New Jersey Nursing Home Accident Lawyer
Nursing home accidents are common in the United States, and almost 2,000 elderly nursing home patients die from fall-related injuries every year. Every year, more than half of all individuals over 65 suffer a fall, but only one of every two reports the fall to his or her doctor. One falling injury increases the chances of subsequent falls, and a fall carries significant risks for an elderly individual. Consult a New Jersey nursing home accident lawyer at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, about your nursing home injury case; he or she will explain whether you have a valid claim and how we can help.
Elderly individuals are more susceptible to injuries and illnesses than younger people due to their frail physical state and weakened immune systems. Additionally, other factors, including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative conditions, can increase the risk of nursing home accidents. Some accidents are honest mistakes, but when nursing home injuries occur due to negligence, the victim and his or her family will likely wonder if options exist for legal recourse.
Types of Nursing Home Hazards
Nursing home accidents can happen unexpectedly, and the determining factor in whether an accident justifies a lawsuit is whether the injury-causing element was foreseeable and/or preventable. Nursing homes have a legal obligation to ensure their staff receives proper training and their facilities keep to acceptable standards. A few things that can lead to negligence claims against nursing home include:
- Poor lighting. Seniors often have impaired eyesight, so poor visibility creates a very significant falling hazard, especially in stairwells and cramped spaces.
- Clutter/poor cleaning. Hallways full of janitorial equipment, medical devices, unused wheelchairs, and other clutter presents a significant tripping hazard. Nursing home staff should secure rugs and carpets to the floor to prevent tripping.
- Beds. Many falling injuries occur due to nursing home residents falling out of bed. Some patients will require safety fixtures, including guardrails and adjustable beds to prevent falls. Additionally, nursing home staff members should assist patients getting out of bed.
- Structural failings. Damaged stairs and guardrails present a significant falling hazard for nursing home residents. Nursing home administrators must ensure their facilities meet the highest possible quality standards and address known structural issues in a timely manner.
If a hazard causes a nursing home accident, the victim and his or her family may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if the element that caused the accident was preventable. A seasoned New Jersey accident lawyer will be able to help with identifying negligence.
Who Is Liable for a Nursing Home Accident in New Jersey?
Proving negligence in such cases requires establishing four elements of negligence in court. First, the plaintiff and his or her New Jersey nursing home accident lawyer must show how the defendant owed the victim a duty of reasonable care. In nursing home accident cases, the nursing home has a duty of care to residents to prevent injuries and create a safe environment for all residents.
Next, the plaintiff must prove the defendant violated this duty in some way. For example, the victim complained of a broken light fixture outside his or her room, but the nursing home took no action to correct the problem. A week later, the victim falls due to poor visibility. In this case, a week is certainly a reasonable amount of time to fix a light, so the nursing home would likely be liable for the victim’s injuries.
After establishing breach of duty, the plaintiff in a nursing home accident case must then prove the defendant’s actions directly caused the victim’s damages. These damages can include medical expenses resulting from treating the victim’s injury, lost income from the family members who missed work to care for their loved one and handle the legal matters, and pain and suffering resulting from the injury. The plaintiff must prove these damages resulted from the defendant’s breach of duty and not some other cause.
Free Consultation with a Skilled New Jersey Nursing Home Accident Attorney
Success in a nursing home accident case hinges on the plaintiff’s attorney and his or her ability to prove the nursing home was negligent in their handling of the victim. At Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, we believe our elderly loved ones deserve the best care possible, and negligent caregivers should pay for the damage they cause. Contact our New Jersey team to schedule a free consultation about your nursing home injury case and we’ll let you know how we can help.