I’m not advocating lawsuits against our senior citizens, but this story in the Chicago Tribune sounds exactly like a situation that happened recently at a Dallas assisted living facility. The victim in Dallas was seriously injured. Perhaps facilities should conduct training courses for residents who use motorized wheelchairs. Those devices can move pretty fast, and they carry a lot of weight. Getting hit by one would be painful even for a young person, and could be literally fatal for an elderly person.
If attorney Fred Benjamin had his way, all facilities that allow people to use motorized wheelchairs would also implement a certain set of safety measures — speed limits, crosswalks and traffic monitors.
The Chicago lawyer said he is representing two clients who allege they were injured being run down by the electric contraptions because safety precautions were not taken. In the most current case, which Benjamin filed last week in Cook County Circuit Court, an 84-year-old woman says she was exiting the dining room at her senior living center on Sept. 17, 2009, when a resident in a motorized wheelchair plowed into her at full speed.
Emma Jean Conner was left with a broken leg and hip, which required surgery, Benjamin said.
Conner’s lawsuit alleges that her living center, Victory Centre of Roseland LLC, and its parent company, Pathway Senior Living LLC, failed to properly care for and supervise residents when they allowed residents to move “at a speed that was too fast and that endangered other patients.”
“They allow these people in motorized chairs to just fly through,” Benjamin said, adding that he is representing another client in a similar case against Jewel-Osco. “There needs to be people to monitor them, to keep control.”
Aaron D’Costa, chief business development officer for Pathway Senior Living, declined to comment on the lawsuit Tuesday but said the company is reviewing its practices.
“We have looked to see what we can do operationally to help improve the interaction between residents,” D’Costa said.
Conner is asking for an unspecified amount of money.