When a patient falls in a hospital setting, a medical malpractice claim is indeed a possible recourse. However, medical malpractice is not always applicable when a patient falls. Sometimes a personal injury claim based on ordinary negligence is the only course to follow.
Basically, the circumstance surrounding the incident are the determining factor. Like any other situation when someone slips or falls due to unsafe conditions, a patient who is injured in a hospital setting that is unsafe may be eligible for compensation resulting from a slip and fall personal injury claim.
Certain conditions must first be met when pursing a personal injury claim resulting from an inpatient fall based on this legal theory. In this case, the patient's fall and resulting injuries do not stem from the patient's condition and/or course of treatment. For example, if a patient is admitted into a hospital for treatment for cardiac arrest and while walking to the restroom, slips on a puddle of standing water left behind after a maintenance worker mopped the area, the patient likely has a case for the standard “slip and fall” personal injury claim and not medical malpractice.
The distinction between the two claims is important because of the way one proves each claim, and the way the Court views your case. If the patient above files a medical malpractice personal injury claim and the legal benchmarks for that claim is are not met, the claim will be denied. That does not mean that the hospital does not have a legal responsibility to compensate the patient for their injuries. It just means that that responsibility is not based on the claim presented, medical malpractice.
The basis for your claim is as important as the damages you are seeking. If the basis for you claim is not accurate, even though you are owed damages, your claim will be denied.
That is why it is very important to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the distinctions between these kinds of claims so that time, energy and money are not wasted pursing a claim that is inaccurate, only to have to start the process all over again once denied.
The fact is that both medical malpractice and slip and fall legal theories may apply in the above example if the patient was in no condition to walk and hospital staff permitted them to walk to the bathroom and the floor was also unsafe.
If filing a personal injury claim based solely on medical malpractice without examining unsafe conditions that were also at play, the plaintiff my have left damages they were entitled to on the table. Conversely, if they had filed only a slip and fall personal injury claim based on unsafe conditions, damages from a medical malpractice claim could also be left behind.
If you or a loved one is injured as a result of an inpatient fall, seek the counsel of the skilled attorneys of Panio Law Offices in Chicago. We have a wealth of experience pursing personal injury damages in cases like these. We fight assiduously to recover the highest awards to which our clients are eligible and understand the intricacies of Illinois personal injury law. We will fight hard for you. Call us at (708) 928-8680 We can help.