Could a Nursing Home Be Liable in New Mexico if a Resident Falls?

Posted by PKSD New Mexico Law Firm on April 22, 2024 in Nursing Home Neglect

picture of elderly man sitting in a wheelchair and looking out windowProtecting our loved ones from being injured during a fall is just one of the many reasons we place our loved ones into nursing homes. We entrust their well-being to the caregivers in these facilities, believing they will be safe and receive the assistance they need. With this thought in mind, you may wonder if the nursing home can be held liable if a resident falls and suffers injuries and other damages.

At PKSD in New Mexico, we explain more about residents falling in nursing homes and how this can happen. We also discuss when the care facility may be liable for any damages that may result from a fall.

Did your loved one fall in a nursing home? If so, and you believe the nursing home was at fault for the resulting injuries, we are here to help. Contact our law offices to discuss the details of your situation with one of our knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorneys in Santa Fe. We have decades of experience helping victims of nursing home neglect and abuse and a history of proven results.

Request your FREE case review today. (505) 677-7777

Why Are Nursing Home Residents Prone to Falling?

Falls are one of the leading causes of fatal injuries among the elderly, especially those who are 65 years and older. The reason for this is that many elderly individuals are frailer or deal with medical conditions that make them more prone to falling, including:

  • Balance issues: Some residents struggle with vertigo and other issues that impact their balance, making them more unstable.
  • Weaker muscles: The aging process, along with certain medical conditions can impact the muscles of elderly residents. Reduced muscle mass can make residents struggle to navigate the distance from their room to other community areas without a caregiver’s help. Depending on their age and general health, they may be unable to fully support themselves when walking.
  • Prescription medication: Certain medications may make elderly residents sleepy or groggy. When you add drowsiness to other medical conditions, walking without help could be disastrous.
  • Hazardous surroundings: If a nursing home does not mitigate safety hazards, it could increase the risk of a resident suffering a fall. Adequate maintenance could include the installation or repair of safety rails. It may also include repairing uneven flooring, torn carpeting or ensuring there is sufficient lighting in hallways.

How Could a Resident Fall Be Due to Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing homes may be liable for damages resulting from a resident’s fall for different types of neglect.

Staffing Shortages

Understaffing is and has been a significant issue in nursing homes for a long time. The lack of adequate staffing increases the risk of residents getting injured, including from a fall. Residents needing to use the toilet, for example, may get tired of waiting for someone to come to help them and fall while trying to get up on their own.

Lack of Staff Training

Nursing homes need to provide their workers with proper training. Caregivers need to understand what residents may be more prone to falling and how to properly support them as they walk. Additionally, they need to know the proper way to transfer a patient into and out of a bed or wheelchair. Staff need to be trained on how to properly bathe or toilet residents who cannot do these things for themselves.

Failure To Properly Monitor Higher Risk Residents

An at-risk resident may be an individual who takes blood thinners regularly and suffers a fall. Staff should know that regardless of whether they see visible bruising, these residents have a high risk of developing a brain bleed. As such, they need immediate medical attention, which should include diagnostics to check them for serious, life-threatening head injuries.

Other residents may be more prone to wandering. Sometimes these individuals may find a way to escape the facility and wander off on their own, exposing themselves to many potential risks. Facilities typically have a protocol for properly monitoring and checking on these high-risk residents. Employees at the facility need to be properly trained in these protocols.

Negligent Background Checks

Long-term care facilities have a duty to conduct thorough background checks of potential candidates. Among other things, they need to check for a history of:

  • Anger issues
  • Abusive treatment of residents
  • Financial fraud or abuse of residents
  • Lack of experience

Failure To Properly Maintain Equipment

Nursing homes have a duty to ensure their equipment is properly maintained. This duty includes examining equipment regularly and repairing or replacing it as needed.

What Kinds of Injuries Are Common When a Nursing Home Resident Falls?

When we are younger, we have more bone density and muscle mass. This is why older individuals are more prone to suffering a broken hip or other fractures when they fall. Their bodies do not recover as quickly from injuries as they did when they were younger.

Serious injuries common among nursing home residents and the elderly include:

  • Severe bruising
  • Sprains and strains
  • Deep lacerations
  • Multiple fractures
  • Soft-tissue injuries
  • Back or neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries

Is Your Loved One a Victim of Nursing Home Neglect? Call PKSD for Legal Help Today

At PKSD in New Mexico, we are deeply committed to protecting residents injured by negligent nursing homes and nursing home staff. Our firm has a history of proven results, and we are prepared to recover full and fair compensation on your behalf.

Not sure if you have a case? Contact Our Law Offices for a free initial consultation today. You can discuss your situation and get answers to your legal questions at no cost to you.

We fight to get you results. (505) 677-7777

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