Hospitals and other health care settings are meant to provide a safe, clean environment for patients to receive the medical treatment they need. Because of the populations served in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and nursing homes, property owners and managers often have to take greater care to provide a safe environment than they would in a private home, office, or retail setting.
If you suffer an injury, such as a slip or a fall, while staying in a medical facility, you could be entitled to seek compensation for your damages. In many cases, slip and fall cases are premises liability cases, but in certain scenarios, they can be medical malpractice cases.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is the responsibility of a property owner to protect visitors from harm by removing any potentially hazardous conditions on the property. When a hazardous condition cannot be removed as soon as it is discovered, the property owner must warn visitors about the hazard by clearly marking it as such. For example, the property owner might put down a “wet floor” sign on a spill or use yellow caution tape to rope off a specific area within a building.
When a victim is injured by a hazardous condition that a property owner should have know to remove, but did not remove, the property owner may be liable for the victim’s damages.
Was my Fall Due to Medical Malpractice or Simply Due to Negligence?
If you suffer a fall in a medical setting because of another party’s negligence, is it an act of medical malpractice?
Maybe. Whether your case falls into the realm of medical malpractice or premises liability depends on the type of negligence that occurred. Let us say that you fell because you were prescribed medication that could cause you to become dizzy or lose your balance without being properly warned of these potential side effects. In this case, your claim would be a medical malpractice claim. Another example of a fall due to medical negligence would be if you had suffered a stroke, but received an inaccurate diagnosis and thus not received the proper treatment, which could include a bed with safety rails and supervision. In both of these scenarios, the negligent act was on the part of a physician and could have been prevented by following the proper standard of care.
When a patient falls because of a slippery floor or a lack of adequate handrails in a medical facility, he or she would file a premises liability claim. This is because the negligence was not on the part of a physician, but on the part of the party responsible for maintaining a safe environment within the facility.
Work with an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you are facing substantial expenses because of an injury sustained in a slip or fall in a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or hospital, consider working with an experienced lawyer to pursue monetary compensation for these expenses. Contact Baizer Kolar, P.C. today to schedule your free legal consultation with a member of our team, who can help you determine whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice claim or for a premises liability claim, and what to do in either scenario.