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Hoyer Lift Accident: Liability & Compensation for Injuries

Every year, nursing home residents across the country are injured in Hoyer lift accidents. These accidents can occur when an aide or caregiver fails to apply the correct safety protocol while using a Hoyer lift as a patient lift to transfer a resident from one location to another.

Some of the most common injuries caused by patient lift accidents include broken bones, torn ligaments, sprains and strains, head injuries, internal bleeding, and even death.

Were you hurt in a Hoyer lift accident caused by someone's negligence? Contact the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form for a free consultation to discuss your Hoyer lift accident.

Our nursing home abuse legal team accepts all personal injury cases, medical malpractice claims, and wrongful death lawsuits.

Hoyer Lift Accidents

Hoyer Lifts - Portable Lifting Devices

Hoyer lifts are portable devices and common equipment in nursing homes that help nursing staff transport patients between two locations a relatively short distance apart. Hoyer lifts are often used in nursing homes with patients who require assistance moving from a bed into a chair, from a chair onto a toilet, or as a means to lift elderly people into a bathtub.

The portability of the mechanical lift is not as safe as a ceiling lift. A competent nursing home staff member or certified nursing assistant must supervise and assist with every patient being lifted or transported in a lift to ensure safety.

Two nursing home staff members are often required to properly transport a patient using a Hoyer lift, which uses a sling as support for caregivers moving a resident to an intended destination.

Investigators often cite a lack of proper supervision or training for the safe operation of Hoyer lifts as a common reason for nursing home falls.

The Most Common Causes of Hoyer Lift Falls

Hoyer lifts can be handy devices when used correctly. However, the irresponsible use of the mechanical lift or disregard for regular maintenance or inspection can prove disastrous.

Causes of Hoyer lift falls in nursing home facilities can include the following:

  • Understaffing of nursing facilities - Understaffing often results in staff members being overworked and forced to perform tasks that require more than one worker. Caregivers may attempt to use the device alone to move a patient when another staff member is not available, which can result in a fall with severe injuries.
  • Leaving patients unattended - Facility staff members leaving a patient unsupervised while still strapped into the Hoyer lift is irresponsible. In some incidents, other pressing concerns lure the worker away, resulting in staffing policy violations.
  • Lack of training or improper training instructions - Many Hoyer lift accidents happen because the staff members don't understand how to use the device correctly. The nursing home patient must be adequately seated according to the manufacturer's specifications and secured by the lift straps.

When nursing home staff are not trained and certified in proper Hoyer lift usage, the health and safety of nursing home residents are often endangered, leading to severe injuries.

  • Ineffective maintenance practices - All machines must be maintained by the nursing home regularly to ensure efficient and safe operation. The sling and straps can fray over time, and ignoring the required maintenance could result in the straps breaking while bearing the patient's weight.

The nursing home can be liable for compensation if a patient falls due to the staff's negligence.

If your loved one has been injured in a fall, contact our Chicago nursing injury lawyers, who specialize in nursing home law. We can help recover compensation for medical expenses for pain, mental anguish, and suffering.

Alarming Fall Data Regarding Nursing Home Residents

If your loved one receives care from a nursing home, the statistics regarding nursing home falls are concerning, as can be seen in the following:

  • The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that 100 to 200 fall events occur annually in nursing homes with a hundred beds or more.
  • The CDC also estimates that three out of four nursing patients will fall annually, and as many as 20% of the falls in nursing homes will result in injuries requiring medical attention.
  • As many as 1,800 patients lose their lives due to injuries suffered in falls every year in the United States.
  • One Hoyer lift fall can increase the chances that elderly patients and disabled residents will suffer severe injuries, including fractures or even traumatic brain injury.

The statistics have prompted an initiative, the "Handle with Care" program, that tries to persuade nursing homes and other facilities to incorporate a "no-lift" or "zero-lift" policy to prevent serious injuries among residents.

If residents of nursing homes have suffered harm due to the reckless actions of healthcare professionals and staff, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can assist victims in seeking financial recovery for loss and damages.

Sample Injury Lawsuits - Hoyer Lift Accidents, Settlement Claims, and Jury Awards

$250,000 Chicago Settlement: Nursing Home Hoyer Lift Accident

The improper use of a Hoyer lift when lifting a resident in their late seventies occurred at a Chicago-area nursing home when the staff moved the patient from the chair to the bed using a Hoyer lift.

The drop cost the injured victim over $50,000 and left her with long-term pain and suffering. She filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the nursing home, complaining that negligence played a part in the operation of the Hoyer lift.

