The elderly are particularly at risk for falls, and they are more likely to sustain serious or fatal injuries in slip-and-fall accidents. Nursing homes in New Mexico must, therefore, take extra care to identify and eliminate fall risks for residents. However, a resident’s fall is not necessarily the fault of the nursing home.
Here are some considerations regarding whether or not the facility may be liable for a fall.
Slip-and-fall accident liability
FindLaw points out that in any slip-and-fall case, the plaintiff must prove that the owner or person in charge at the facility was negligent. Elements of negligence include:
- Owing a duty to the person who sustained the injury
- Breaching the duty
- Causing injuries due to the breach
- Injuring in a way that leads to damages
Someone who wants to prove a nursing home’s negligence and liability would have to be able to show that the facility took an action or failed to take an action that directly led to the resident’s injury fall.
Causes of falls
As FindLaw explains, there may be a number of underlying causes for a fall that indicate the nursing home acted negligently.
Perhaps the seemingly obvious cause is a puddle of water that has been on the floor for 10 minutes. Proof of negligence may include the fact that the facility does not employ enough staff or did not properly train staff, and this led to the oversight.
Even if there is no obvious environmental issue, it could be negligence if the patient who fell should have been under more careful observation, or should have had an assistive device such as a walker.