When Does a Nursing Home Fall Constitute Neglect?

Elderly woman being helped by nursing home nurse.

Our elderly population are much more likely to sustain injuries – or even death – from falls, as they are also more at risk for falls to begin with. It is for this reason that nursing homes in New Mexico and across the U.S. must take extra precautionary measures to identify and eliminate contributing fall risks for their residents. However, if a nursing home resident still falls, it does not necessarily mean that such a fall is the fault of the nursing home. When deciding whether or not a nursing home is, in fact, negligent and therefore liable, the court will look at a variety of factors. 

Factors for Determining Nursing Home Liability

In order to determine whether the facility was negligent in the event of a slip-and-fall accident, the plaintiff is obligated to prove that the owner of the facility or the individual in charge of the facility was negligent. 

In order to prove negligence, several factors must be met. The owner or individual in charge of the nursing home must:

  1. Have owed a duty to the person who sustained the injury;
  2. Breached that duty;
  3. Caused injuries due to the breach; and
  4. Injured someone in a way that leads to damages.

Demonstrating Nursing Home Negligence

In order to demonstrate that a nursing home was negligent and therefore liable for a slip-and-fall, someone must be able to show that the nursing home either took an action or failed to take any action that directly led to the injury of the resident. 

There are often a variety of causes for a resident’s fall that in and of themselves show that the nursing home acted negligently. 

One such indicator is a puddle of water that has been on the floor for 10 minutes. The facility may be negligent for the fall for a few different reasons:

  • The facility was negligent in taking the necessary steps to eliminate the puddle;
  • The facility does not employ enough staff members to clean the puddle up in a timely manner; or
  • The facility did not properly train the staff well enough for its members to know what to do with the puddle.

Even in the absence of an obvious environmental issue, if a nursing home resident should have been using an assistive device such as a wheelchair or a walker, or if the resident should have been under closer observation, it could be considered negligence. 

MPJ Law Firm Can Help Those in NM Who Have Been Injured in a Nursing Home Fall

If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home fall, it can have a great impact on you and your family. But you shouldn’t have to pay the price for someone else’s negligence. At MPJ Law Firm, we have a deep understanding of nursing home accidents and a long history of dealing with such situations. We will always act in your best interest. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.

Posted in: Nursing Home Abuse