Did You or a Loved One Suffer Nursing Home Injuries in Springfield? Call Our Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers for Help
Falls are one of the most common causes of accidental injuries in the United States. Falls are also one of the most misunderstood types of personal injury cases, especially when a person falls at a nursing home. Although it is easy for the victim to be blamed for his or her fall – especially an elderly victim – the experienced nursing home neglect lawyers at the Noll Law Office know that many falls and their injuries are preventable. Many states have recognized this too, including Illinois which has passed the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act which creates certain rights for residents and obligations for nursing homes. Under this Act and the other common laws of Illinois, many victims and their families who have suffered nursing home fall injuries in Springfield and throughout Illinois may be entitled to compensation.
That’s why the experienced legal team at the Noll Law Office offers FREE consultations and case evaluations for victims and their families to learn more about their rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and other Illinois laws or regulations that may be applicable to their case. Further, the compassionate nursing home neglect lawyers in Springfield, IL at the Noll Law Office understand that investigating a fall claim can be a sensitive topic, especially if a loved one is still living at the facility which may have been negligent or neglectful. That’s why all conversations with their law office, including free case evaluations, are private and confidential. If you or a loved one suffered any injuries in a nursing home or long-term care facility fall, call the Noll Law Office today.
What are Some Common Nursing Home Fall Injuries Due to the Abuse, Neglect, or Negligence of a Long-Term Care Facility?
Residents of nursing homes who are seriously injured due to the abuse, neglect, or negligence of a nursing home facility may be entitled to compensation under Illinois law for their personal injuries. These personal injuries include physical harm as well as emotional or financial harm (such as medical bills).
Some of the most common nursing home fall injuries in Springfield include the following:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries such as a concussion
- Organ injuries or internal injuries
- Brachial plexus nerve injuries are caused when victims extend their arm out to stop a fall
- Spinal cord injuries, including those resulting in paralysis
- Rotator cuff injuries or SLAP tears in the shoulder
- Knee injuries, including ligament or tendon tears
- Neck injuries and back injuries, including slipped discs, herniations, annular tears, and other related injuries to the spinal column
- Torn muscles or ligaments
- Dislocations or separations
- Hip injuries or damage, including hip fractures
- Significant scarring or disfigurement, and
- Many other serious personal injuries that the experienced nursing home neglect lawyers in Springfield, Illinois at the Noll Law Office may be able to recover for you.
How Does the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act Allow Victims to Recover Compensation for Nursing Fall Injuries?
The Illinois Department of Health is the government agency that is responsible for licensing and inspecting roughly 1,200 nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Illinois, overseeing over 100,000 residents in those facilities statewide. This includes compliance with the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, as well as handling complaints or investigations into reports of abuse, neglect, or malpractice. This Act, at its most basic level, is a set of consumer rights laws aimed to protect vulnerable residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities from abuse, neglect, and preventable injuries.
As relevant to nursing home falls, the term “neglect” is statutorily defined as meaning “a facility’s failure to provide, or willful withholding of, adequate medical care . . . personal care, or assistance with activities of daily living that is necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness of a resident.” Considering the Legislature’s intent behind the promulgation of this Act, courts in Illinois have broadly interpreted this part of the statute to include many different instances where a resident has fallen in a nursing home or long-term care.
However, that does not mean that every fall in a nursing home may result in a violation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Rather, there must be certain proof indicating that there was a possibility that a resident could have fallen or was a fall risk. If such proof is provided by the victim, it is possible that he or she may be entitled to compensation.
Examples of When a Nursing Home Fall May Be Due to Neglect and the Facility May Be Liable
There are several instances where a nursing home fall, and therefore nursing home fall injuries, may result in a violation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Most of these examples focus on knowledge of a facility and what a facility did not do but should have done under the circumstances. These can be tricky claims to prove without the help of an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer.
Some of the most common examples include the following:
Immediately Assessing Whether New Residents Are a Fall Risk, and Routinely Re-Checking Residents
One of the most basic tasks that a nursing home or long-term care facility must do with a new admission is to determine whether the resident is a fall risk. An individual is to be considered and treated as a fall risk when they have an increased likelihood of falling due to certain physical, cognitive, or medical needs.
This includes everything from weak legs or an injured leg post-surgery and while recovering, to partial blindness or an inability to see well. Residents may also be a fall risk if they are able to walk well, but may have a tendency to wander or elope, especially at night. In addition, residents may be a fall risk if they are on medication or another type of drug or treatment that may impact their stability or perception.
One of the clearest indicators of a fall risk resident is one who has previously fallen, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that falling once will double a person’s chances of falling again. Thus, nursing homes and long-term care facilities must assess and continue to routinely assess residents for their propensity to fall and suffer serious injuries.
Failing to Reduce the Risks of Falls in a Resident’s Room and in a Facility
All property owners, whether a nursing home or a private residence, must exercise reasonable care in maintaining their property free from hazardous defects that may cause injury to others. That includes preventing falls. This duty is particularly heightened in Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities considering the Nursing Home Care Act. Thus, such facilities must use best practices in preventing falls to residents.
This includes some of the following precautions when a resident has been deemed a fall risk:
- Issuing special slip-resistant socks
- Using bed alarms
- Lowering the bed
- Moving furniture away from beds and walking areas
- Using mats on the floor
- For high-risk residents, using one-on-one supervision
- Where permitted by a physician or consented to by a resident, the use of bed rails
- Issuing a wristband or another type of identification object to help other staff monitor and pay particular attention to fall-risk resident
- Removing mats or other objects that may bunch up
- Installing extra grab bars in high-traffic areas, including bathrooms, coat areas, doorways, and near the bed, and
- Using other reasonable means to prevent nursing home falls in Illinois to fall risk residents.
In addition, nursing homes and long-term facilities must also guard against falls for all residents by doing some of the following:
- Being mindful of using corded vacuums or other corded devices that may cause a slip and fall or trip and fall
- Limiting the use of or only using high-quality/lay flat rugs or mats that will not bunch up
- Ensuring hand railings and stairs are well-kept and maintained
- Immediately cleaning up spills, leaks, or other slip or fall hazards
- Clearly marking changes in elevation on the floor, and
- Otherwise reasonably maintaining a facility to prevent foreseeable harm.
Delays to Responding to a Resident
Nursing home staff may also be liable if they neglect a resident’s needs by delaying in responding to a request for assistance. That may occur when a resident pushes a call button for help when a resident is left for a prolonged period of time in a wheelchair, toilet, or bathtub without any help, or even when a resident’s normal routine (such as the morning wakeup) is delayed or ignored.
These types of delays are neglectful and can result in a resident attempting to get up by himself or herself, which can be very dangerous if the resident is a fall risk. In most instances where a resident falls after being neglected in the above scenarios, a nursing home or long-term care facility may be liable for the resident’s personal injuries under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
Did You Suffer Serious or Disabling Nursing Home Call Injuries in Springfield? Call the Noll Law Office for Help
Although Illinois law provides strong protections for victims and their families, far too many nursing homes and their insurance adjusters or defense lawyers will not fairly compensate victims and their families for nursing home fall injuries. That’s why an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer in Springfield should be consulted to fight back.
At the Noll Law Office, their experienced and compassionate team of legal professionals will not let dangerous and even deadly nursing home facilities get away with their negligent conduct. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides certain inherent and important rights to residents at a nursing home facility, and the Noll Law Office will not let a defendant infringe on those rights. To learn more about how we can help you and your family recover compensation for nursing home fall injuries in Springfield or anywhere else in Illinois, contact the Noll Law Office today to schedule a free case evaluation.