anxiety and post-traumatic stress
  • Bruising and cuts

These injuries are often traumatic to a vulnerable person and will take months to recover.  In many fall cases, the injuries sustained as a result of a fall can become far more serious and even fatal. Residents can also develop secondary injuries, like bedsores due to the reduced mobility following a fall.

In all slip and fall cases, an experienced attorney will fully assess the circumstances surrounding the fall and whether it could have been prevented.

In the instance where 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 if the fall could have been prevented.

How much will I get for a fall settlement?

The financial compensation awarded in a slip or fall settlement depends on several factors that will be worked out by your attorney.

Final settlement amounts in America for a slip or fall typically range from $3,000 to $25,000, but there are many cases that result in larger  compensation payments due to other injuries that then developed following a fall.

An attorney handling a fall claim will calculate the amount based on several factors such as medical bills, legal fees, and even nursing home costs. These costs will be included in the amount presented to the nursing home in question who will then either accept them or dispute the settlement, proceeding the case to court.

The majority of fall settlements are agreed outside of court, as both the injured party and the nursing home typically come to an agreement with the presence of an attorney. This means, 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 Ms Wall fought hard for her fall settlement after their family member suffered multiple falls during her time in a nursing home. One particular fall caused her to break a hip and require pain medication that was then needed for the rest of her life at an additional cost. The nursing home was then found to continue to neglect the defendant further, failing to address growing issues between her and her roommate which resulted in a violent attack, causing an eye then having to be removed. The defendant very sadly passed away soon after and an attorney concluded it was as a direct result of the trauma, injury and general neglect endured when living within the nursing home.

Whilst this was clearly a tragic and thankfully more rare slip and fall case, the settlement reflected the prolonged pain and suffering that was endured throughout.

In most cases where a fall has happened and could have been prevented, the nursing home will be solely responsible for the financial payout. Within the state of 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 a number of factors. Your attorney can explain how this is calculated in your specific case,  but the minimum compensation will cover medical bills and other outgoings that were paid as a result of the fall.

Who will handle my slip or fall settlement?

An experienced attorney who specializes in falls in nursing homes will be the best legal representative for you, if you’ve had a slip or fall within a nursing home. You should always seek professional advice when filing a slip or fall settlement to secure the best possible outcome.

There will be many other factors to include when seeking a settlement that an attorney will know to look for.

For example, there may be a further case for neglect or abuse that underlies your case so hiring a professional to represent you will make sure your fall settlement fully represents the suffering ensured.

It is also possible for an attorney to represent your loved one who may have had a fall in a nursing home and as a result of their injuries has since died. 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 where 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 as a result of a fall. Compensatory settlements for physical injuries are not taxed under these new changes and therefore means you receive 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 could help.

Our experienced attorneys offer comprehensive guidance on all personal injury matters by phone or video conference call.

Our team of lawyers work closely with their injury clients across Arizona, communicating clearly whilst offering reassurance and empathy through an often very difficult and emotional process. During the free consultation, our lawyers will discuss your concerns before creating a comprehensive plan for you, while also assessing the strength of your claim.

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