Fall From Wheelchair In Van Death

Case Type: Wrongful Death
Settlement: $600,000
Location: Wayne County Circuit Court
Date of Settlement: January 17, 2017

Facts of the Case

A 95-year-old assisted living resident was being transported in a facility van to a medical appointment with her eye doctor. She was ambulatory with a walker but used a wheelchair when being transported in a van or for locations that required a longer walking distance. The resident paid extra money to the facility for transportation to and from medical appointments.
On October 13, 2015, the resident was placed in the van by an employee of the facility. The employee was also the driver of the van. The driver failed to properly secure the wheelchair in the van.

The driver then left the facility parking lot and drove on a busy roadway. When the vehicle came to an abrupt stop, the resident’s wheelchair tipped and she fell backwards striking her head on the floor. She suffered a brain bleed and left sided paralysis.

The resident required hospitalization and was then transferred to a number of rehabilitation facilities. She was never able to walk again and spent the next six months confined to a bed in a skilled nursing care facility. She eventually passed away due to the accident-related injuries.

Types of Injuries and Harm Suffered:

  • Brain bleed
  • Left-sided paralysis
  • Other Types of Damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disability from normal activities
  • Medical expenses

Legal Issues in the Case

  • Was the driver negligent for failing to properly secure the resident’s wheelchair in the van?
  • Was the fall a proximate cause of the resident’s death?
  • What was the appropriate settlement for the pain and suffering prior to her death?
  • What was the appropriate settlement for the loss of society and companionship of the five surviving adult children?

What We Did To Win The Settlement

We obtained the police report and the initial hospital records. We opened a probate court estate and then filed a civil lawsuit in the Wayne County Circuit Court. After the lawsuit was filed, the deposition of the personal representative was taken and the video deposition of the resident was taken at her nursing home. We obtained all of the post-accident medical records and reports and then attended a facilitative mediation with the other party.

After two mediations, the parties were able to agree on a settlement of $ 600,000.00 for the estate. We then requested a court hearing to obtain approval of the judge for the settlement and to distribute the settlement money.

image