Patients or visiting friends or family can fall on hospital grounds and suffer an injury. Whether such fall is a medical malpractice or ordinary negligence has always been a bone of contention among various cases in courts of law. However, there are some procedural guidelines required in determining whether a fall is a medical negligence or a more traditional slip and fall lawsuit. Additionally, the cause of your fall and the circumstances surrounding the incident are vital determinants for a case to be classified as a medical negligence.
What Renders A Hospital Case As Medical Negligence?
Lawsuits for patients have in some instances become complicated, and the jurisdiction in most States has to some extent had to ask for a detailed opinion from a medical expert witness. The detailed opinion that is offered by the medical expert witness includes crucial information such as:
- The correct standard of care under the circumstances: the proper way as to how the doctor and the hospital should have taken care of the injured person.
- Causation or the correlation between how the hospital and the doctors failed to provide sufficient treatment to the injured person that led to his/her slipping and falling.
- The report of the damages; how the patient was injured or made worse after the fall.
Other Court Ruling Considerations
With the above-detailed opinion, there are other considerations that the court analyzes to determine whether your claim constitutes a medical negligence or not. These considerations include:
- Whether the patient suffered an injury at the time and place they were receiving medical care so as to determine that they were actually under the facility or the doctor’s protection.
- Whether the alleged negligence was based on safety standards of the health care facility or not.
- Whether the alleged negligence occurred in the course of the doctor or the facility taking action or failing to take the action.
- Whether the claimant was providing or receiving health care at the time, the fall occurred.
- Whether the claimant was seeking or receiving medical care at the time of the fall.
Proven Medical Negligence Circumstances
A fall constitutes medical negligence or malpractice when an injured person was receiving medical treatment at the time of the fall in the course of a doctor-patient relationship.
In a nutshell, the healthcare provider or the doctor in the medical facility should be held responsible for the available proof that fell short of the required medical standard of care under the circumstances. Additionally, that lack of standard medical care should have played a part in causing a fall that led to your injuries.
Some of the good examples of cases that can be constituted as medical negligence include:
- Failure To Determine That A Patient Is At High Risk Of Falling
The health care facility should be held accountable for failing to assist or prevent a fall from occurring in a patient who was at high risk of falling. When a patient complains of light-headedness or dizziness, the facility should take precautionary measures to prevent a fall. Other cases that the healthcare facility should be concerned to prevent a fall include dehydration or arthritis.
- Failure To Correctly Diagnose Or Misdiagnosis
When the doctor fails to diagnose a condition that could result in a limited mobility, confusion or lack of stability such as stroke or even an epileptic condition. A fall can happen when the facility fails to place such a patient in a bed with adequate rail or was left unattended.
This is a medical situation where a patient is prescribed with multiple medications which could result in unsteadiness to a patient and cause a fall. Doctors and the facilities should always take precautionary measures to prevent a fall to such a patient.
Recognizing A Premises Liability
When a fall in a healthcare facility does not constitute medical negligence, it is classified as an ordinary negligence just like a fall in any other place such as a sidewalk. In this circumstance, the fall is completely unrelated to the patient’s condition or the course of their medical treatment. A good example is a case in which a patient is receiving treatment for a broken arm then falls on a wet floor caused by leaking water pipes in a hospital facility. Such a case will be considered an ordinary negligence or premise liability as a result of the unsafe condition that led to the fall.