All nursing homes have a legal duty to protect their patients from harm, a responsibility which includes ensuring within reason that they are not injured by slipping and falling. Whether the fall happens in a walkway, a dining room, or even in the shower, the nursing home may be civilly liable and the injured person—or their family advocating on their behalf—may have the right to demand compensation.
Falls in Chicago nursing homes are among the most common sources of personal injuries endured by residents of assisted living facilities. A dedicated nursing home abuse lawyer could help injured residents and their families investigate the nature of such an incident, gather evidence demonstrating negligence by facility staff and/or administrators, and author demand letters and lawsuits that ask for appropriate compensation.
The Legal Duties of Nursing Homes
All nursing homes in Chicago and around Illinois have a legal duty to protect their residents from foreseeable harm. The concept of foreseeable harm can be complex, but in general the law defines it as any harm that an outside observer could reasonably expect to affect the resident.
When a resident is already in fragile health, as many people in nursing homes are, the legal requirement to protect them is especially important. As such, nursing homes must take every possible precaution to protect their residents from falls, which typically includes but is not necessarily limited to:
- Providing handrails in all areas where residents are allowed to travel
- Providing staff at all times to help residents move around
- Ensuring that all bathing facilities are properly maintained and kept free from standing water
- Cordoning off all temporary hazards such as spills or broken steps that could cause a resident to fall
It is the responsibility of plaintiffs seeking damages in these cases to collect evidence that proves the nursing home failed in this duty to protect the welfare of the resident. However, even the most ironclad case could fail if a plaintiff does not come forward in time.
Illinois state law specifically limits when an injured person can file a claim for damages. Known as the statute of limitations, 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/13-202 states that all claims for personal injury arising from accidents must be in court no more than two years from the date of the injury. An attorney could help residents and their families ensure they file their claims on time given their specific circumstances.
Injuries that May Result from Falls
Slips and falls can result in serious injuries to even the healthiest of people, and this effect is unfortunately often magnified when the victim is already in poor health. Falls in Chicago assisted living facilities from even short distances can result in severe bruising, torn ligaments, broken bones, or even brain injuries, and falls that happen in the shower can even expose the resident to a risk of drowning.
The purpose of a personal injury case filed after a fall in a nursing home is to demand compensation for these injuries. In addition for money to pay for all necessary medical care, this can also include payments meant to compensate the victim for the mental anguish associated with the injury.
These incidents can have just as devastating a mental effect on the resident as a physical injury. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer could work to ensure that the demand packages and complaints filed on behalf of an injured victim portray an accurate picture of the incident and its effect on the plaintiff’s life.
Falls in Chicago Nursing Homes Can Lead to Serious Injuries
Falls are among the most typical sources of injuries suffered by residents in nursing homes. When these falls are the result of caretaker negligence or abuse, the injured party or someone else advocating for them could hold that nursing facility civilly liable for any damage that results. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer today to schedule a consultation.