Who May Be Liable When a Resident Falls in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Center?

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are designed to provide the elderly and infirm with a safe and comfortable environment, but the occurrence of accidents, particularly falls, cannot be entirely avoided. Each year, approximately one-fifth of nursing home residents in Wisconsin suffer falls resulting in injuries or even death. If your loved one falls in a nursing home or assisted living center, the facility and others may be liable for damages.

A significant number of these incidents of injury and fatality could have been prevented. Nursing homes and assisted living centers are legally obligated to provide their residents with safe environments, which means they must take reasonable steps to prevent accidents and injuries, including falls. If a resident falls and suffers injuries, liability may be shared by the facility and by others whose negligence contributed to the incident, such as maintenance contractors, vendors and visiting nurses or therapists.

One factor in determining liability is whether the facility’s management or staff were aware of any potential hazards that could have led to the fall. For example, if a resident fell because of a loose handrail in the hallway, the facility may be found negligent for failing to repair it. Negligence can also be found if a resident fell because of poor lighting, litter on the floor, a defective wheelchair or walker or an incorrectly adjusted bed. The facility may be responsible if they were aware of the problem and failed to address it. Another factor is whether the facility had appropriate training procedures and adequate staffing levels in place to provide residents with reasonable care.

When facilities are sued for damages over a resident’s injuries, their insurers and defense attorneys often try to shift blame to the victim. Under Wisconsin’s comparative negligence law, a victim’s damages can be reduced to the extent they were at fault for the accident. Nonetheless, if a resident was not more than 50 percent responsible for their fall, the facility may be held liable for an amount of damages attributable to its own negligence.

Holding nursing homes and assisted living centers liable for resident falls can be complex and requires skilled advocacy. An experienced nursing home neglect attorney can investigate the accident that caused your loved one’s injury and work zealously to win them the compensation they deserve.

Sperling Law Offices LLC in Milwaukee assists elder victims of nursing home negligence in Wisconsin. Please call 414-273-7777 | 414-273-7100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.

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