If my mother was in an assisted living facility and was injured by a fall, does the facility have any responsibility?

She was coming from dinner and tripped over another residents walker in the dining room. The facility was aware that she was a fall hazard. She ended up breaking her hip.

Asked on April 7, 2014 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The assisted living facility is liable for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable assisted living facility would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the assisted living facility, it may be possible to settle the case with the assisted living facility's insurance carrier.  It would be advisable to obtain the insurance carrier's name, address, telephone number from the assisted living facility's claims department.  Notify the insurance carrier that your mother will be filing a personal injury claim.

When your mother completes her medical treatment (for the injury sustained in the fall), and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in her medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your mother's medical bills and medical reports.

Your mother's personal injury claim filed with the assisted living facility's insurance carrier should include these items (medical bills and medical reports). Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your mother's injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If the case is settled with the assisted living facility's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If your mother is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, she should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the assisted living facility.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, the lawsuit for negligence against the assisted living facility must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your mother will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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