Home health aides are special caring people who dedicate their lives to helping people that need it the most. In the majority of cases, their patients are the elderly who need assistance with cooking, laundry, cleaning, and bathing. Aides allow a person to remain in the comfort of their own home. Sometimes, these aides are also hired to assist hospital patients.
You would think that in a giant building, where all of the employees are dedicated to helping patients, that hazards would be few and far between, but the reality is that this is one of the most dangerous places to work in the United States. One woman found that out the hard way when she sustained life and career altering injuries in a slip & fall accident.
It's important to understand your legal options when it comes to slip and falls in hospitals. To learn more, visit our article on: Is A Fall At A Hospital A Medical Negligence Or Personal Injury Claim?
The accident took place in a hospital corridor. Earlier, condensation from an air conditioner had leaked through the ceiling and onto the floor, creating a puddle. As the home aide was walking down the corridor, she stepped in the puddle, slipped, and fell.
She immediately felt pain in her left hip and leg, as well as in her neck and back. She also noted diminished sensations in her left arm.
Doctors diagnosed her with herniated disks from C5 - C6 and L4 - S1, left shoulder impingement, and the aggravation of arthritis in her left knee. She tried to treat the injuries conservatively but saw little improvement. She first had a laminectomy and spinal fusion. One year later, she had to have three more surgeries, which placed spinal stimulations in her neck and lower back and replaced her left knee. Not longer after, additional surgeries were required because the spinal stimulators failed and needed to be replaced.
Although workers’ compensation paid most of her immediate medical bills, she has been left with a severe limp and requires the use of a cane. She also has a limited range of motion in her neck and must wear a back brace. To make matters worse, she already knows that the spinal simulators will need to be replaced every seven years, a lumbar fusion will be necessary as she ages, and in fifteen - twenty years her knee will need to be replaced again. Her doctors have also informed her that has she ages she will need to hire her own aides since her range of motion will slowly decrease.
Although workers’ compensation paid for the immediate medical bills, which added up to nearly $500,000, she sustained other losses and is expected to have hundreds of thousands in future medical bills. In order to get the compensation she needed, she decided to pursue legal action against the hospital.
In her complaint against the hospital, she alleged that the hospital knew about the issue with the air conditioner which caused it to leak water because there was a history of recurrent leaks. She claimed that they were negligent because not only did the fail to fix the leak but they also failed to clean up the puddle which caused her to fall. She sought compensation for her lost wages, expected medical bills, and the physical pain and suffering has been left with.
The defendant responded by claiming that she had pre-existing damage in both her back and knee due to her lifestyle and weight.
During the trial, several of the plaintiff’s doctors testified, stating that prior to her accident she did not have any health issues regarding her neck, back, or knee.
In the end, the jury awarded her $5.5 million in damages
If you have been injured on someone else’s property in a slip and fall accident and as a result, sustained injuries which caused you losses, you may be eligible for a slip & fall lawsuit.
Property owners have a duty to ensure reasonably safe conditions on their property but this doesn’t mean that someone who has been injured in a fall is immediately eligible to file a lawsuit. Every property is different and so what is considered reasonable changes from case to case.
For example, in a one-story business that is only about 1000 square feet, it is reasonable for the owner to walk the entire property at least once a day, if not more, to determine if there are any dangerous situations that need to be fixed. However, if the property that is owned is a 200-acre farmland, it is not reasonable to assume that an entire property check can be made daily.
The best way to determine if you have a good case is to consult with a slip & fall attorney as soon as possible.
In addition to reviewing your case, we help our clients by:
Our team has dedicated their careers to helping the victims of personal injury accidents and have in-depth knowledge of the law regarding slip & fall accidents. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.
See a related story: Walmart Ordered To Pay $7.5 Million For Slip & Fall Accident