Head Injuries Resulting From Nursing Home Falls

Illinois Nursing Accidents Involving Head Injuries

Nursing home accidents can happen for a number of reasons, and can result in a range of injuries.  Among the most common type of accident that occurs in nursing homes (as well as other types of care facility such as an assisted living facility) is when a nursing home resident falls.

Given the frequent occurrence of such falls – as well as the serious nature of the injuries that typically result – the issue remains an important safety concern.  Also, nursing home falls are frequently cited as negligence in nursing home lawsuits.

On this site, nursing home falls are discussed frequently.  Falls are discussed both on the “Nursing Home Resident Falls” page as well as many posts seen in the “nursing home falls” category.  Additional commentary concerning falls can be seen in the following pages:

Nursing Home Falls Statistics

Nursing Home Falls Statistics – Additional

Preventing Falls In Nursing Homes

Among the serious injuries that can result from falls include broken hips and various fractures.

As well, a potentially very serious – and possibly life-threatening injury – is when someone hits their head and suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  On this site, those head injuries are discussed on the “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) In The Elderly” page, in which various issues are discussed, including defining TBI as well as signs and symptoms of concussions and other head injuries.  Statistics are also cited.  Another page, “Head Injuries In The Elderly” discusses classifications and types of head injuries, as well as the timing of symptoms and the importance of getting medical attention.

As discussed on the above pages, should someone be hurt in a nursing home accident it is recommended that they get a comprehensive medical exam.  This recommendation is based upon many health and legal reasons.  Aside from obvious injuries that need medical treatment, there have been many accidents after which someone is seriously injured but is not aware of such injuries for some time after the accident…i.e. some accident injury symptoms are what some refer to as “delayed onset.”  A thorough medical examination can check for accident injuries that have occurred but may not yet be obvious.  Depending upon the injury, a delay in proper health care treatment can possibly become life-threatening if not fatal.  Serious injuries with symptoms that may not be apparent for a considerable time period include internal injuries as well as concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

As seen on this site, there have been many nursing home accidents in which residents have suffered head injuries.  Many of these head injuries have resulted in fatalities and, in some cases, wrongful death lawsuits have been filed as a result.

Accidents that have been summarized on this site that have involved head trauma, concussions or other types of traumatic brain injuries resulting from accidents include:

  • April 26, 2017 post regarding an alleged fall and death following complications from a subdural hematoma
  • October 4, 2016 post citing an alleged fall and death from the resulting head injury
  • December 26, 2015 post citing an alleged head injury resulting from a fall in a Northbrook nursing home
  • October 20, 2015 post that cites a resident who was dropped and suffered head trauma

As seen in the four accidents mentioned above, as well as many others – with head trauma there is always the possibility of such trauma becoming a life-threatening injury.  As such, it is common for such injuries to be assessed in the emergency room (ER) at which point a CT scan (frequently called a “CAT scan”) is often run to test for certain conditions including bleeding on the brain.

The subject of head trauma that includes bleeding on the brain that can lead to death is discussed in the March 18, 2009 CNN article titled “‘Minor’ head injuries can turn serious rapidly, experts say.”

Notable excerpts from this article include:

It’s very common for someone who’s had a fall or been in a car accident to appear perfectly lucid just after the impact but then to suddenly, rapidly deteriorate, Dr. Carmelo Graffagnino, director of Duke University Medical Center’s Neurosciences Critical Care Unit, told CNN.

also:

“A patient can appear so deceivingly normal at first,” said Graffagnino, director of Duke University Medical Center’s Neurosciences Critical Care Unit. “But they actually have a brain bleed and as the pressure builds up, they’ll experience classic symptoms of a traumatic brain injury.”

Such injuries are known as epidural hemorrhage. Blood gets trapped between the skull and the hard layer of skin between the bone and brain, known as the dura mater. As the blood flows from the ruptured artery, the fluid builds and punctures the dura.

The article also discusses “talk and die” syndrome, as well as recognizing the signs of brain injury and the importance of having such an injury promptly diagnosed and treated.

Also discussed in the article are two notable aspects of head injuries; one is that blows to the head do not have to be “hard” in order to cause significant damage; another is that head injuries can be (very) serious even if there is no visible damage to the outside of the head.

There are various types of head injuries.  Generally speaking, head injuries are classified into “closed head injuries” and “open (penetrating) head injuries.”  Definitions of each, as seen on the MedlinePlus (U.S. National Library Of Medicine) page titled “Head injury – first aid” page:

  • A closed head injury means you received a hard blow to the head from striking an object, but the object did not break the skull.
  • An open, or penetrating, head injury means you were hit with an object that broke the skull and entered the brain. This is more likely to happen when you move at high speed, such as going through the windshield during a car accident. It can also happen from a gunshot to the head.

Injury Costs and Expenses For Head Injuries 

One of the reasons that there are many lawsuits regarding head injuries is the serious health consequences of such – especially in the elderly – as well as the costs associated with treating such head injuries.

Medical costs can be especially large in the case of head injuries in which there are long-term impairments, disabilities, and other types of permanent injuries.  Furthermore, it is common for people who have had head injuries to also have other serious accompanying injuries, such as injuries to the neck and/or spinal column.

Depending upon the characteristics of an accident, there are many types of expenses that can result from any injuries and permanent impairments.  Typically, medical bills may be (very) high, especially if the injured person does not have health insurance to pay for medical bills.  Even for those people who have insurance coverage, bills can be substantial, as many aspects of medical care, including diagnostic tests, medical procedures, surgeries, and various types of rehabilitation tend to be expensive.  Further increasing out-of-pocket medical costs are:

  • insurance deductibles
  • costs that aren’t covered
  • paramedic and ambulance fees, if applicable

Given these medical costs – as well as other direct and indirect costs discussed below – compensation sought in these lawsuits can include many different types.  Compensation types can include (but are not limited to) that for:

  • Medical costs (past, current and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of function
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Other economic damages

In head injuries which lead to death, wrongful death lawsuits are often filed by the decedent’s relatives or other relevant parties.

The Elman Law Group, Illinois personal injury trial lawyers, can provide an overview as to what types of compensation – as well as what amounts – may be reasonably expected given the specific characteristics of the accident, the injuries, and the overall legal and medical situations.

If you were injured in an accident, call Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney at the Elman Law Group, at (773) 392-8182 to discuss the accident and see what legal actions – including the filing of a lawsuit – may be appropriate.  This discussion is provided free of charge and is confidential in nature.

Elman Law Group, LLC has been handling Illinois personal injury cases for 25+ years, and during this time has handled over 10,000 personal injury cases.  Through this extensive experience, the Elman Law Group has built a reputation for its court trial performance.  As seen in many of its cases, this successful trial experience may (substantially) increase potential accident injury compensation.

Elman Law Group, LLC handles cases on a “contingency” basis…clients are not charged legal fees unless and until they get money.

For further reference regarding traumatic brain injuries and their consequences: