Close Menu
Personal Injury Lawyers That Truly Care click here How much is my case worth?
Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > General > Falls and Nursing Home Negligence

Falls and Nursing Home Negligence


Slip and falls are one of the leading causes of nursing home admissions. Furthermore, over 60 percent of nursing home residents fall at least once during their stays. So, in a nutshell, falls put many older adults in nursing homes, and falls keep these individuals in nursing homes much longer.

Nursing home overcrowding causes many fall injuries. Since they must accommodate more residents, dangerous construction, from minor renovations to major expansions, is an ongoing process at most long-term care facilities.

Younger people can avoid uneven walkways and other construction-related fall hazards. But many older adults with poor eyesight cannot see warning signs. Additionally, because they shuffle their feet when they walk, when they stumble, they almost always fall.

Nursing home owners cannot blame these falls on residents. Instead, these owners must accept legal responsibility for these falls, at least in most cases, as outlined below. If negligence causes injury, a Columbia premises liability attorney can obtain the compensation these victims need and deserve in court.

Building a Case

Nursing home owners are legally responsible for fall-related damages if they had a duty of care and they knew about, or should have known about, the injury hazard.

Most nursing home residents are invitees. They have owner permission to be at the property and they economically benefit the owner. If the victim was an invitee at the time of the injury, the owner usually has a duty of reasonable care. This responsibility includes a requirement to ensure the property is reasonably safe and conduct frequent safety inspections.

This process includes immediately recognizing, addressing, and removing common fall injury hazards like:

  • Uneven or damaged walkways,
  • Wet or slippery floors,
  • Missing or damaged handrails and grab bars,
  • Damaged or improperly fitted equipment, such as beds, wheelchairs, or walkers, and
  • Inadequate supervision of residents, including those who exhibit aggressive behavior.

If the victim was behind on payments or in violation of a nursing home rule, such as fighting in a common area, a lesser legal status might apply. A lower legal status generally means a lower duty of care.

Additionally, a Columbia personal injury lawyer must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the nursing home owner knew about, or should have known about, the fall injury hazard.

A “Caution” sign is an interesting case. Many owners display these signs to invoke the assumption of the risk defense. Such a sign is also an admission that the nursing home owner, or rather a nursing home employee, knew about the risk.

Nursing home owners are usually financially responsible for slip-and-fall and other negligent injury damages, even if the owner is an out-of-state holding company that couldn’t find Columbia on a map.

Anticipating Defenses

We mentioned the assumption of the risk defense above. Now, let’s break it down. Unless an attorney refutes this defense, the court could reduce the victim’s compensation all the way to zero.

First, usually during a pretrial hearing, an insurance company lawyer must establish the basic prongs of this defense, which are:

  • A voluntary assumption of
  • A known risk.

As mentioned, many older adults cannot see signs well, especially if the space isn’t well lit. If the victim couldn’t see the sign, the victim didn’t voluntarily assume the risk.

If the judge allows the defense, insurance company lawyers must convince jurors that the victim’s assumption of the risk, as opposed to the owner’s negligence, substantially caused the fall.

Finally, based on the evidence, which includes the victim’s inability to avoid a fall, jurors must divide responsibility on a percentage basis. South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent threshold. Victims are entitled to a proportionate share of damages if they’re no more than 49 percent at fault.

The open and obvious defense is like assumption of the risk on steroids. Owners aren’t responsible for damages when open and obvious hazards, like a large sinkhole in a park, cause fall injuries. Obviously, this defense only applies in limited situations.

Connect With a Savvy Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Practice Areas

Car Accidents

When a car accident happens, your life may be turned upside down in a matter of seconds. Let us help to restore your life.

learn more

Trucking Accidents

Attorney Marc Brown is a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer. We can help you when you need it most.

learn more

Wrongful Death

Experiencing the death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time. It can also be financially devastating. Let us help!

learn more

Slip & Fall

Marc Brown is an experienced slip and fall attorney that serves the entire states of South Carolina and Georgia.

learn more

Dog Bites

If you need legal help with a dog bite injury, reach out to a South Carolina dog bite lawyer at the Marc Brown Law Firm.

learn more

Crime Victims

In cases of shootings and other crimes, victims can seek financial compensation by filing a civil claim for damages.

learn more
click here view all practice areas

awards & memberships

Super Lawyers 2021
South Carolina Bar
State Bar Of Georgia
Expertise 2021
American Association for Justice
Richland County Bar Association
South Carolina Association for Justice
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Marc Brown

Marc Brown Law Firm

Meet Attorney Marc Brown

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his smaller, more personalized practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

A Personable & Dedicated South Carolina Attorney

As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

Why Choose Us?

Choosing an attorney is a very important decision, but it can be difficult. When you choose the Marc Brown Law Firm, we do everything we can to keep you informed, put your needs first, and to make sure justice is served. Here are just a few reasons to choose us:

The Right Experience

Attorney Marc Brown has experience that matters. Prior to opening this law firm, Marc spent nearly a half a decade defending big insurance companies and large corporations in personal injury and commercial litigation matters across the United States. Marc knows exactly how insurance companies and corporations evaluate claims and what they look at when deciding to increase the amount they are willing to pay. He thinks outside the box to find additional or hidden opportunities for favorable results.

We’ll Come To You

After being injured in a serious accident, you need to focus on getting better. Serious accidents can be hard on an individual, physically and emotionally. The Marc Brown Law Firm is dedicated to fight for you while you recover. If you are unable to travel to our office for any reason, we will personally visit you! Just give us a call to talk whenever you may be in need of assistance. We’re here to help.

Clients First

At the Marc Brown Law Firm, we choose to put our clients first. Our clients are more than just a case number. We think of each of our clients as extended members of the family. We make sure to inform our clients of all their legal options and provide timely updates throughout the life their case.

24/7 Availability

We are available around the clock for our clients. If at any point we are unavailable, we promise to promptly respond to all messages within hours.


We work hard so that our clients receive the justice they deserve! When necessary, Attorney Marc Brown retains investigators, engineers, and other experts to help prove your case. Insurance companies are big, but Marc is experienced and resourceful. We fight for each of our clients so that you can receive the maximum compensation available to you.

No Fees Unless We Win

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront cost to clients. You only pay lawyer fees when we win your case. This also means that your attorney is only paid a percentage of what is recovered for you. The Marc Brown Law Firm has a vested interest in ensuring that each of our clients receive the maximum recovery available to them. We are determined to fight tirelessly to recover for you.

Marc Brown and The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 award