A 70-year-old woman fell from a Hoyer lift while being transported from a chair to her bed at a residential living facility (nursing home) on Long Island in 2016.
The incident occurred when a strap on the canvas sling used to hold the resident broke due to its age and failure to properly inspect and maintain it (see photo).
The resident suffered numerous rib fractures, a clavicle fracture and spinal fractures. She died a year later. Plaintiff asserted that in addition to her pain and suffering, that the injuries also resulted in wrongful death. The defendant claimed that the resident’s pre-existing illnesses were the cause of death.
The plaintiff’s liability claims were twofold: First, that it was simple negligence for failing to use reasonable care with this non-ambulatory resident. This type of incident does not occur without negligence, the defendant was in exclusive control of the device, and the resident played no part in the Hoyer lift failure.
Second, the plaintiff claimed a statutory violation: The nursing home violated state and federal law that required it to protect their resident from accidents by providing “adequate assistive devices.” This device was not adequate.
The defendant was prepared to argue that the sling had been inspected by the certified nursing assistant who was assisting with the transfer of the resident and present for the fall, and the plaintiff would have responded that if such inspection took place, it was not adequate.
The woman left behind four adult children and numerous grandchildren.
The case settled for $550,000 after jury selection in March 2022. The case was to be tried in Nassau County, New York.
Eric Turkewitz tried this case on behalf of the Law Office of Michael Bast.