An Iowa woman’s death has reportedly prompted a federal lawsuit brought by her husband and granddaughter, seeking damages for wrongful death, and loss of consortium.
The nursing home resident reportedly died under circumstances in which state investigators discovered that the woman had fallen more than 50 times prior to her death. While it is unclear whether the investigation was limited to this case, the facility was fined more than $10,000 in relation to the woman’s case and for another matter that was uncovered.
The lawsuit, which was reportedly filed in federal court, cites to at least 23 occasions, known to the plaintiffs, in which the family was aware that the woman fell. The documents further allege that the facility failed to adequately notify the family regarding the falls.
According to the information that has been reported, the family makes three claims: (1) that the facility was at fault for the injuries, presumably due to its negligence; (2) that the facility breached its contract, which stated that it would provide “safe, adequate nursing care services”; and (3) that it committed dependent adult abuse in that the woman’s health condition made her incapable of protecting herself from the dangers associated with the improper safety measures.
The facility has reportedly admitted to the woman’s falls in its reply, but claims that it is not responsible for any damages, as it alleges that it “fully discharged any and all duties owed to Plaintiff,” and further that any injuries were the result of unforeseeable events not due to the facility’s actions. It is seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit.
While the complaint in the case, which is the initial filing that begins a lawsuit, is not available at this time, the information that has been reported seems to suggest that the facility’s motion to dismiss in the case will likely not be granted. In order to be successful, a motion to dismiss under federal law, which is the relevant law for procedural matters in this case, requires that the complaint does not state any injuries for which relief can be granted. The mere allegation of 23 falls, and evidence by the state investigators that the number was at least 50, suggests that some procedure was either not in place, or not being followed.
While the information reported does not state how long the woman was a resident in the facility, 50 falls seems like an egregious amount of times for an elderly person to fall to the floor. More than a handful of falls seems to scream that something should have been done in order to prevent additional incidents from happening. A negligence cause of action requires a showing that the defendant did not act in accordance with what a reasonably prudent person would do. It seems obvious that a caretaker, after having had a patient fall several times, would have taken some sort of preventative action, unless they did not have a regard for the patient’s safety, in which case there may be the potential for a claim of gross negligence, at least under Maryland Law.
If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of suspected neglect, abuse, or medical malpractice in a nursing home or assisted living facility within the Maryland or the Washington D.C. areas, contact the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC immediately. We will advise you regarding what needs to be done next in order to ensure your loved one’s safety. You can reach us by calling (800) 654-1949 or contact us through our website, in order to schedule your initial complimentary consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Doctor Employed by Federal and State VA skirts Federal Claims in Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published December 10, 2013
$114 Million Jury Award in Nursing Home Lawsuit, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published December 3, 2013