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Understanding Liability After a Nursing Home Resident Suffers a Brain Injury

Senior woman falling because slippery floor tiles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals aged 75 and older face the highest rates of hospitalizations and fatalities due to traumatic brain injuries, a statistic that includes residents in nursing facilities. For an elderly nursing home resident, surviving a brain injury may bring not only physical challenges but also a significant decline in their overall quality of life.

When an elderly family member sustains a head injury under the care of a nursing home, it's critical to demand accountability from those responsible for their welfare and safety. In such cases, seeking the guidance of an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer becomes crucial. An attorney can serve as a strong advocate for you and your loved one, fighting tirelessly for justice and ensuring that proper measures are taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Factors contributing to nursing home brain injuries

Ensuring the safety and well-being of nursing home residents requires comprehensive measures and diligent oversight. However, when lapses occur, they can lead to devastating brain injuries. Some of the most common factors contributing to nursing home head injuries include:

Inadequate supervision: Failure to provide proper supervision leaves residents vulnerable to accidents and falls, increasing the risk of head injuries.

Mishaps during transfer or transport: Improper techniques or equipment during transfers or transport can result in accidents leading to head trauma.

Insufficient support with activities of daily living: Residents may require assistance with tasks such as using the bathroom or moving between a bed and chair. Lack of support can lead to falls and subsequent head injuries.

Falling from high beds: Beds set at inappropriate heights pose a significant risk, especially for residents with mobility issues, increasing the likelihood of falls and head injuries.

Poor security measures: Inadequate security protocols or allowing residents to wander outside unsupervised can expose them to environmental hazards and potential head injuries.

Intentional abuse: Sadly, instances of intentional abuse by caregivers can result in severe head injuries among nursing home residents.

Conflicts with other residents: Altercations or conflicts between residents can escalate and lead to physical altercations, resulting in head injuries.

Faulty or insufficient supportive walking devices: Improperly maintained or inadequate walking aids can compromise residents' stability, leading to falls and head injuries.

Absence of handrails: Lack of handrails in hallways, bathrooms, or stairwells can make it challenging for residents to maintain balance and prevent falls.

Overmedication or medication errors: Medication errors or overmedication can cause side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness, increasing the risk of falls and head injuries due to impaired balance and coordination.

Common types of brain injuries in nursing homes

Brain injuries in nursing homes can occur in various forms. The most common types include:


These occur when the brain moves within the skull. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can affect cognitive function, memory, balance, and coordination.


This is a bruise or bleeding on the brain caused by a direct impact to the head. Large contusions may require surgical removal.

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI)

This involves severe rotation or shaking of the head and the tearing of the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers (axons). DAI often leads to widespread brain damage and functional impairment.

Subdural hematoma

This occurs when blood collects on the brain's surface beneath the outer covering (dura). It's usually the result of a severe head injury and can lead to increased pressure on the brain. Elderly individuals are particularly susceptible due to brain shrinkage that places more strain on blood vessels.

Epidural hematoma

This type of hematoma occurs between the dura mater and the skull. Skull fractures that lead to bleeding from an artery often cause these injuries.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

This is bleeding into the space between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it. Symptoms may include severe headache, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

Coup-contrecoup injury

This occurs when the force of the impact is strong enough to cause damage at the site of direct impact as well as to move the brain and cause it to slam into the opposite side of the skull.

How to get help after a nursing home head injury

Nursing homes should be held accountable for head injuries linked to negligence in staffing, training, or hiring. When such failures lead to head injuries, victims and their families have the right to seek justice and accountability. Claims can cover medical costs, pain, suffering, and in fatal cases, wrongful death compensation.

At Shuttlesworth Law Firm, P.C., we can investigate your claim, gather evidence to hold negligent parties accountable, and fight for the maximum compensation your family deserves. To get started, contact us online or call our Birmingham office for a free consultation.

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