As the average medical malpractice case reveals, hospitals and medical clinics are not always capable of providing the safe, healing environment that patients should be able to expect. However, not every injury suffered in a hospital is caused by the negligence of a medical provider. Slip and fall accidents are unfortunately common due to the slick tiling of most medical centers, medicinal fluids that can be spilled randomly, and random debris and clutter in such a busy setting. If you slip or trip and fall in a hospital, it begs the question: “Is it a medical malpractice incident, or a premises liability case?”
Medical Malpractice Vs. Premises Liability
To understand for sure which type of case you have after an accident, you first must understand the definitions of medical malpractice and premises liability.
Medical malpractice refers to claims filed when a medical professional provides substandard treatment to a patient and causes injury, harm, or death. These cases are often tricky to prove because the patient must have evidence showing the doctor’s action or lack of action was below the standard of care, and that this action directly caused injuries.
Premises liability is an area of law that involves injuries or harm caused to individuals as a result of poor property maintenance. Property owners or landowners can be held responsible for dangerous or defective conditions they should have known about and fixed, like slippery floors.
Why You Fell Determines the Case Type
While it might seem logical to assume your slip and fall accident inside a medical setting calls for a medical malpractice claim, this is not usually the case. For a slip and fall accident inside a hospital to actually be considered medical malpractice, some sort of medical negligence needs to be traceable to the reason why you fell. For example, if you were prescribed a defective drug that unexpectedly caused vertigo and you collapsed, then the situation would likely call for a medical malpractice claim.
On the other hand, if you slipped and fell for most any other reason, it would be a premises liability claim. For example, if you tripped on a loose sheet on the ground while moving down the hall in the hospital, the resulting claim would be premises liability, not medical malpractice. The reason behind this case categorization is that a medical provider did not act in a negligent way that contributed to the fall. The property owner would therefore be liable for accidents caused by unreasonable hazards left unattended, such as a stray sheet or spill. Even if a doctor threw the sheet on the ground in the previous example, it would still be a premises liability case because that doctor would not have been acting in any way related to their practice, nor in a doctor-patient relationship.
One Legal Team for All Your Injury Claims
At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling high-stakes injury claims, including both medical malpractice and premises liability. If you or someone you love slipped and fell in a hospital for any reason, then we want to know what happened. During a free case evaluation, we can help determine the cause of your fall, and therefore what party should be held liable.
Call Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. today at (888) 398-2277, or contact us online after you’ve been injured in an accident.