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Patient Falls

Patient Falls

I am one of only a dozen Virginia patient advocates honored in the inaugural “Medical Malpractice” section listing of The Best Lawyers in America in 2007, have been named every single year since then, and still remain the only Peninsula lawyer named. In 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020, Mr. Waterman was voted “Lawyer of the Year” by my peers in Best Lawyers’ Medical Malpractice for Southeast Virginia.

I have litigated numerous patient fall cases against the Riverside, Sentara, Mary Immaculate (Bon Secours) and even Carilion Health Systems. I have filed suits for patient fall victims across Virginia – from Norfolk to Hampton to Newport News to Gloucester to Williamsburg to Roanoke.

Litigating for years has amassed and still builds upon a wealth of internal nursing and other institutional materials. My practice thereby is at the most sophisticated level for patient fall victims and commands the respect of defendants.

My settlements for patient falls have been published in Virginia Lawyers Weekly. They are believed the then-largest ones in Virginia.

My 2012 $3,500,000.00 jury verdict for an 87 year-old in-patient fall victim more than doubles my 2006 $1,600,000.00 jury verdict for an 80 year-old in-patient fall victim. Of course, my historic results do not guarantee future ones.

Riverside Hosp., Inc. v. Johnson, 272 Va. 518 (2006), is my patient fall case in the Virginia Supreme Court, and still stands as landmark case on medical malpractice “privilege” claims. My successful brief on behalf of Johnson and the Court’s opinion follow:

1. (11/3/06) Opinion of the Virginia Supreme Court

2. (8/11/06) Brief of Appellee

Patient falls are the most common incident occurring at healthcare institutions. Because most patient falls are preventable, their occurrence usually constitutes medical malpractice.

Families should not assume that a fall is the fault of the patient due to age, infirmity and/or even inability to follow nursing directions. Indeed, such compromised patient conditions are at the core of nurse and institutional responsibility for falls.

Healthcare institutions and their nurses are obligated to assess the fall risk status of all patients, to intervene with various precautionary measures, to respond to any changes in status, and to document their undertakings. If they fail to do so and significant personal injuries result, then the nurses and institutions face significant legal liability.