Fort Myers Assisted Living Falls/Broken Bones Attorney
Falls, especially those that cause serious injuries, usually are not “accidents.” Instead, negligence, often in the form of understaffing, usually causes such injuries. About 90 percent of the assisted living centers in Lee County are seriously understaffed. Non-professional staff, like groundskeepers, are often the first jobs on the chopping block in such environments. As a result, fall hazards, like uneven walkways and wet spots on floors, often appear more frequently. Additionally, there are no employees near construction zones and other hazardous areas to assist disbaled residents as they walk through these locations. Falls often cause devastating injuries, especially if the victim has a pre-existing condition. Broken bones are a good example. Many assisted living residents have mobility impairments and/or they are dealing with a serious illness or injury. These pre-existing conditions increase the risk of a fall and increase the severity of fall injuries.
The tenacious Fort Myers assisted living falls/broken bones attorneys at Kohn Law never stop fighting for you in court. Like all good fighters, we understand that success in the ring depends on vigorous training before the match. Therefore, before your case goes to court, we collect evidence and apply the correct legal doctrines to it. That way, when the bell rings, we’re ready.
Typically, negligence is a lack of ordinary care. Falls and other such injuries usually aren’t freak accidents. Instead, all four elements of a negligence case are usually present in a fall injury claim. These four elements are:
- Duty: Generally, property owners, including assisted living center owners, have a legal responsibility to make the premises reasonably safe. Since these residents are especially prone to serious fall injuries, as mentioned above, these owners must take special care to address fall injury hazards.
- Breach: Landowners breach their duty of care when their conduct falls below the standard of care. Since the standard of care is so high in these cases, it’s usually easier for a Fort Myers assisted living falls/broken bones attorney to prove negligence, or a lack of care. As the old saying goes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
- Cause: Victim/plaintiffs must prove factual and legal cause in these cases. Factual cause is a connection between the breach and the damages. Usually, factual cause is automatic in premises liability claims, thanks to an obscure legal doctrine called res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself). Legal cause is foreseeability (possibility) of injury.
- Damages: Compensation in a fall injury claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. No amount of money can reverse the effects of a serious fall. However, quite frankly, money helps.
Premises liability victims must also prove, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), that the owner knew, or should have known, about the hazard which caused the fall.
Insurance Company Defenses
A preliminary negligence case isn’t enough to obtain maximum compensation. Common insurance company defenses, which could reduce or eliminate compensation, include comparative fault and assumption of the risk.
Essentially, comparative fault shifts blame for the fall from the negligent property owner to the victim. Basically the insurance company argues that the victim didn’t watch where s/he was stepping. The nature of the hazard, as well as the victim’s ability to avoid that hazard, are both relevant here. As mentioned, some assisted living center residents have pre-existing conditions which make it difficult or impossible for them to avoid some hazards.
Assumption of the risk usually involves a “Caution Wet Floor” or other warning sign. Posting a sign isn’t enough. The insurance company must also prove the victim could see the sign, could read the sign, and could understand what the sign meant.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Lee County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced assisted living falls/broken bones attorney in Fort Myers, contact Kohn Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.