Newport News Patient/Hospital Falls Lawyer

When in the hospital recovering from an injury or surgery, patients often suffer from disorientation, weakness or an unstable gait. At times, they need assistance walking to the bathroom, transferring, or completing other basic tasks. Hospitals and nurses owe their patients a continuing duty of care to assess and intervene for them when they are at high risk of falling. If healthcare providers do not meet those standards of care and a patient suffers a fall, they are liable for the injuries the patient sustains.

If you work with Waterman Law Centers, PLLC, you will have an award-winning, dependable personal injury lawyer ready to fight for your rights and compensation. The injuries you suffer from a hospital fall limit your ability to enjoy once-loved activities and daily tasks. You have the right to hold those responsible for your injury liable, and our award-winning Newport News hospital fall attorney will provide you with the best possible outcome for your claim.

What Causes Hospital Falls?

Individuals over the age of 65 are most at risk, especially those with compromised mental status and/or stability or gait problems. Hospital patient fall injuries last a significant amount of time and require physical therapy, surgery and other extensive treatment. Older individuals also tend to be slow to recover due to their age and general health decline. 

Hospitals are providing care for patients 24/7, so are responsible for any negligence. Hospitals and their employees have a duty to provide the necessary care for all patients.

There are numerous ways a healthcare provider’s negligence causes a hospital fall, including:

  • Toileting: The majority of hospital patient falls are caused by nurses and aides not assisting patients with toileting properly. Some fail to respond to call bells on a timely basis, forcing patients to go to the bathroom unassisted. Others assist patients to the bathroom, yet then leave them alone in the bathroom unattended.
  • Transfer/transport: Toileting aside, high fall-risk patients require assistance — sometimes even special devices — when transferring between beds, chairs, gurneys, rooms, etc. Moreover, direct supervision of the patient while in a wheelchair or gurney is often necessary for high fall-risk patients too. Hence, the failure of nurses to assist, accompany or otherwise safeguard causes hospital falls.
  • Assessment: As a threshold matter, sometimes hospital nurses simply fail to assess whether the patient is a high fall risk. Other times, nurses perform a patient fall risk assessment, yet fail to complete and/or score it properly. Further, occasionally patients are not re-assessed when required by changing shifts or circumstances. As a result, the patient does not get the benefit of special fall precautions deserved and needed.
  • Intervention: Even when a patient is assessed properly as a high fall risk, sometimes hospital nurses fail to follow through with the safety interventions required for their patient. As a result, falls occur.
  • Other situations: High fall risk patient falls in other hospital contexts also result in healthcare provider liability.

A fall is also dangerous because of the potential for the individual to strike something on his or her way down. For example, if patients fall and hit their heads on a nearby table, they can suffer a traumatic brain injury that requires extensive medical treatment or even suffer wrongful death. Speak with attorney Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman, Jr., Esq. as soon as possible to start your claim and hold those liable accountable for your injuries.

Who Is Liable in a Patient Fall Claim?

In a patient fall claim, several parties could be liable for the incident depending on the specific circumstances. Working with an experienced lawyer increases your chances of success in obtaining compensation for a patient fall claim and holding the responsible party accountable for negligence. 

The following parties are responsible for fall-related injuries: 

  • Nurses: Because nurses – RNs and LPNs – have primary responsibility for fall risk assessments and interventions, they usually are directly at fault and liable for high risk patient falls, injuries and deaths.
  • Aides: Sometimes nurses’ aides are negligent when assisting nurses with high fall risk patients, though typically at the direction of nurses. Aides more commonly work in nursing homes.
  • Clerks: Rarely, a unit clerk is liable for communicating the wrong directions to patients who consequently fall and are injured or die.
  • Others: In some cases, other hospital staff are at fault for the fall injuries and deaths of high risk patients. For example, a tech (such as a radiology tech) who leaves a high fall risk patient alone in a bathroom is liable if that patient falls and injures or dies. Of course, other techs and staff can be responsible too.
  • Hospitals: As employers of nurses, aides, clerks, techs, and other staff (including hospitalists), hospitals can be sued for their medical malpractice. Additionally, hospitals are responsible for any outdated or other substandard training, education, etc. of nurses, aides, clerks, techs, and other staff that causes patient falls, injury and/or death. Likewise, nursing facilities as employers are liable for their staff’s negligence.
  • Doctors: Doctors infrequently are liable for high risk patients falling and suffering personal injury or death.
  • Practices: As employers of most doctors, physician practices must pay for the injuries and deaths of fall risk patients caused by their doctors.

Determining liability in patient fall claims is a complex process that involves evaluating the actions and responsibilities of various parties. Consult an award-winning patient falls lawyer to navigate the legal process and ensure your rights are protected. 

Recoverable Damages in a Patient Fall Claim

When a patient suffers a fall in a healthcare setting, it leads to physical and emotional injuries, as well as financial burdens and sometimes death. In a successful patient fall claim, you are able to recover the following economic and non-economic damages: 

  • Pain, suffering and inconvenience 
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Continuing disability and limitations
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages from missed work
  • Mental anguish

To maximize your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve, work with a patient falls lawyer to assess the full extent of your losses. Doing so ensures you will achieve the recovery you need. 

When to Contact a Newport News Hospital Fall Lawyer

Hospitals are extremely savvy about responding to and defending possible claims against their staff. They have public relations, risk management, and even so-called “patient advocates” who try to steer patients and their families away from getting their own lawyers, trying to settle things quickly and cheaply. If you try to represent yourself without a legal professional, you place your rights and compensation at risk. As a Newport News patient falls lawyer, Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman, Jr., Esq. has the knowledge and experience to handle legal conflicts and will provide you with the following services:

  • Gathering evidence like medical records and employment records
  • Answering all your legal questions
  • Making your claim timely and otherwise properly
  • Negotiating with the hospital and insurers
  • Determining who is liable for your injuries
  • Calculating your damages
  • Utilizing resources like medical experts and accident reconstruction specialists
  • Taking your case to trial if necessary and appropriate
  • Researching medical and technical literature

A hospital fall claim is challenging to navigate on your own. Having a lawyer will lift the overwhelming burden off your shoulders so you are able to recover from your injuries without the added stress of a legal conflict. Contact Waterman Law Center and learn about how they will help your claim.

Contact Newport News Hospital Fall Attorney Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman Today

Handling a medical malpractice claim after a patient fall is stressful and overwhelming. The Newport News hospital fall lawyer at Waterman Law Centers, PLLC, has over 40 years of award-winning experience handling complex legal claims for clients across Virginia. As an established member of our community, attorney Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman, Jr., Esq. was named to The Best Lawyers in America for Medical Malpractice during 2007-2023, and was voted “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice for 2023 by his peers in Southeast Virginia; and Waterman Law Centers has been recognized as a Metropolitan Tier 1 Best Law firm for Medical Malpractice by U.S. News & World Report during 2021-2023.

If you suffered from a harmful hospital fall, schedule a free consultation with our award-winning lawyer by calling (757) 881-9881 or filling out our contact form today.