Suspicious cause of broken femur bone at nursing home?

by Julie
(Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio)

My father resides in a nursing home. On October 15, 2015, he fell and was taken to a local hospital. Friday morning at 8:30am, he went to surgery. I was told by the home he tripped over his feet, but the surgeon at the hospital said that would not have caused the femur to brake.

I'm wondering if this is from abuse or neglect on the part of the nursing home staff? How could I determine the cause of the injury? Would I have to get the police to investigate? Should I speak with an attorney? Thanks for any information you can provide.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Suspicious cause of broken femur bone at nursing home?":

Julie (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio):

From the facts you present, there doesn't seem to be any immediate proof of negligence. To prove negligence will require you to find evidence of wrongdoing by staff. Evidence may be in the form of incident reports made by the nursing staff at the time of your father's fall.

Without proof of some sort of criminal wrongdoing, the police will likely not agree to investigate the matter. At this point there is no reason to believe your father's fall was the result of a push, or a result of some other willful action meant to injure him.

Seek copies of your father's nursing home records. If you are not one of the people who is entitled to them, seek out the person who is. You can also have your father sign a power of attorney. Ask the nursing home for an "incident report" made at, or about the time your father fell.

In most cases, injuries to nursing home patients are documented for insurance purposes. The nursing home is not presently under a legal obligation to release their incident report to you. However, that report, if its exists, can later be subpoenaed if a lawsuit is filed.

Next, speak with nursing and administrative staff at the home. See if any of them witnessed your father's fall, and if so, what were the circumstances under which he fell. Don't forget to obtain witness statements to verify what actually happened.

Seek out other staff members to see if they can tell you of other incidents in the nursing home which were questionable at best, especially where residents may have been injured.

Because of the seriousness of your father's injury you would be well-advised to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. Fortunately, most injury attorneys will not charge for an initial office consultation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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