Dudensing Law helps family secure $5 million settlement against a California assisted living facility after multiple falls led to death of loved one

June 10, 2024
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Dudensing Law reached a $5 million settlement in February 2024 against an assisted living facility in California. The case is on behalf of a patient who suffered multiple falls in the facility, ultimately leading to his death.

The patient, a former high school teacher and assistant principal, was admitted to the assisted living facility in September 2021, following a Parkinson’s diagnosis and signs of dementia that put him at high risk for falls. He was admitted to the facility without the necessary physician assessment to understand his needs and establish a care plan. Within his first month as a resident, he suffered an unsupervised fall in which he broke his wrist. The facility failed to create an incident report for this fall.

Following the September fall, the facility created a “Personalized Care Plan” for the resident, yet it did not include any mention of the previous fall and wrist injury. It also maintained that he should ambulate on his own with his walker. This type of movement is highly dangerous for a resident with a broken wrist who was needing walking assistance. After the resident underwent surgery on his wrist, staff yet again did not adjust his care plan to further protect against falls, and within days, he experienced multiple falls, leaving him with fractures around his eye socket.

The same day as he was assessed for damage from the previous fall, he fell again upon return to the facility. The resident fell at least 4 times while at the facility, with three of the falls occurring within 36 hours. Due to the poor quality of care, the patient was transferred to a skilled nursing facility. There, it was discovered that he had sustained a hip fracture while under the former facility’s care. Tragically, he was unable to recover from the damage from the repeated falls and died from his injuries in November 2021.

The repeated negligence of the staff, lack of supervision, inadequate fall prevention, and a cookie-cutter care plan resulted in serious injuries that claimed the life of this resident patient. This case highlights the importance of stringent safety protocols and vigilant care for vulnerable residents in assisted living facilities.

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