Going into a hospital should be a relatively simple matter. If you are going to visit a family member or friend, you would assume that the visit would be easy, and no risk on your part. You should be able to simply walk in and either receive treatment, or know that your safety, and the safety of the patient in question you are going to visit is also of the utmost importanceThe same goes for those that are patients at the hospital as well. If you are admitted into the hospital, you should feel safe and secure, as the hospital is supposed to be a place of healing, and improvement.
Although a hospital is known for its safety and recuperation, many do have their fair share of issues. Complications and accidents can occur on site, and incidents may sometimes go unnoticed. One such type of accident is the slip and fall accidents, where you may end up sustaining heavy injuries due to a fault of the hospital. If this occurs, you need to look to get reimbursement for your injuries and complications that were a result of the hospital's negligence.
The question, though, is: is that even possible? Can you even sue a hospital? To understand this issue, we need to understand what a slip and fall injury is.
What is a Slip and Fall Injury?
So what constitutes a slip and fall, and how is it classified? A slip in fall, by definition, is when an injury is sustained by either losing your footing, or being tripped up by an object or situation that is not standard in that specific situation. This can be caused by many different forms, from loose floorboards, to a spill not being cleaned up. If this occurs, the person or company that is in charge, or has responsibility for the establishment, will usually be held accountable if the cause can be connected to them.
When can it be charged to Hospitals?
It can be difficult to get a hospital to admit that a slip and fall incident is because of them. This is so difficult, that many slip and fall cases are classified as “Never Events”. This title indicates that the incident should practically never occur under their supervision.
The primary way a hospital can be liable and charged with a slip and fall incident is if the hospital can be linked to the cause of the incident. For instance, if the hospital staff were informed of a spill or puddle that had built up due to a leaky pipe in the walls, and failed to clean it up in a timely manner, then they would be liable for negligence.
On a more serious note, if a slip and fall incident is tied to a medical diagnosis or decision then the doctor could be charged with medical malpractice. Such reasons can include a prescription of medications causing a patient to black out as a side effect, or for them to become unstable on their feet.
Why Negligence and Medical Malpractice Matter for Causation
Although it may seem like the descriptions of negligence and medical malpractice are just there to help identify an issue, their importance is much more significant. Depending on your situation, as well as who is involved, escalating or de-escalating a case from one to the other could mean your claim and lawsuit going through the courts, or it being abandoned.
Negligence is the softer of the two options. In this case, you were either in the wrong place at the wrong time inside the hospital, or it was just a very unfortunate situation. In these cases, the claim will be smaller, and the amount of damages that you are able to claim will be more short-term related. Since negligence is seen as more indirect causation, the lawsuit will be aimed more at the hospital in general, and not a specific person or group.
Medical malpractice is a much more direct, but difficult, path to take. Since a medical malpractice lawsuit deals with a specific doctor or attendant, the impact and causation will usually be quite clear if it is established. If a doctor or attendant is seen as being a direct cause of the slip and fall, the claims can be both short-term and long-term. Ailments may also be recurring, which if tied to the slip and fall, can also be paid out in the future.
Who should you contact?
If you feel like you have a case against a hospital, the road will be long and treacherous. Make sure not to traverse that road alone, as the hospital will try to siphon any chance out of you to not have to pay out the settlement.
Contact and hire an experienced medical attorney. Having an experienced legal representative will ensure you aren't swindled or caught in any loopholes. They will also be able to help you understand the legal jargon and situations that might present themselves to you.
Remember, you deserve to be covered, and to be taken care of. Do not settle for less.