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Palm Beach Woman Severely Injured by Negligent Nursing Home

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the Palm Beach Post reported that a nursing home had allowed a 75-year-old woman to fall off a wheelchair lift on the back of a nursing home vehicle, causing her serious injuries. The wheelchair lift was broken, and the nursing home knew about it, but did nothing to fix it. A state inspection, the article notes, had previously fined the nursing home $2,500 for the unsafe condition of the wheelchair lift, and ordered them to have it repaired. The repairs, according to the state agency, would have cost approximately $1,600. The nursing home, however, decided to put profits over patient care and safety, and didn’t repair the broken lift. This horrible, painful accident could have been avoided if the nursing home had exercised proper care. Unfortunately though, an elderly woman was hurt as a result. The resident deserves fair compensation for her injuries.

How did the accident happen? As an operator was attempting to lower himself and the wheelchair-bound resident, the lift stalled out. In an effort to get it to start moving again, he put his foot under it. This caused him to lose his balance, and since he was holding the wheelchair, both he and the resident took a nasty fall. She broke two ribs and her collarbone and bled inside her skull.

Fraud and Corruption

It’s already shameful that these facilities are able to profit from our elders while failing to ensure their safety. But the article reports that, in addition to this incident, two executives of the nursing home in question have also been indicted for Medicaid fraud. These executives evidently spent $2.75 million of taxpayer money, but couldn’t find a mere $1,600 to fix a wheelchair ramp. Meanwhile, they were collecting salaries of over $400,000 a year.

Legal Analysis

Under Florida law, failing to remedy an unsafe condition that you know about constitutes an act of negligence. When someone else is injured as a result of your negligence, you are liable to that person in tort. In addition, Florida law provides that elders who are in the care of a nursing home facility have certain rights, including “[t]he right to receive adequate and appropriate health care and protective and support services.” Fla. Stat. § 400.022(1)(l). Here, especially because the nursing home knew about the broken wheelchair lift, it is likely that they violated her rights to receive adequate care, and she would therefore be able to bring an action to recover against them. These and other legal remedies may be available to anyone who is a victim of inadequate and negligent care giving in a nursing home facility.

In dealing with corrupt and negligent nursing homes, it’s important to find someone who knows and understands the law. Call the personal injury attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associates to discuss the specifics of your case and for advice on the best course of action.

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