Hospital Fall Lawyers: Chicago, Illinois
Were you injured in a hospital or nursing home and believe that someone else's negligence caused your harm? If so, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine the best legal course of action for your case.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our fall injury attorneys represent injured hospital patients to ensure that they are maximally compensated for their damages. Call our medical malpractice attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.
Many patients suspect that the last place they will be injured is while they're in the hospital in a vulnerable state, requiring the assistance of others to get healthy. But, unfortunately, trusted doctors and nurses in charge of ensuring the patient's care can cause their fall-related injuries due to a lack of supervision or misdiagnosis.
The Hospital's Duty to Protect Patients Against a Slip and Fall
Did you know that hospitals and nursing homes are required to maintain a safety program for the patient's health and well-being? Likewise, did you know the doctors and nursing staff were supposed to assess your fall risk when you were admitted to the facility?
Inpatient falls occur much more often than thought, especially for elderly patients at higher risk of severe injuries due to their poor balance when left alone.
Any slip and fall that happens and causes injury in a hospital setting should be adequately investigated to determine the reason for the accident. In many cases, the hospital may be to blame for the fall or even the death that resulted from the fall.
The common signs and symptoms of a fall 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, feeling like you're in a fog
- Headaches from the 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 falling in a hospital. One of the events that are considered a "never event" is hospital patient falls.
Hospital medical staff are responsible for preventing slip and fall accidents by patients under their care. Sadly, slip and 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 every day in the United States, leading to 150 deaths. A leading contributing factors of most hospital 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 they need to move from one area to another.
- Changes in blood pressure. Procedures may affect blood pressure that can cause vertigo and dizziness.
- Frequent elimination. Hospital staff need to be prepared for patients that will need to eliminate their bladder or bowels more frequently due to their medical condition.
- Mobility issues. Proper mobility devices and precautions are needed for those who will have difficulty with mobility.
- Vision issues. Medications and other factors may cause a change in vision that can increase the chance of a fall.
- Poor lighting. Darkened hallways and unlit private bathrooms within sufficient lighting can create a dangerous environment making fall hazards highly likely.
- Cluttered Areas. Crowded hallways and debris, and obstacles in the hospital room create a dangerous scenario for a high risk for falling.
- Understaffing. The hospital often has insufficient staffing to care for patients to ensure that their needs are met, especially during nighttime hours. Understaffing can lead to neglecting the patient.
For decades, hospital falls have remained the third leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States. While many of these falls result from a failure to supervise or monitor patients, others occur when the patient is improperly transferred by the nursing staff or exposed to hazardous materials.
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 accidents involving falls 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.
About 85% of these falls happen within the patient's room, and 30% of these falls result in serious injuries. Since 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 need to be available to prevent slip and fall accidents.
- Transfer assistance. Many falls happen when the patient transfers from one place to the next, such as exiting the bed to use the bathroom or bedside toilet.
- Alarms. Nursing staff need to have alarms in place if a patient who should not be moving tries to leave their bed.
- Patient instructions. Read all patient instructions regarding lab tests, medications, assessments, therapies, etc., to maximize patient safety.
- Nurse call systems. All call systems for patient assistance need to be in working order and within reach of the patient.
Family members can help ensure their loved one's safety by taking precautions when the hospital or nursing home has fallen behind. 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.
Health care assistants and nurses who follow established protocols and understand the patient's personal preferences can minimize the risk of falling 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 recently fall in a hospital? Were you assessed as a fall risk when staying at the hospital or nursing home but were still left unattended?
First, it is crucial to know your legal rights. Federal and state laws regulate how hospitals and nursing homes respond to severe falls and injuries.
Legal Advice is Available
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys have years of experience handling accidents where our clients were injured on the nursing home and hospital premises.
We have successfully resolved Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits involving patients who have fallen at a hospital or were 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 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. 888-424-5757
Medical Malpractice Claims involving Hospital Patient Falls
Hospitals are legally liable when patients fall, especially if they suffer traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and fractured bones. Typically, an injured patient can file a civil lawsuit against the hospital for not having "reasonably safe" facilities or equipment or failing to provide proper care like housekeeping if the floors are slippery.
