When an elderly family member is no longer able to care for themselves, a nursing home may be the best option. Family members trust that the nursing home will be able to look after their loved ones, who need full-time care. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are more concerned about cutting costs, even if it means putting residents at risk of injury.
Nursing homes and nursing home workers have a duty to care for residents. When the nursing home breaches that duty of care, causing injury or illness to the residents, the nursing home should be held responsible. A personal injury lawsuit can make sure the nursing homes are taking proper care of nursing home residents and seek financial damages for any wrongdoing.
If a family member was injured in a nursing home accident, talk to a New York personal injury lawyer from Sullivan & Brill, LLP. Our legal team represents injury victims across New York, including Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island, and Westchester County. Contact us today at (212) 566-1000 for a free consultation.
Nursing Home Accidents in New York
There are more than 1.3 million nursing home residents in the U.S. People who live in nursing homes may have any number of physical or mental impairments, including diabetes, dementia, or have some disability that makes it difficult to perform regular activities of daily living.
Nursing home residents may be more likely to suffer serious injury from common accidents like a slip and fall, burn injury, or infection. When an elderly person does have an accident, they may also be more likely to suffer long-term or permanent damage. Common nursing home accidents may include:
- Falling out of bed,
- Slipping in the bath or shower,
- Falling on stairs,
- Slipping on wet surfaces,
- Scalding injuries from hot water,
- Chemical burns,
- Failing to contain infections,
- Burn injuries from hot liquids,
- Tripping on uneven walkways,
- Slipping on icy surfaces, and
- Wrong medication accident.
Who is Responsible for Nursing Home Accidents
When someone is injured in a nursing home accident, the nursing home may be responsible for the damage. The nursing home has a responsibility to care for their residents and to provide a safe environment. If the nursing home fails to provide the due care necessary to keep residents safe and healthy, the nursing home may be liable for damages. A nursing home may be liable for injuries through:
- Premises liability,
- Intentional assault,
- Vicarious liability for the negligence of an employee,
- Negligent training,
- Negligent hiring, and
- Failure to provide enough staff and supplies.
Unsafe Premises and Dangerous Property Conditions
Keeping property conditions safe is not limited to nursing homes. All property owners have a duty of care to visitors and residents. Nursing homes should be aware of any hazardous conditions on the property and take immediate action to fix or repair the dangerous conditions. Hazards on nursing home property that could cause an accident or injury may include:
- Cracked sidewalks,
- Icy surfaces,
- Torn carpet,
- Supplies blocking a hallway,
- Cords on the ground,
- Spills on the floor,
- Waxed or wet floors without a warning sign,
- Unleveled elevators,
- Unsecured stair railing, or
- Poor lighting.
For example, a nursing home resident needs a walker to get around. The resident is going to the activities room and catches their walker leg on an extension cord that is in the walkway. The resident falls down, breaking a hip. In this situation, the nursing home may be liable for the resident's injuries and losses because the property owner or nursing home staff was negligent in creating the hazardous condition, failing to fix the hazard, and failing to warn residents of the hazard.
Nursing Home Liable for Employee Negligence
Employers are generally liable for the negligence of an employee who causes an injury or accident in the course of their employment. Vicarious liability holds employers responsible for the actions of the employee. This can be helpful for injury victims who are more likely to recover damages from the employer where the employee may not have enough money to pay for the damages.
Even if the employee is intentionally causing injuries to nursing home residents through physical, mental, or sexual abuse, the nursing home owners may be liable for the damages if they failed to properly screen the employee, supervise the employees, or follow-up on any reports of abuse. If you suspect a family member is being abused in a nursing home, contact your experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.
Wrongful Death Claim After a Nursing Home Accident
A slip and fall or other nursing home accident can be fatal. A family member may get a call from the nursing home that the resident passed away after an accident, with little information about what really happened. The family should not just accept the nursing home's explanation of the accident without getting the full story.
If the nursing home was negligent in causing the accident, the surviving family members may be able to hold the nursing home accountable through filing a wrongful death claim. Certain family members or heirs of the estate may be entitled to any proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit, including:
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
- Medical costs prior to death
- Income the deceased would have earned prior to his or her death
- Loss of financial support and services the deceased would have provided
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of parental guidance
After contacting your New York wrongful death attorney, your attorney will be able to undertake a thorough investigation of the accident, review medical records, talk to nursing home staff and residents, and establish the liability of all responsible parties.
New York Nursing Home Accident Attorneys
Our team at Sullivan & Brill, LLP prepares each case as if we are proceeding to trial. We do a complete examination of the facts, including utilizing skilled outside investigators. We manage each of our cases personally. Handing most of the legwork off to associates is not our style.
Our experienced New York City nursing home injury attorneys arrive at the negotiating table thoroughly prepared and determined to reach a favorable settlement. If discussions prove ineffective, we are fully equipped to fervently litigate on our client's behalf. Contact us today for a free case evaluation online or call us at (212) 566-1000.