SPBMC Member Eleni Coffinas recently obtained a $1.5 million settlement for a previously disabled client who suffered further disabling injuries after a fall in a nursing home facility.
Ms. Coffinas’ client, a 34-year-old man who had a pre-existing severe brain injury due to a prior brain hemorrhage, was admitted into a rehabilitation facility in February of 2015 after a long-term hospital stay, where he then suffered a catastrophic fall, causing him to become further disabled. The purpose of his stay in the rehabilitation facility was to help him improve his overall quality of life, mobility and ability to perform daily tasks, such as brushing his teeth and dressing himself. Through physical and occupational therapy at the facility, he made slow but steady improvements during his approximate one-month stay at the facility and was able to perform some tasks with assistance and walk with the use of a walker and aides.
The facility was aware of Ms. Coffinas’ client’s history, and as such knew that he was prone to falling and seizures. Her client also had a history of attempting to get up on his own, making him a high-risk patient for falls and injuries related to falling. Her client fell on two occasions during his time at the rehabilitation center where he did not sustain any injuries. On the third occasion, in March of 2015, her client fell a third time, suffering a serious head injury that caused an intracerebral hemorrhage that required immediate medical attention. The effects of the fall were devastating, and Ms. Coffinas’ client now requires complete care and support.
“Any hope my client had of regaining some of his quality of life is completely gone now. Although it was slow, he was making some progress prior to his injury at the facility, but that progress as well as any hope for future progress has been permanently lost,” Ms. Coffinas said regarding the incident. Her client is now confined to a nursing home where he receives round-the-clock care.
Ms. Coffinas argued that the rehabilitation facility did not do enough to prevent a fall in an individual who was at an extremely elevated risk of falling.
“The facility did not monitor him carefully enough. After his first fall, he was moved closer to the nursing station, but he still suffered a catastrophic fall and resulting brain injury. More could have been done, but it was not,” said Ms. Coffinas.
The defendant in the case made a motion to dismiss the case, claiming that they had “all the appropriate protocols in place” to prevent falls, but the judge sided with Ms. Coffinas’ opposition to the motion and said that the case needed to be decided before a jury. The defendant ultimately settled for $1.5 million.
“I am glad that the judge agreed with our assertion that the case was valid and that we were able to help our client receive compensation for the horrific injuries he sustained. This will not return my client to a condition where physical improvements are possible, but it will help him to receive the care that he now so desperately needs,” Ms. Coffinas said.
To learn more about SPBMC Member Eleni Coffinas and other notable cases she has litigated, click here.