A medical malpractice lawsuit or premises liability claim filed against the medical facility might cite numerous contributing factors to the fall, including:
- Inadequate safety measures like missing rails on elevators and ramps
- Insufficient staffing
- Uneven flooring
- Inadequate lighting in the corridors and hallways
- A lack of non-slip flooring
- Improperly maintained equipment
The hospital will likely defend their medical malpractice claim by arguing they were not given sufficient notice of a hazard or that the fall resulted from many factors like adverse weather.
However, slippery surfaces and icy conditions outdoors are not valid excuses for the nursing staff failing to protect patients. Nearly all slip and fall cases in healthcare facilities are based on hospital negligence when the patient experiences serious injuries.
Hospital Fall Lawsuits: When Patients Are Injured Due to Staff Negligence
Most patients injured from a hospital fall can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician and other healthcare providers alleged to have caused them harm.
This suit will recover monetary damages for the patient's injuries that could include medical bills, hospitalization costs, lost wages, future lost earnings, mental anguish, loss of consortium, pain, and suffering damages.
The amount that the victim can receive through a medical malpractice lawsuit will be based on the reduced quality of life, the extent of their injuries, and the value of their pain-and-suffering damages.
Statute of Limitations
The injured party or their family members can file a civil lawsuit against the medical center before the statute of limitations expires. In Illinois, the statute typically restricts the injured party from filing a claim within two years from the incident.
However, extenuating circumstances based on the unique facts of their case could provide additional time to receive compensation. If the injured party fails to file a claim before the statute expires, they give up their legal rights to ever seek financial compensation from the defendants at any time in the future.
Hospital Falls FAQs
Our personal injury lawyers understand that many families have unanswered questions on filing a premises liability claim against a nursing home or medical center. A fall injury attorney answered some of those questions below.
For additional information, contact us at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form today for a free case review.
What is considered a fall in a hospital?
In an inpatient setting, a patient fall is defined as an unintentional, sudden descent that might cause a severe injury. Typically, slip and fall accidents result in the patient resting on the floor, against another surface, on another person, or hitting an object.
Most fall-associated injuries in hospitals are nonfatal. However, the infirm, disabled, and elderly can suffer catastrophic injuries, including broken hips, fractured bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, cuts, and contusions.
What are the 3 types of inpatient falls?
Doctors classify inpatient falls into three categories, including accidental falls, typically caused by an environmental factor, anticipated physiological falls, caused by confusion or another physiological factor, and unanticipated physiological falls from some condition, like a stroke.
By law, property owners, medical facilities, and nursing staff must be conscientious about preventing falls from ensuring every patient's safety. Their actions include maintaining handrails on stairways and elevators and ensuring that the floor surfaces are free of clutter, debris, or any slipping hazard.
Why do patients fall in the hospital?
According to the National Institutes of Health, patients fall in hospitals for various reasons, including an unfamiliar environment, a lack of bed rest, acute illness, medications, treatments, and surgery.
Other patients are disoriented or lose their balance due to catheters and various tubes, making them a high risk for falling. The facility can take steps to prevent falls by providing ongoing supervision.
How often do patients fall in hospitals?
According to the National Institutes of Health, slip and fall accidents are a widespread concern and a severe threat to patient safety. Statistical data reveals that accidental falls occur in hospitals at a rate of 2% of all stays.
The fall risk is exceptionally high among the elderly, where approximately 25% of all other falls require additional hospitalization due to a fall-associated injury that led to severe bruising or fractures.
Hiring a Personal Injury Law Firm to Resolve a Hospital Fall Case
Are you the victim of patient neglect due to a fall injury that happened 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 personal injury attorneys provide legal services to high-risk patients harmed in a medical facility. Call our legal team today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
Let our experienced attorneys provide numerous legal options and seek compensation on your behalf, paid by the insurance companies providing the hospital financial coverage. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
We accept all cases through contingency fee agreement, meaning you owe us nothing if we cannot obtain compensation on your behalf.
Hospital Fall Resources:
Many million-dollar negotiated settlements and jury trial verdicts have already been awarded to injured patients who have fallen in nursing facilities nationwide. Contact the personal injury attorney today to discuss your case to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.