$1,000,000 Settlement Against Home for the Aged for Failing to Secure Stairwell Doors to Keep Residents Safe

The defendant, a licensed home for the aged/assisted living facility, failed to lock, alarm, or monitor the doors to the stairwells in the building, resulting in an 86-year-old resident entering the stairwell, unnoticed by staff, and falling down the stairs in her wheelchair. The resident was not found until an hour later; she was on the landing of the stairwell in a pool of blood with her wheelchair on top of her.

The assisted living facility markets itself to seniors with memory care impairment. The average age in the facility is 88 years old, and all the residents in the facility have memory impairment. The residents are not allowed to use the stairwells because the stairs are unsafe, but the doors are not locked, alarmed, or monitored.

The resident who fell down the stairwell suffered a traumatic brain injury and pelvic fractures. She was admitted to the hospital and later placed in hospice. She died 19 days after the incident. The resident had no surviving family members but a will that left her estate to charity.

The defense argued that the plaintiff’s power of attorney should have moved her to the memory care unit prior to the incident.

Donna MacKenzie and Emily Peacock secured a $1,000,000 settlement to resolve this matter. In addition to financial compensation, the facility agreed to secure the stairwell doors to protect other residents from injury in the future.