Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Renton Nursing Home Falls: A Closer Look

Posted Friday, March 3, 2023 by Chris Thayer

Frequently, falls send older people to nursing homes. Even more frequently, falls keep these individuals at nursing homes longer than planned. Over 60% of nursing home residents in King County sustain a serious fall every year. Frequently, the extended nursing home stay is permanent. Most elderly fall victims cannot live independently again because of their deteriorated physical and mental conditions.

Physically, many older adult fall victims sustain permanent injuries. For example, a broken hip might never completely heal, leaving the victim dependent on a walker or with other mobility impairments. Emotionally, many older adult fall victims are so afraid of a repeat fall that they basically become prisoners in their own nursing home rooms.

Even the best Renton personal injury attorney cannot turn back the clock and alter the chain of events that lead to the fall. But an attorney can do the next best thing, which is to obtain financial compensation for their serious injuries. This compensation helps them pay accident-related bills and move on with their lives.

*Victim Vulnerability*A combination of vision issues, mobility issues, and nursing home staffing issues often contribute to the risk and severity of a nursing home fall.

AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) affects many older adults. Fatty deposits build up around the eyes, restricting their straight-ahead vision. As a result, they often don’t see wet spots on floors and other hazards that a younger person could avoid.

Gait disorders affect many older adults as well. They shuffle their feet when they walk instead of lifting their feet. Since younger people lift their feet, when they stumble, they can often regain their balance. When older people stumble, they usually fall. And, since they often have arthritis and other pre-existing conditions, they usually fall hard.

Well-staffed nursing homes assign employees to quickly address fall hazards and help residents get around. Understaffed facilities do not provide these services, leaving residents on their own.

All three of these issues have something in common. The victim has no control over any of them. Therefore, an insurance company lawyer cannot use these vulnerabilities against them in court.

*Legal Issues*A Renton personal injury attorney can obtain compensation in these cases if the owner had a duty of care and knew, or should have known, about the injury-causing hazard.

Nursing home residents benefit nursing home owners financially. They also have permission to be at the nursing home. Therefore, they are invitees under Washington law. As a result, the nursing home owner has a duty of reasonable care to make the premises reasonably safe. Erecting a warning sign buys them some time to address a hazard but does not fulfill their legal responsibility.

This responsibility only applies if a Renton personal injury attorney also proves actual or constructive (should have known) knowledge.

Direct and circumstantial evidence is admissible in this area. Direct evidence includes smoking guns like prior falls or cleaning reports. Circumstantial evidence often involves the time-notice rule. The longer the hazard exists, the more likely it is that the owner should have learned about it and should have addressed it.

*Work With a Diligent King County Attorney*Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Renton, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. We routinely handle matters throughout Washington State.