We go to the hospital to heal, but in some cases, incidents at hospitals can harm us instead of heal us. When you are harmed in a hospital due to a medical error, such as a surgery mistake or medication mistake, it seems clear that you have been a victim of medical malpractice. But when you are harmed in a hospital due to a fall, who is to blame, and do you have a legal case to pursue?
In this post, we will take a closer look at the legal implications of a slip and fall accident in a hospital or medical facility.
Hospital Falls: Personal Injury Claim or Medical Malpractice Claim?
If your fall in a hospital was due to the negligence of someone else, you may be owed compensation for damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, it is important to understand what type of claim to file.
You should file a medical malpractice claim if you were a patient at the time of your accident and if your fall was in any way related to your medical treatment. For example, your fall would require a medical malpractice claim if:
- You fell because of a medication error. Some patients are given the wrong medication, the wrong dose of a medication, or a dangerous combination of medications. All of these errors could lead to a fall and injury.
- You fell because of a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. One of the most common types of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. Missing an important medical condition or disease could result in a serious fall.
- You fell because of a mistake in your medical care plan. When you are at the hospital, your medical chart and information should flag if you are a fall risk and if you need help with walking, dressing, and other activities. If your fall took place because you were not getting the proper care, you may have a medical malpractice case.
- You fell because a doctor or nurse was not following protocol. If you fell while a doctor or nurse was examining you, or when you were being moved or bathed, it may be because a medical professional was not helping you in the correct manner. This, too, could be considered a medical malpractice claim.
You should file a traditional personal injury claim if your fall and subsequent injury was due to something other than your medical treatment, although another party’s negligence was still responsible for your injury and related damages. For example, your fall may result in a personal injury claim if:
- You fell in a hospital but were not a patient. If you fall and are not currently being treated by a medical professional, you are most probably not the victim of medical malpractice, though you could still be a victim of negligence.
- You fell because of a poorly maintained property. If the hospital or medical facility was not properly maintained, you probably need to file a premises liability claim, not a medical malpractice claim. For example, if you fell because of a wet floor, a loose rug, poor lighting, or the lack of a warning sign, you do not have a medical malpractice case.
In general, a medical malpractice case is based upon whether a medical professional met a certain standard of care, while a personal injury case is based upon whether or not a party took a reasonable amount of care to keep others safe. The best way to determine whether you may have a claim, as well as what kind of claim you have, is to talk to an experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer in West Virginia.