Many patients suspect that the last place they will be injured is while in the hospital in a vulnerable state, requiring other people to provide adequate treatment to get healthy.
Unfortunately, trusted doctors and nurses in charge of ensuring the patient’s care can cause fall-related injuries
due to a lack of supervision, prescribing the wrong meds, or misdiagnosis.
Were you injured in a hospital or nursing home and believe that someone else’s negligence caused your harm? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys represent injured hospital patients to ensure that they are maximally compensated for their damages.
Call our medical malpractice lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation regarding a potential Chicago hospital patient fall lawsuit.
The Hospital’s Duty to Protect Patients Against a Slip and Fall
Did you know that hospitals and nursing homes must maintain a safety program for the patient’s health and well-being? Likewise, did you know that doctors and nursing employees should assess your fall risk when admitted to the facility?
Inpatient falls often occur, especially for elderly patients at higher risk of severe injuries due to their poor balance when left alone. The facility might breach its duty of care if the patient’s doctor fails to diagnose any condition that could lead to a fall or other injury.
Inpatient falls that cause serious injury in a hospital setting should be adequately investigated to determine the reason for the accident. The hospital held liable for negligent actions could also be held financially accountable for not preventing unsafe conditions.
The common signs of a fall occurring in a hospital include:
- Traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage
- Bruising or swelling on the head or neck
- Cuts, scratches, abrasions, or burns on the face
- A deep wound exposing bone and nerve tissue
- Confusion or being disoriented
- Headaches from the internal bleeding inside your skull
- Nausea or vomiting
- Memory loss (forgetting what happened just before or after the fall)
- Numbness on one side of the body
- Broken bones (fractures) involving one or more areas of the body
Assuring patient safety is part of the responsibility of every staff member to eliminate falls in a hospital. A patient falling in a health care facility is considered a “never event.”. Medicare defines a never event as a preventable problem leading to injury or death, like falls, contagious infections, and bedsores.
Hospital medical care staff are responsible for every patient’s risk of falling while under their care. Sadly, fall accidents can seriously injure patients and delay or even prevent their ability to recover.
Causes of Hospital Falls
The National Safety Council  reports that approximately 1,600 people fall in hospitals daily in the United States, leading to 150 deaths. The contributing factors of most falls include:
- Medication: Many prescription drugs can affect a patient’s physical and mental capacity. Therefore, hospitals should be aware of possible side effects and prepare to assist patients when moving from one area to another.
- Changes in blood pressure: Procedures and medications may affect blood pressure which can cause vertigo and dizziness.
- Frequent visits to the washrooms: Hospital staff needs to be prepared for patients who need to empty their bladder or bowels more frequently due to their medical condition.
- Mobility issues: Proper mobility devices and precautions are needed for those with mobility difficulties.
- Vision issues: Medications and other factors may cause a change in vision that can increase the chance of fall risk.
- Poor lighting: Dark hallways and unlit private bathrooms without sufficient lighting can create a dangerous environment making fall hazards highly likely.
- Cluttered Areas: Crowded hallways, debris, and hospital room obstacles create a high risk of falling.
- Understaffing: The hospital often has insufficient staffing to meet patients’ needs, especially during nighttime hours. Understaffing can lead to ordinary negligence and medical negligence.
For decades, hospital fall injuries have remained the third leading cause of death in the United States. While many of these falls result from a failure to supervise or monitor patients, others occur when the patient is carelessly transferred by improperly trained staff.
Preventing Hospital Falls
The majority of hospital accidents are attributed to falls. However, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, up to 40% of all hospital fall accidents are preventable.
A study published in the New England Journal of Internal Medicine cited that between 2.3 and 7 falls happen for every 1,000 patients in hospitals in the United States.
Approximately 85% of patient falls happen within the hospital patient’s room, and 30% result in serious injuries. Since patient falls are considered a “never event,” this rate is much too high and can be reduced significantly by the hospital staff adhering to safety procedures.
- Proper equipment for mobility: Walkers, wheelchairs, guardrails, and other devices must be available to prevent falls and slips.
- Transfer assistance: Many falls happen when the patient moves from one place to the next, such as exiting the hospital bed to use the bathroom or bedside toilet.
- Alarms: Nursing employees must have alarms if a patient who should not be moving tries to leave their bed. Ordinary negligence might be involved when a patient fall occurs.
