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Are Nursing Homes Liable When Residents Fall on Facility-Led Trips?

November 22, 2021

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The common image of nursing home residents being confined to their rooms all day isn’t accurate for many people who live in long-term care facilities. Many nursing homes work hard to keep residents active and engaged both within their facilities and in their local communities. One of the ways they accomplish this is by taking residents on regular field trips to supermarkets, churches, restaurants, and local attractions.

But because many nursing home residents have reduced or limited mobility and may also be in poor health, these outings can be potentially dangerous. Residents need constant supervision and assistance, and there’s always a chance they may have a medical emergency or injury while away from the facility. This means that chaperones and staff members must be ready to act immediately if an emergency occurs.

The biggest threat that residents face on field trips is falling, but when it happens, who is liable—the nursing home or the property owner?

Reasons Nursing Homes Can Be Held Liable for Field Trip Falls

Nursing homes can be assigned fault for resident falls during field trips in the following circumstances:

  • The injured resident was too weak, ill, or immobile to safely go on the trip.

Nursing homes should ensure that residents who go on field trips are healthy and strong enough to do so. Whether they walk independently or use canes/walkers, residents should be able to comfortably and safely be away from their rooms and caregivers for the entire duration of the field trips. When residents fall on field trips because of poor balance, immobility, or general weakness that wasn’t taken into consideration by their caretakers, their facilities can be at fault for their injuries.

  • The injured resident wasn’t being properly supervised.

Staff members and chaperones should keep track of residents from the moment they board buses to the moment they return to their rooms at their facilities. When residents are left alone on field trips or aren’t watched closely, warning signs that they may be about to fall may be missed, which can result in serious injuries and the facility’s liability.

  • The injured resident didn’t get immediate medical treatment.

Sometimes, falls even happen to healthy residents who are properly supervised. But because falls can cause life-threatening injuries for many nursing home residents, it’s vital for staff members to immediately get them medical attention. When medical treatment is delayed for any reason, especially after the fall was witnessed or promptly reported to staff members, the facility can be held liable for any complications the resident suffers from the fall.

Reasons Property Owners Can Be Held Liable for Field Trip Falls

Slip and falls can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. In some cases, nursing home residents fall on field trips despite staff members and chaperones taking all proper precautions. Here are scenarios where property owners and managers may be held liable for nursing home resident falls:

  • The property was dangerous.

The same hazards that can cause anyone to slip and fall in a public or private setting can also cause residents to slip and fall. These hazards include things like slick floors, broken stairs or railings, loose carpeting, and dim lighting. When residents fall on field trips because of common slip and fall hazards, property owners and managers can be held liable for their injury-related expenses.

  • The property wasn’t ADA-compliant.

Falls can also occur on properties that are otherwise safe to most visitors but aren’t compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. Examples of non-compliance include: lacking wheelchair ramps, the lack of elevators, the lack of handicap parking spaces, and the lack of handrails on stairs. Residents may fall because of this non-compliance, especially when they need to exert themselves to get in and out of a property.

Unsure Who Is Liable After Your Loved One Fell? Contact Us Today.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we know that when your loved one falls in their nursing home or while on a nursing home-led trip, you just want them to get better and to get justice for their injuries. The last thing you want to do is point fingers and play the blame game—especially when there’s a dispute about who is at fault.

Our Ohio nursing home neglect lawyers can investigate your loved one’s fall and determine where the liability lies. Then, we’ll work hard to get your loved one and your family maximum compensation, whether it comes from the nursing home or the owner of the property where they fell. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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