A Teaneck woman has filed a lawsuit against Holy Name Medical Center after suffering serious injuries. According to the lawsuit, her hospital gown was caught on her bed when she attempted to stand. She fell, sustaining injuries that left her permanently disabled, according to her claim.
The lawsuit also names the manufacturer of the hospital bed, Hill-Rom Company, Inc. It claims that the hospital bed was inherently dangerous and defective as well as unsafe for its intended use. The plaintiff argues that the bed was designed with wanton and willful disregard for the safety of the user, and that the hospital is negligent because it failed to replace the defective bed.
Are Falls from Beds Common?
Every year, thousands of hospitalized patients and residents of nursing homes suffer injuries from falling out of beds. In certain circumstances, the hospital or nursing home can be held liable for these injuries. The injuries resulting from falls from beds are not just limited to the obvious, like broken bones, bruises and lacerations. Victims can suffer serious, life-changing injuries like traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.
When is the hospital or nursing home liable? As in all injury cases, the legal theory of negligence is key to proving liability. There are four essential elements of negligence that a plaintiff must prove in these cases:
- The defendant owes the patient a duty of care. As a patient in a hospital or resident in a nursing home, there is an expectation that the hospital or nursing home will act diligently to keep patients or residents safe. Thus, there is a duty of care.
- The defendant somehow breached this duty of care.
- That breach is the proximate cause of an injury.
- There are monetary and/or nonmonetary damages as a result of the injury.
Victims of these falls may be entitled to financial recovery for medical costs (present and future) stemming from the injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages and future earning capacity as well as possible punitive damages if the defendant displayed wonton or reckless disregard for the life and health of the victim.