Statistically, most fall victims are over 65, and most of these incidents occur in nursing homes. For a variety of reasons, most nursing homes are dangerous places for most seniors. The risk of a fall is serious, and the injuries which result are equally serious.
Damages in Illinois slip-and-fall cases usually include compensation for economic damages, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Illinois also has a very broad respondeat superior doctrine. So, the nursing home, and not an individual, is usually responsible for these damages. Which makes it easier for a personal injury attorney to obtain maximum compensation.
What Causes Nursing Home Falls in Rockford?
Mainly due to economic reasons, many nursing homes are overcrowded and understaffed. These situations cause most nursing home falls in Rockford.
Many nursing homes rely on Medicare patients. Since the 1990s, Medicare reimbursement levels have dropped rather significantly. To make up for this shortfall, many nursing home administrators increase their patient populations to dangerously-high levels. The economic theory is fairly sound, but this plan has some unintended consequences.
Due to resident population expansion, many long-term care facilities in Rockford are almost constantly under construction. That means hazards like wet spots of floors and partially-complete stairways. Older people cannot always read and understand signs like “Construction Area: Keep Out,” therefore they may unintentionally wander into dangerous areas.
Instead of expanding revenues, many nursing home administrators cut costs to cope with the income shortage. Since payroll is the largest expense of almost any organization, staff levels were a logical target.
As a result, many nursing homes lack adequate staff levels to complete construction projects timely and ensure that residents avoid these areas. These hazards are especially acute during low-census periods, like weekends and holidays.
What to Do If Your Loved One Falls
If your loved one falls, it’s important to get medical attention straightaway. Many times fall victims sustain head injuries. The brain is very adept at hiding its own injury, so many of these victims will say they “feel fine.” Furthermore, since the skull traps all the blood, there may be no outward signs of injury. So, many nursing homes just perform cursory evaluations.
But the longer a head injury goes untreated, the more serious it becomes. By the time victims begin experiencing more advanced symptoms, like blackouts and personality changes, the damage is usually already extensive. It’s almost impossible for older people to bounce back from injuries like these.
It’s also a good idea to relocate your loved one to another facility. If s/he fell once, s/he may well fall again. The fatality rate increases significantly following a subsequent fall.
Both of these actions cost money, and an attorney can help. Attorneys usually send letters of protection to medical providers which allow victims can see doctors without any upfront expense. Furthermore, an attorney is also a skilled negotiator. Very often, a nursing home will waive transfer fees and lower monthly expenses.
Reach Out to Aggressive Attorneys
Nursing home falls demand immediate attention. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. After-hours appointments are available.