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Older Adults and Falls: Who is Liable?

In Florida, falls are the top cause of serious injuries and fatalities for seniors. Older adults with health conditions and previous falls are especially vulnerable, but previous falls and conditions in the environment can also contribute to falls.

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When older adults fall, their age is sometimes blamed for their injuries, but they can easily have a premises liability claim or a nursing home negligence claim, depending on where the fall took place. The owners of properties have an obligation to keep their properties safe and nursing homes have a duty of care to take extra precautions for vulnerable seniors. When these parties are reckless and fail to meet their duties, they can be held liable if someone is injured.

Preventing Falls Among Older Adults

There are many things caregivers, family members, and nursing homes can do to keep older adults safe from falls:

  • Check medication and side effects regularly: Some medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and other side effects that can increase the risk of falls. It’s important to check medications often to ensure no interactions or side effects are putting a senior at risk.
  • Check for near-misses: If an older adult has fallen or is stumbling more often, it may be time to visit the doctor to find supports to prevent a more serious fall. There may be an undiagnosed illness, medication interaction, or other issue which needs to be addressed.
  • Ensure a safe environment: Older adults need a safe environment, and this may mean installing grab bars in the bathroom, securing rugs so they don’t slip, installing bright lighting, and adding other home features to keep the property safe.

Choose shoes carefully: Sturdy shoes with good treads can help prevent falls.

How Do Falls Happen and Who is Responsible?

Falls can happen in a number of ways. Someone can get a dizzy spell or may have trouble seeing properly, and this can cause them to trip. Smooth or uneven flooring surfaces can cause slips, as can stairs and inclines. While slip and fall and trip and fall injuries can seem like accidents, they can lead to different types of claims.

Premises liability claims can occur if a property owner, such as a store owner, failed to clean up spills or provide a safe environment. Nursing home negligence claims can happen if a nursing home did not take care to seek residents safe by adding extra layers of safety for older and ill adults. Medical malpractice claims can occur if a fall happened because a medical professional missed a diagnosis, gave the wrong dose or medication, or otherwise violated the standards and ethics of their profession.

Seniors who fall are at a heightened risk of fatalities, fractures, broken hips, and other serious injury. Any underlying conditions can make the consequences of a fall worse and the road to recovery can be long.

If you’re not sure whether your fall or the fall of a vulnerable loved one qualifies for a legal claim, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation. Our legal team has recovered over $100 million on behalf of clients and we bring over 60 years of combined experience to the table. Let’s talk about your concerns.

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