Falls

Lady fallen on StairsElders and dependent adults often suffer from physical or mental illness that makes them susceptible to falls.  Because this is so common, California law requires certain long-term caregivers to evaluate a patient’s condition and implement a specific plan to protect the patient from falling.  Often, this plan is not implemented and falls are passed off as “unavoidable accidents.”

Wheelchair liftThe attorneys at The Gebler Firm, PC have represented many clients who have sustained serious falls due to neglectful care in nursing homes, assisted living centers and medical transportation vans.  In one case, the driver of a medical transportation van knocked a 78-year-old woman off the wheelchair lift as she was descending in her wheelchair.  She fell several feet to the concrete, while still belted into her wheelchair.  A neighbor who witnessed the fall offered to call 911, but the driver told her he had already called.  Unfortunately, the driver never notified anyone.  Although the patient had obviously hit her head, the driver wheeled her into her house and left her alone.  Several hours later, the patient’s son found her  unconscious on the floor.  The woman later died from a sub-dural hematoma due to “blunt force trauma to the head.”

In another case, a woman in her mid-sixties was admitted to a nursing home for physical therapy.  She planned to return home to live with her son.  One night, she activated her call light to receive assistance to the toilet.  The nurses ignored the call light, so she tried to walk alone. When she rose from bed, she fell and hit her head on the night stand.  Hearing the fall, staff found the patient laying on the floor, and noticed a large bruise on her head. A doctor examined the patient, and told the nurses to watch for signs of a head injury (headache, blurred vision, dizziness, lethargy, etc).  Instead, the woman was put back to bed, and given pain medication to induce sleep.  In the morning, the patient was found unconscious.  The staff transferred her to the Emergency Room, but did not report the fall.  Eventually, the doctors determined that she had sustained a sub-dural hematoma.  Because she was not transferred to the Emergency Room promptly, the patient suffered severe brain damage and died within days.

Falls involving elders and disabled persons may be caused by other forms of neglect, including the following:

  • Over-medicating the patient such that he or she becomes dizzy, confused or loses balance;
  • Failing to supervise patients who are known to be unsteady on their feet;
  • Inadequate handrails and lighting; and
  • Unsecured doors to areas that are not level or difficult to cross.

What can I do if I think my loved one was injured due to a lack of caregiver supervision?

If you believe your loved one fell or was injured due to lack of proper supervision by a caregiver, contact The Gebler Firm, PC for a free consultation.  We are available to speak with you by phone at 1-800-871-6998, or you may submit an on-line consultation request.

We would be honored to speak with you about your rights, and explain the options that are available.  We don’t charge any attorney fees unless we obtain a recovery.

We encourage you to act quickly.  The law limits the amount of time you and your loved one have to pursue legal action.  In some cases, this can be as short as six months.

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Disclaimer:  The information on this site is for informational and educational purposes only.  None of the medical information is intended to be a substitute for professional medical judgment.  A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

Injured Elder