Hospital accidents can happen without warning, and in many different scenarios and situations. Having these situations befall you as a possible patient can lead to severe harm, especially if you are in a current frail state physically. These events can ride the fine line of a potential legal claim, with a simple accident extending your hospital stay.
One such type of hospital accident is known as a “Slip and Fall” event. These can be dangerous for multiple reasons, both physically and legally. With how easily they can occur, as well as how seemingly simple and unrelated they can be, you may find yourself victim to such an event any time you visit a hospital. If you are caught in a Slip and Fall event, it is important to know how to defend yourself and gain proper compensation for the accident.
What is a Slip and Fall?
So, what exactly is a Hospital Slip and Fall accident? True to the name, it is an accident that occurs when someone that is in the hospital slips within the hospital grounds, and injures themselves. This can be due to any number of reasons, from the floor being slick from just being mopped, to remnants of dropped hospital equipment by an unaware nurse. No matter the reason, it is still a slip and fall accident.
These can have serious effects depending on the situation. They can range from simple bruises and scratches, to full blown broken bones, neck and back injuries, or even brain injuries that may require extensive help and recovery.
Who can get Injured?
Although it may seem like people that are current patients at the hospital in question are the only ones that are able to be considered for a Slip and Fall case, that is not the case. The injured can be someone that is a current patient at the hospital in question, someone that is at the hospital visiting a patient, or even someone that is currently there for a business meeting or gathering.
This extends to anyone, young or old. There is no age limit on a possible case of a slip and fall injury.
Difference in Cases
Depending on what your status is with the hospital, different case types may arise. The status of which you are in at a hospital are positions such as visitor or patient. For instance, if you are simply a visitor at the hospital, and you were to happen to slip and fall, you would have a chance at claiming negligence by the hospital. For these to be given thought, the person injured by the fall would need to prove that the fall was indeed due to negligence on the side of the hospital. Some examples of negligence would be a spill in the hallway not being properly cleaned, or an unsecured piece of wiring that was not reported to staff.
A patient may also be eligible for a negligence claim if the slip and fall was due to the hospital's problems and lack of attentiveness. However, there may also be the possibility of a malpractice claim if the fall was due to improper care by the medical staff at the hospital. Some examples of this scenario would be a misdiagnosis of a problem that leads to a lack of proper medical equipment being provided, or cases of multiple medications being improperly prescribed which, when taken at the same time, can lead to dizziness or unsteadiness on their feet. If the development can be linked to any improper medical diagnosis by medical staff, then there is potential for a malpractice lawsuit to be claimed.
Hospital Rebuttals and a “Never Event”
Even if you have a Slip and Fall accident at a hospital, however, there is the chance that your case may be labeled as a “Never Event”. Never Event Slip and Falls in a hospital come about when an accident occurs and there was sufficient evidence to suggest that a fall might occur. Most medical facilities will claim that there was sufficient evidence of prior knowledge that the falls were preventable and confirmed, such as adequate signs and proper warning labels in and around the hospital grounds.
Due to this, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) of the United States tends to label patient falls within hospitals as “Never Events”, meaning that they should never happen if staff of the hospital follow all of the fall risk protocols and other such precautionary steps.
Why is this Important?
The importance of understanding the definition of a “Never Event” can be the deciding factor in whether or not a fall in a hospital results in a claim of negligence against the hospital, or if a malpractice claim against the hospital goes through. The clue is in the wording, as understanding the definition and situations that arise for a “Never Event” to be classified can help you figure out if your case would even have leverage and proper footing to be put through to a court room.
If you feel like your slip and fall at a hospital falls under a negligence or malpractice reason, make sure to reach out and contact an experienced lawyer to assist you in your case.