Slip and fall accidents in hospitals are more common that you think. They happen not only to admitted patients but also to people who are visiting the hospital. Most of these accidents occur due to risky hospital conditions and other environmental factors.
When these accidents result in severe injuries, a legal complaint may soon follow. However, the lawsuit filed will depend on what caused the incident and other factors surrounding the event. This article will discuss what happens if you slip and fall in a hospital.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Hospitals
On any given day, you’ll find hospitals bustling with patients, relatives, workers, and visitors. Despite the busy environment, medical facilities have to continuously make sure the facility is sterile, spotless, and germ-free. It’s the hospital’s responsibility to ensure a safe atmosphere while maintaining cleanliness.
However, anyone can succumb to a slip and fall accident. This can be a result of any of the following:
- Dimly Lit Patient Rooms & Hallways: Sometimes, a patient room may have poor lighting that may cause the individual not to see an extra step or an upward slope on the floor. This scenario can lead to a slip and fall accident.
- Broken Pavement: People entering and exiting the hospital can get injured when there are gaps, holes, cracks, or uneven pavements and walkways. This situation is hazardous for individuals using walkers, wheelchairs, and canes.
- Unsafe wires & carpets: When there are mats or rugs not appropriately fastened on the floor, it can be a hazard to people passing in the area. A person can fall or trip on the bunch-up or lumpy corners. At the same time, people with wheelchairs or walkers can get stuck in the unsecured carpeting.
- Slippery Floor: Part of the cleaning process of hospital floors is to sanitize and wax them on a regular basis. However, some accidents are due to wet floors or the wax produced a slippery surface.
The elements above are only some of the examples that may cause slip and fall accidents in a hospital. When these incidents happen, it can result in an individual suffering an injury. To know the common injuries encountered by people in these accidents, you may review this article.
Legal Implications of Slip and Falls in Hospitals
Some of the consequences of slip and fall accidents are broken hips, back, and neck injuries that will involve intensive therapy. Besides undergoing treatment, people who suffered in these accidents may file either a premises liability or medical malpractice claim. The two lawsuits have a significant difference in how the case progresses and the indemnity you can receive.
Note though, whether you’re filing a medical malpractice or premises liability claim, it’s best to prepare a slip and fall incident report before seeking legal assistance. This way, you can correctly outline the specific details of the incident. Below you’ll find the distinction between these two legal areas.
In this situation, a court may determine medical malpractice if the patient involved in the accident is undergoing treatment during the time the incident happened. Furthermore, a healthcare provider or a facility must have given medical therapy regarded as sub-standard care that may have been the cause of the fall.
One example of a patient fall portraying medical malpractice is ‘Polypharmacy.’ The term means multiple medicines were issued to the patient at a given time. Because of this scenario, the side effects lead to the patient being unstable and causing a fall.
On the other hand, premises liability means the hospital where the slip and fall accident occurred is liable for your injury. If you’re a relative of a patient admitted to the hospital and you took a fall while visiting, you may qualify for a premises liability claim for the injuries you suffered from the incident.
When filing a premises liability claim, you’ll have to establish that the medical facility was negligent, resulting in your injury. For instance, you fell in a hallway with water on the floor. The court may find the hospital negligent if, for example, someone reported the water spill to the Housekeeping department, but they didn’t take any action to clean it.
In case you or a family member suffered an injury inside a hospital due to a slip and fall incident, avoid wasting time determining whether the incident is a premises liability or a medical malpractice case.
Consult a legal professional immediately about your situation. Discuss how the accident happened and determine your available legal options.