Patient Falls at Hospitals
Typically, patients go to hospitals to treat a chronic or acute illness or undergo a diagnostic or surgical procedure. In many instances, their mental or physical status is altered, which places them at a greater risk of falling. Hospitals should be aware of such risks and implement measures to reduce the likelihood of patient injuries. Still, they do not always adhere to their protocols, and patients may fall and suffer harm as a result. If you were hurt in a fall at a hospital, you could be owed compensation and should speak to an attorney. The Boca Raton medical malpractice lawyers at The Grife Law Firm can pursue claims based on patient falls at hospitals.Preventing Patient Falls
Falls are a known risk for many patients and constitute one of the primary reasons for injuries in hospitals. Patient falls at hospitals are preventable, though, and generally should not occur if hospitals take certain steps to prevent them. Specifically, hospitals should develop and enact protocols to avoid falls. A fall prevention plan should include determining whether a patient has a condition or is taking medications that make a fall more likely. It should also involve safety measures that prevent falls, such as assistance and supervision for patients who present fall risks, assistive devices, railings on beds, and restraints if necessary. If a hospital does not have a fall prevention plan or fails to abide by the plan, patients can suffer falls. Many falls cause critical injuries, including broken bones, hematomas, traumatic brain injuries, and internal bleeding.Proving Liability Following a Patient Fall at a Hospital
Multiple parties may be responsible if a patient falls at a hospital and suffers injuries. For example, the nurse or doctor accountable for ensuring a patient’s safety and the hospital may both be deemed liable. Regardless of who is ultimately at fault, a patient injured in a fall at a hospital usually must prove medical negligence. In other words, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit must show that the defendant health care provider owed the plaintiff a duty to comply with the applicable standard of care and that the defendant violated the duty.
Florida Statute 766.102 explains that the standard of care that pertains to the defendant is the skill, treatment, and care that a prudent professional practicing in the same specialty as the defendant would apply in a similar situation. For example, suppose that a reasonably competent doctor would note that a patient suffered from balance issues and direct the patient to be provided with a wheelchair or walker and assistance when walking or transferring. In that case, the defendant would likely be required to do so when presented with a patient with similar problems.
The plaintiff must then show that the defendant’s breach directly caused the fall and the subsequent injuries. In other words, the harm suffered would not have happened if the defendant had complied with the standard of care. In many instances, a defendant will argue that an intervening force, such as the plaintiff’s carelessness, caused the plaintiff’s harm. As established by Florida Statute 768.81, though, a plaintiff’s negligence will merely reduce the damages awarded and will not bar them altogether.Meet With a Skillful Boca Raton Attorney
Patient falls at hospitals can cause serious harm, and hospitals that carelessly allow falls to occur should be held accountable. If you sustained injuries in a hospital fall, it is prudent to meet with a lawyer to assess your rights. The skillful medical malpractice attorneys at The Grife Law Firm are proficient at helping people harmed by negligent health care providers protect their rights. If we represent you, we will set forth compelling arguments on your behalf to help you pursue a just result. Our office is located in Boca Raton, and we regularly represent people in medical malpractice cases in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach. You can reach us via our online form or at 855-998-0770 to schedule a meeting.