Can I make a claim for a fall in a hospital or care home?

August 2nd, 2022

A fall for anyone can result in injury or distress, especially to those who are older and more at risk of sustaining large injuries. With that in mind, a fall within a hospital or even inside a care home can leave elderly patients and residents with significant injuries derailing their recovery and consequently resulting in a longer recovery period. Falls resulting in fractured hips, which is very common, also reduces life expectancy.

Hospitals and care homes have a responsibility to carry out regular risk assessments in order to ensure falls are prevented or their risk is minimised as far as is possible. This mandates that each patient is assessed for their risk of falls dependent upon their individual condition and may necessitate 1:1 supervisory care.

Not only can a fall cause physical harm, it can cause mental distress for patients too.

What can cause an avoidable fall?

  • Lack of risk assessing the patient, leading to the failure to provide sufficient bed rails/guards and/or insufficient supervision for higher risk and vulnerable patients
  • Unsafe traffic routes to allow patients to move around without hazards
  • Slippery floors – Freshly cleaned floors that have been waxed can cause a slip hazard, as well as wet floors. These make it easier for those walking along it to slip and potentially fall.
  • Dimly lit rooms or hallways – If a patient cannot view their surroundings due to poor lighting, this makes it a potential hazard for someone to slip whether they miss a step or cannot see a slight incline or decline.
  • Broken steps and a lack of handrails – These rails can be ones missing from hallways, staircases or any traffic route. Broken steps leave an uneven walking surface and poses a risk for falling.

Failure to conduct a risk assessment

If necessary precautions aren’t in place, a fall could be classed as negligent care as it could have been avoided. Whether it be a hospital, or a care home, these institutions have a duty to protect patients including having the relevant safeguards in place to reduce falls.

Failure to conduct and implement a thorough risk assessment may give rise to medical negligence if the individual has suffered a significant injury in a subsequent fall..

Each case differs and what each institution needs to do will vary, most medical negligence cases will involve analysis of each of the policies and procedures and a review of how the incidents will have come about. This is why it’s vital for set procedures to be in place.

How can we help?

If you or a loved one has received unsatisfactory care that has resulted in an injury due to a fall through negligence, please get in touch with a member of our team today.

Our medical negligence team at Linder Myers have experience within this file and can advise and guide you through each stage of the claims process should you proceed.

If you would like to discuss this with a member of the team today, fill out the form below, or get in touch by giving us a call on 02392 981 000.