People generally think of hospitals as safe places where patients recover from illnesses, injuries, or surgery. Hospital staff has a responsibility to protect patients from hazards, but accidents do happen. Some of these are unavoidable.
However, sometimes doctors or hospital staff make careless, negligent mistakes that permanently change lives. Medicine is not an exact science. Not even a routine procedure is safe from complications. It’s possible for doctors to do everything right, following procedural rules to the letter, and still fail to improve a patient’s status. Other times, like in slip and fall accidents, the hospital staff may be to blame.
Hospital Slip and Fall Accidents
Foot traffic, liquid supplies, bodily fluids, and careless clutter can all result in slip and fall accidents in hospital rooms and hallways. Any injuries sustained from these incidents are unlikely to be labeled as medical malpractice, unless your fall occurred during or as part of your treatment. If, for example, you’re visiting a loved one in the hospital and you slip and fall in the hospital cafeteria, you may still be able to file a suit because all property owners can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property.
Most of the falls that occur in hospitals don’t take place in hallways or cafeterias, however. They happen when patients are getting in and out of bed. Most doctors and nurses will advise patients to stay in bed to avoid this very thing. When it can’t be avoided, hospital staff should be aware of which patients may need help getting in and out of bed and which should be provided with restraints.
requirements for a
Medical Malpractice Claim
The establishment of a doctor-patient relationship. This means the doctor was hired and agreed to provide treatment. You can’t file medical malpractice charges against a medical professional you spoke to in the hospital cafeteria (unless he or she was in fact your doctor). It’s easy to prove the existence of a physician-patient relationship if you signed up for the doctor’s services and he or she treated you.
Physician negligence. This is not as easy to establish. Just because your treatment was ineffectual doesn’t mean your doctor or physician was carelessly negligent or behaved improperly. Whether the doctor was reasonably skillful and careful is often be the main focus of malpractice claims. This is determined by comparison to a hypothetical competent doctor. To be negligent, a doctor must deviate from the appropriate standard of care.
Negligence caused the injury or illness. Many malpractice cases start with patients who are already sick or injured, so it can be difficult to determine if a doctor’s negligence is to blame for deterioration or decline in a patient’s health. This gets even more complicated when a patient is critically ill; if someone dies after receiving treatment for lung cancer, is malpractice or terminal illness to blame? To sue for malpractice, a patient should show it is “more likely than not” that their physician’s incompetence caused illness or injury. Proving this might require testimony from another medical expert.
Injury or illness led to specific damages. Even when a doctor is found to be negligent, a lawsuit isn’t a sure thing. A patient can’t sue for malpractice if no harm was done. Patients can sue for physical pain, additional medical bills, mental anguish, and lost work. If a doctor’s mistake doesn’t cause any of these, a lawsuit might not stand up in court.
Hiring a Hospital Injuries Attorney
Hospital Injury and Medical Malpractice lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming. Because being found guilty of malpractice will often end a doctor’s career, a lawsuit will be met with heavy firepower. Physicians accused of negligence will fight tooth and nail to keep their reputations intact, so hospital injuries attorneys have to use extensive knowledge of the law to win cases.
Before filing a lawsuit, you might ask the following questions: Is your case important enough to file? Are you certain you’ll win? But these aren’t questions you need to answer yourself. A hospital injuries attorney can provide guidance in an initial consultation.
6940 O St, Suite 400
Lincoln, NE 68510
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. © All Rights Reserved.