When someone slips and falls due to no fault of their own, they will have the right to seek compensation from the liable party. The potential liability as well as the actual type of claim to file can become complicated, though, depending on the setting in which the accident occurred. In particular, if a patient or visitor slips and falls while in a hospital, will the resulting claim be best categorized as a premises liability suit, or one of medical malpractice?
It is actually not common for a slip and fall case in a hospital to be considered a form of medical malpractice, despite the medical setting of the incident. Medical malpractice only occurs when a medical provider fails to give a patient medical care that meets accepted standards, and that failure results in an injury. As most incidents of trip or slip and fall accidents are not clearly related to a doctor-patient relationship, they should not be considered medical malpractice.
There are exceptions, though. If a patient slips and falls in a hospital or clinic after being given medication that makes them unbalanced, for example, it could be considered medical malpractice, especially if their medical provider did not warn them about that side effect. Furthermore, a patient on such medication in a hospital should be under supervision to prevent them from walking around and hurting themselves.
A premises liability case occurs when a property owner or controller fails to provide a reasonably safe space for guests, visitors, patients, clients, etc. If a patient steps on a bit of loose medical equipment or slips on wet floor without a warning sign, then it would be considered a premises liability matter. Hospital staff all have the responsibility to make certain there are no trip hazards and clean them up in a short amount of time if any appear. This is the same duty of care owed by retail workers and homeowners but applied to a medical center.
Attorney Wes Pittman of The Pittman Firm, P.A. has more than three decades of legal experience managing premises liability, medical malpractice, and other types of injury claims. If you slipped, fell, and suffered an injury while in a hospital or medical clinic, you can call his firm at (850) 764-0383 to discuss the details of your accident. Using his extensive knowledge and insight, he can help decide if the matter is a premises liability or medical malpractice claim, and take appropriate action from there. Contact his Florida personal injury law firm at your first opportunity to schedule a no-cost case evaluation.