The injured victim argued that the nursing facility failed to implement proper training for its employees, and therefore she suffered injuries and sustained economic, personal, and other damages. The facility compensated the victim by negotiating a $250,000 financial settlement.

$225,000 Chicago Settlement: Nursing Home Hoyer Lift Accident

Doctors warned the nursing staff that the ninety-two-year-old nursing home resident with dementia could fall without ongoing supervision. Reports indicated that she fell several times, leading to head trauma and injuries to her legs and other areas.

The woman developed bed sores and other injuries while recovering from the falls. During her healing, the nursing staff used a Hoyer lift to move her around. On one occasion, she fell out of the Hoyer lift while the nursing staff was using the device for transport.

The drop aggravated her pre-existing serious injuries. The victim sued the Illinois nursing facility, saying that she would have never developed bedsores had she not been dropped.

The lawsuit document claimed the assisted living facility was responsible for her pain, suffering, and medical expenses. Ultimately, the defendant (nursing home) offered to settle the case with the plaintiff (the injured woman) for $225,000 in financial compensation.

$350,000 Chicago Settlement: Nursing Home Hoyer Lift Accident

The injured nursing home resident in her late 80s had lived in the facility for nearly one year without issues. On one occasion, nursing home staff members tried to move her from her chair onto her bed using a Hoyer lift.

However, the staff failed to properly secure her to the device, causing the resident's body to slip out of the straps (nursing home neglect). The victim tumbled to the floor and suffered catastrophic injuries, including broken bones and a hip fracture.

She ultimately succumbed to her injuries and other pre-existing conditions. Her surviving family members filed legal action against the facility claiming nursing home negligence when operating a Hoyer lift and wrongful death.

When the plaintiffs pushed to trial to obtain justice in the lengthy lawsuit, the defendant raised the amount of financial compensation. The case eventually settled with an out-of-court settlement.

Hoyer Lift Accident FAQs

Our nursing home abuse attorneys understand that Hoyer lift accident victims have unanswered questions, and an attorney from our law firm has answered a few of the questions below.

For further information or to schedule a free consultation, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at  (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form.

How do you transfer a patient with a Hoyer lift?

The patient is placed into a fabric U-shape sling with hooks connected to four sling attachment points connected to a sling bar and boom. The device uses an electric motor or manual pump to raise and lower the patient during the transfer.

The boom on the unit does not move left or right. Therefore, the Hoyer lift must be transported on wheels and positioned to its intended location before lowering the patient to a safe position.

The weight limits of the lift and sling must be checked by staff to ensure that the resident's weight is within limits.

When should a Hoyer lift be used?

Hoyer lifts are common equipment in nursing homes and are used to assist nursing staff in transferring a patient from a bed to a chair, to a toilet, or into a tub. The patient lift should be used when 90%-100% assistance is required.

Hoyer lifts require staff to undergo specialized training to operate the mechanical lift safely.

How do you manually lift a patient?

Powered Hoyer lifts use an electric motor. Alternatively, a manually operated Hoyer lift uses a hydraulic mechanism to transfer the patient from one location to another chair, bed, or tub safely.

The device uses the same U-shape sling and weighs significantly less than a powered unit. Each manufacturer provides specific details on how to use the device safely.

How do you use a full-body sling on a Hoyer lift?

The process is straightforward but requires significant patience to ensure a safe transfer from one location to another. Manufacturers typically recommend that the patient be laid on one side before folding the sling lengthwise in half.

The sling is then slid underneath the patient's body in both directions. The patient can be rolled onto their back into a harness for attachment onto the sling.

How do you lift and transfer a patient?

According to the American Nursing Association, transferring a patient from one location to another can be significantly more challenging without a Hoyer lift or other transfer device. Hold the individual close to your body while lifting and transferring from one location to another.

The closer the patient is to you, the better the center of gravity, making it easier to remain in a steady position during the transfer. The procedure avoids extending your arms, which could cause you to slip, fall, or drop the patient.

Hiring a Nursing Home Hoyer Lift Accident Lawyer to Protect the Rights of Your Loved One

If you or a loved one suffered any external or internal injuries and emotional trauma due to staff negligence in a Hoyer lift accident, we could help.

Contact our Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at (888) 424-5757 or through the contact form to arrange a free consultation. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can assist with your personal injury case to recover financial compensation.

Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis to ensure that you only pay for our services if we have been able to recover financial compensation on your behalf.

All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

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