- Nurse call systems: All call systems for patient assistance need to be in working order and within reach of the patient receiving treatment, care, and assistance.
Family members can help ensure their loved one’s safety by taking precautions when in a nursing facility.
First, ensure that your family member stays at a hospital or nursing facility where there are grab bars on both sides of the toilet, beds with guardrails, and bedside tables and call buttons within easy reach.
A health care assistant or nurse who follows established protocols and understands the patient’s condition and personal preferences can minimize the fall risk when the patient is confused, tired, or asleep.
Setting up the room before going to sleep and keeping the call button close at hand can ensure that the nursing assistant is available within moments to help the patient get up, use the restroom, or grab a personal item from the bedside table.
Did you fall in the hospital? Were you assessed as a fall risk when staying at the hospital or nursing facility? First, it is crucial to know your legal rights. Federal and state laws regulate how hospitals and nursing homes respond to severe falls and common injuries.
Legal Advice Is Available
Our personal injury attorneys have years of experience handling accidents where our clients were hurt on the nursing home and hospital premises.
We can successfully resolve Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits involving patients who suffer falls at hospitals or are dropped by staff. Our legal team will be on your side to get the best possible financial outcome for you and your family.
Call us today at (888) 424-5757 if you or a loved one fell in a hospital, and we will advise you on your rights, free of charge and with no obligation.
Medical Malpractice Claim Involving Hospital Patient Falls
Hospitals are legally liable when patients fall, especially if they suffer traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and fractured bones.
Patients can file personal injury claims against the hospital for not having “reasonably safe” equipment and supervision if they suffer a preventable injury caused by the facility’s breach of its duty of care to provide safe premises.
Failing to provide proper care in a safe environment at medical/rehabilitation facilities like housekeeping services where slippery floors lead to a patient’s fall caused by ordinary negligence.
A medical malpractice lawsuit or premises liability claim filed against the medical center might cite numerous contributing factors to the fall, including:
- Inadequate safety measures such as missing rails on elevators and ramps
- Insufficient staffing
- Hospital beds without utilized raised protective guardrails (bed rails)
- Uneven flooring that leads to severe injuries like broken bones and head trauma
- Bathrooms without side rail handholds
- Inadequate (low) lighting in the corridors and hallways
- A lack of non-slip flooring
- Improperly maintained equipment and hospital beds
The hospital property owners and administrators will likely defend every medical malpractice case based on legal liability by arguing they were not given sufficient notice of a hazard or that the fall resulted from many factors on the safe premises.
However, slippery surfaces and icy conditions outdoors are not valid excuses for the nursing staff’s failure to protect patients. Nearly all premises liability cases in hospitals and other medical facilities are based on ordinary negligence resulting in serious injuries.
Chicago Hospital Patient Fall Lawsuits: Receiving Compensation When Patients Are Injured Due to Staff Negligence
Patients harmed by a hospital fall can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician and other healthcare providers alleged to have caused them harm.
The medical malpractice suit will recover monetary damages for the patient’s injuries, including:
- Medical bills
- Hospitalization costs
- Lost wages
- Future lost earnings
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
The amount the victim can receive through a medical malpractice lawsuit involving a hospital or other medical facility will be based on numerous factors, including:
- Extent of injuries
- Insurance policy limits of every party held liable for the slip and fall damages
- The claim type that’s based on medical malpractice or premises liability theory, based on case facts
- The level of breach of the defendant’s duty of care based on the appropriate standard of care
Statute of Limitations
The injured party or family members can file a civil lawsuit against the medical center before the statute of limitations expires. In Illinois, the statute typically limits the victim from filing a medical malpractice claim within two years of the incident.
However, extenuating circumstances based on the unique facts of their medical malpractice case could provide additional time to receive compensation.
If the victim fails to file a premises liability claim before the statute expires, they give up their legal rights to seek financial compensation from the defendants held liable for damages.
Hiring a Personal Injury Law Firm to Resolve a Hospital Fall Case
Are you the victim of patient neglect due to a fall injury at a hospital or nursing home? Were you left unattended when the fall occurred and want to ensure that the medical center is held accountable?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our Chicago, Illinois, slip, and fall, lawyers provide legal services to high-risk patients harmed in a medical facility.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our injury law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
We accept all medical malpractice cases through a contingency fee agreement, meaning you owe us nothing if we cannot obtain compensation on your behalf.
Resources:  National Safety Council