Slipping and falling in a hospital can occur whether you are a patient in the hospital or visiting someone who is recuperating. Just like other slip and fall accidents, those that occur in hospitals can be dangerous, leading to broken bones, neck and back injuries as well as traumatic brain injuries that require extensive treatment. When the fall happens because the hospital was negligent or due to medical malpractice, you may be eligible for a claim against the hospital.
In a recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study looking at slip, trip, and fall (STF) in three acute care hospitals, the majority (23.6%) of STF-related workers’ compensation injury claims were caused by contact with liquid contamination: water, body or cleaning fluid, grease, floor wax, and slick or slippery spots. Similarly, in our NIOSH study of nursing care facilities5, the majority (36%) of STF-related workers’ compensation injury claims were caused by contact with liquid contamination. Another study analyzed STF-related injury data from six governmental and one industrial injury surveillance systems in the United States, United Kingdom, and Sweden to isolate the contribution of slipperiness to STF injuries. Slipperiness or slipping was found to contribute to between 40% and 50% of fall-related injuries. Slipperiness was more often a factor in same-level falls than in falls to lower levels.
If you were injured in a fall while a patient at the hospital, you may be eligible for a medical malpractice claim if the medical providers failed to provide you with proper medical standard of care. Some of the circumstances that could lead to a medical malpractice claim include multiple medications prescribed that caused you to be unsteady on your feet, leading to a fall or a misdiagnosis that leads to a lack of proper safety equipment being installed on beds or chairs. Medical professionals must also assess a patient’s falling risk and if they fail to do so, could be liable for any injuries sustained after the patient falls.
If you are visiting a patient in the hospital and suffer a fall, you may be eligible for a premises liability claim. However, you will need to prove that the hospital was negligent in some way. If you slipped on water that was spilled in a hallway, for example, the hospital may be determined negligent if the water had been reported to a staff member but never cleaned. Even patients may be eligible for premises liability claims if their slip and fall was related to hospital negligence, such as a broken floor tile or wire stretched across a room without being secured.
Differences Between Malpractice and Negligence
Under medical malpractice, you will need to prove that the standard of care was inappropriate and demonstrate how the healthcare professional caused your injury due to the lack of standard care. In addition, you will need to show that you suffered damages as a result of the injury. In most medical malpractice cases, experts are often consulted to determine whether the hospital acted inappropriately. In a negligence case, however, experts are often not needed as you need only prove that the hospital failed to properly maintain the hospital or follow standard safety guidelines.
If you or a loved one has been injured after falling at a hospital, contact the slip and fall attorneys at AZ Hometown Law Firm today to learn whether you are eligible for a medical malpractice or other type of claim. You can arrange for your initial consultation by calling (602)-495-1005.
CREDIT: Relias Media