A patient can be badly hurt in a fall in the hospital. Injuries from falling can exacerbate the preexisting condition, or it can cause a whole new set of health problems. Depending on the circumstances of the patient’s injury, negligence could be to blame.
A falling incident could be a “slip and fall” injury or a medical malpractice issue. Falls that are unrelated to a patient’s condition – such as slipping on a wet floor that lacked adequate warnings – usually involve a personal injury issue rather than medical malpractice.
On the other hand, a patient’s fall could be the result of a medical care provider’s carelessness. Causes of an inpatient fall that may involve malpractice include:
- Side effects from multiple medications prescribed to the patient at once
- Failure to diagnose a condition involving confusion or reduced mobility and failure to subsequently protect the patient with bed rails and/or supervision
- Failure to assess a patient as being at high risk for falling and taking appropriate action
For an inpatient fall to be a medical malpractice issue, the following factors must apply to the situation:
- There was an established doctor-patient relationship when the fall occurred or the negligent act that led to the fall occurred
- The health care provider’s treatment did not meet the medical standard of care under the circumstances
- The provider’s sub-standard care played a role in the fall
Slip and fall lawsuits are very different from medical malpractice lawsuits. The latter will likely require the testimony of a qualified medical expert to establish the standard of care and how the provider failed to meet it, and as a result, how the patient was harmed or the condition was worsened as a result of the fall. In contrast, a slip and fall lawsuit requires proof of liability in terms of the facility’s failure to keep the premises safe from slip and fall hazards.
It’s important to contact a law firm right away if you or a family member was badly injured in a fall in the hospital. Anapol Weiss has experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers as well as experienced slip and fall lawyers. Both legal teams are highly qualified to speak with you about the situation and what you can do to obtain justice. Contact our firm for assistance.