Falling in Hospitals: When is Falling Considered a Legal Claim?
Falling in a medical facility, either as a patient or a visitor, occurs often. Sometimes, patients may fall because of their medical condition. Elderly patients especially are considered high fall risk patients. Visitors may also suffer injuries after a fall due to the medical facility’s conditions. If you were injured in a medical facility after tripping or falling, you may be entitled to compensation. However, it is important to know whether you should be filing a medical malpractice claim or a personal injury claim.
Falling as Medical Malpractice
Most medical malpractice claims involve a clear connection between a medical professional’s negligence and a patient’s injury. Medication errors, diagnostic errors, and surgery errors, some of the most common medical malpractice suits, all involve a medical error that directly harmed a patient. Injuries that are sustained in hospitals after tripping or falling, while common, are not always as clear. In order to determine whether the injuries you sustained from your fall are the result of medical malpractice, there a few basic guidelines to meet.
First, you need to have been a patient or receiving treatment at the time of your fall. Second, your fall needs to have resulted from the medical professional’s failure to meet the medical standard of care. If a medical professional or medical staff failed to provide you with adequate care, they may be liable for your injuries. Some examples of this include:
- Failing to diagnose a condition that affects a patient’s balance
- Failing to inform the patient that their medications might affect their balance
- Failing to recognize that dizziness or instability may be a symptom of a patient’s condition, and failing to warn the patient of that symptom
- Failing to assess that a patient is a high-risk fall patient, meaning that something about their condition makes them prone to tripping and failing, and failing to take proper precautions to prevent any falling injuries
Falling as General Negligence (Personal Injury)
Falls in hospitals, generally speaking, are more commonly filed under personal injury claims. This is because the proof of liability, or showing that the medical facility or a particular staff member is responsible for your injury, is easier to obtain than in a medical malpractice case. Certain conditions in a medical facility can lead to trips or falls, including:
- Puddles or slippery substances left on the floor without a warning signs
- Poorly maintained floors, such as having loose rugs, uneven floorboards, or broken steps on staircases
- Poor lighting
All of these situations would fall under a premises liability claim. This claim recognizes that premises, such as medical facilities, have a responsibility to keep their property safe for visitors. If visitors, or patients, are injured as a result of their inability to create a safe environment, then the facility is responsible for those injuries.
How We Can Help
While some falls may not result in serious injuries, some people may suffer from broken bones, concussions, sprains, or worse. If you have fallen in a medical facility and sustained any serious injuries, and you believe you may qualify for either a medical malpractice or personal injury claim, contact us today. We can help you understand your legal rights and determine the best possible options to ensure you and your family get the help you deserve. At The Brothers Law Firm, we understand your pain and frustration during this time of need. We have represented numerous clients who have suffered serious health problems due to tripping or falling. To get started, fill out our online form to request a free consultation or call us at 281-491-3635.