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Is It Medical Malpractice If I Fall in the Hospital?

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Whenever a patient is harmed while receiving treatment, the patient may have a right to some type of compensation. However, depending on the details of the incident, it may be difficult to determine whether or not you have a medical malpractice case or a premises liability case.

For example, what if you fell at the hospital? It could be a medical malpractice case if your nurse refused to help you from your bed to the bathroom, causing you to fall. It could be a premises liability case if you slipped and fell on some spilled IV fluid that wasn’t properly marked or cleaned up.

How can you know for sure which type of case you have? First, you have to understand the definitions of premises liability and medical malpractice.

Premises Liability vs. Medical Malpractice

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Medical malpractice is when a medical professional provides treatment that is substandard and causes harm, injury, or death to their patient. In these cases, you will typically need to prove that the doctor’s action or lack of action was below the reasonable standard of care and that their negligence directly caused your injury.

For example, you might see this in a case where a doctor accidentally cuts into the wrong organ during surgery or prescribes a mixture of pills that don’t react well together. If you can argue that the doctor didn’t adhere to accepted standards of healthcare practice and that their negligence directly resulted in injury, you might have a case of medical malpractice.

Premises liability, on the other hand, is when the property owner or landowner is responsible for an injury that occurred there. In a hospital setting, this would likely be the case for a patient who is injured further when he slips and falls on a wet floor that is not properly marked with caution signs, or any other issue with the actual premises more so than the actual healthcare practice.

Why You Need to Know the Difference

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It’s easy to think that it doesn’t matter, that any compensation for the pain is good enough, but it is truly so important to be able to distinguish between these two different types of cases when making your claim. There are many different factors that enter into the case, and each factor is directly affected by the type of claim. Some factors might include:

  • Which carrier and insurance coverage is applicable (general insurance or medical malpractice insurance)?
  • Should the case pass through a medical review panel?
  • Are there limits to the damage that can be recovered based on the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act?
  • What type of discovery should be conducted?
  • Are the patient’s previous medical notes relevant?

These are just a few of thousands of questions that make it important to know which kind of claim you have if you suffer an injury at a healthcare facility. The law is confusing, and when you are in pain, you shouldn’t have to figure everything out on your own. Call Hensley Legal Group today to set up a free consultation or contact us online.