Nursing Home Slip and Fall Litigation: Examples of Recent Lawsuits

If you are considering filing a claim for a nursing home slip and fall injury, it might help you to view the facts and circumstances of actual lawsuits. Below is a selection of cases decided in New York State within the past decade. The facts in your own case may be very different. These case examples are in no way intended to limit your decision as to whether to proceed with litigation. You should always consult an attorney competent to advise you on slip and falls or other nursing home neglect matters.

  • An 87 year-old resident of an East Rockaway nursing home facility fell and fractured her elbow when she got out of bed in her room to close the curtains. The resident, who also suffered from advanced dementia, had been able to walk with the aid of a walker prior to the accident. As a result of her injury, she no longer had the strength to use a walker and was confined to a wheelchair. In her claim, she alleged that the nursing home was negligent and had violated state regulations requiring adequate supervision of nursing home residents. She claimed that the nursing home was liable for her injuries because it had failed to place an alarm on her bed to notify staff when she got up. She argued that nursing homes have a responsibility to install alarms on the beds of dementia patients who have a tendency to wander. The Plaintiff sought recovery for damages for her past and future pain and suffering. The lawsuit was settled for $110,000.
  • A Schenectady County nursing rehabilitation center resident in her 80s rose from her wheelchair and fell, suffering a subdural hematoma. She died two weeks later. The resident had fallen several times in the facility during the previous year, sustaining bruises, abrasions and a fractured pelvis. Two surgeries were required, including a hip replacement. The estate alleged that the resident had a history of getting out of her wheelchair while unattended, that she was often left unsupervised and that staff had been repeatedly alerted to these dangers by decedent’s daughter. The complaint further alleged that the facility was understaffed, had documented understaffing in their records, and that the nurse charged with decedent’s care was not in the area when she fell. The jury awarded $275,000 in wrongful death damages and medical costs.
  • In Rensselaer County, a 63 year-old nursing home resident sustained a hip fracture when he slipped and fell on urine while attempting to go to the bathroom. The plaintiff alleged a long history of incontinence and that the defendant had failed to provide adequate supervision. The plaintiff was found 5% negligent and the jury award was reduced to $1,677,835.
  • A 51 year-old man fell out of his wheelchair and fractured his hip while residing at a New York County nursing facility. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the standard of practice in nursing homes requires enactment of a fall-prevention plan when a patient arrives at a nursing facility, and that the plan must be revised when the person’s health or circumstances change. Plaintiff’s expert testified that the fall-prevention plan was never revised despite five falls before the one that broke the plaintiff’s hip. The expert further contended that the facility should have investigated each fall, performed an in-depth assessment of the plaintiff’s condition, and provided new safety equipment such as wheelchair tipping guards, bed brakes and sitting pads. Instead, the facility merely recorded each fall without investigating or taking proper measures to prevent future falls. The jury awarded plaintiff $275,000 in damages for pain and suffering.
  • Plaintiff, age 78, was a resident of a Bronx nursing home when she fell and suffered fractures to her arms, hip and pelvis. Plaintiff’s husband sued the facility’s operator, alleging that plaintiff’s residency included 18 incidents involving falls or unexplained injuries. The lawsuit further alleged that the facility had failed to properly report and document each incident, and that the staff had ignored orders that plaintiff receive constant supervision. The lawsuit detailed 100 errors on the part of the facility constituting violations of federal and state and/or local statutes. The jury awarded plaintiff $500,000 in damages for deprivation of her rights, damages for past and future pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
  • A 90 year-old resident of a Rockland County nursing home fell to the ground from her bed and fractured her hip. She died from unrelated causes while the trial was pending. The estate contended that the facility had been deficient in the hiring, training and supervising of its medical staff, failed to ensure that the resident’s bed was equipped with the proper bed rails, neglected to adjust the bed’s position at a reasonable height, and failed to perform routine checks on the resident. The lawsuit was settled for $300,000.