Understanding the Risk
Falls often result in injuries that are far more severe than many people might have thought possible. Even a fall from standing height can be the cause of sprains, broken bones and even head injuries. Older individuals may be at increased risk for a fall-related injury for a variety of different reasons. Illnesses, such as arthritis which can impede mobility and hinder the recovery process or osteoporosis which may weaken bones and increase both the likelihood and severity of a potential fracture can drastically increase the risks associated with a fall.
Elderly individuals also take longer to heal following an injury, especially one that involves the fracture of one or more bones. A hip fracture or a broken long bone like the humerus or femur are injuries that many patients never manage to fully recover from. Falls that may cause a back injury can also be very serious as a fracturing or otherwise injuring a vertebrae could lead to chronic pain. It is not uncommon for those who suffer nerve damage from a fall-related injury to experience loss of function or impaired range of motion from the affected limb or limbs.
Assessing the True Extent of an Injury
Fall incidents that ensuing injuries that may occur within a nursing home or assisted-care facility can pose an even greater threat. Falls that are not properly reported and injuries that may go unnoticed, undiagnosed or untreated for any length of time may have more serious and lasting consequences. A comprehensive medical assessment of any injury that nursing home residents may experience is absolutely essential for ensuing that the true nature of the injury is able to be determined. Incidents where residents may suffer a fall or injury through no fault of their own could entitle the injury victim to financial compensation that may only be recovered through legal efforts.
Causes That May Contribute to an Incident
Falls within a nursing home are an unfortunately common occurrence. While patients who suffer from cognitive impairments typically require full-time supervision, even nursing home residents who are relatively fit and mobile may be unable to avoid a fall that may be caused by lack of proper safety equipment, poor lighting or other issues that may cause safety issues within the surrounding environment. The nature and circumstances of a fall-based injury must be identified in order to accurately determine legal fault. Patients who were injured due to neglect, preventable environmental issues or an incompetent staff may be owed compensation.
The leading cause of fall-related injuries within a nursing home is simple old age. Patients who suffer from decreased muscle tone, gait problems or mobility impairments often require a walker or other device, as well as direct assistance in order to navigate their surroundings. Failure to provide proper safety equipment like hand rails or anti-slip mats can also be a contributing factor. A wet floor or similar environmental hazard may pose an even bigger threat to residents who may already have trouble walking on their own.
Taking Legal Action Following an Injury
Ensuring that an injury victim obtains medical care should always be the top priority following a fall or other mishap. A full assessment of any injuries sustained needs to be obtained as soon as possible in order to ensure that patients are given proper care and treatment. Finding out days or even weeks after a fall that the injuries sustained were far more severe than originally assumed can lead to no end of additional problems and complications. Being forced to cover higher medical costs out of pocket or learning that a full recovery is no longer possible due to a delay in obtaining care is a situation that no family should have to find itself in.
If you or a family member has recently suffered a fall-related incident, obtaining legal assistance can often be the best way to approach the situation. The experience and resources of a qualified personal injury lawyer can play a vital role in dealing with the long-term consequences of a fall, mishap or injury.