When people go to the hospital or put loved ones into assisted living facilities, the last thing they would expect would be to facing a slip and fall incident. Even in a medical facility that is run by experts and has many different rules put in place to prevent accidents, things can happen. If you do get injured in a medical facility, it is important to remember that it is a personal injury situation just like any other you would experience. The difficulty comes in determining liability and piecing together the events that lead to your unfortunate accident.
Choosing A Facility
Sometimes it helps to do some research on the slip and fall history of a medical facility before getting treatment or sending a loved one to live there. For example, in England, the number of patient safety accidents rose 10 percent from 2016 to 2018. Those hospitals that were mentioned as being the most chronic in their lapses in patient safety have been publicized. In these types of incidents, it is wise to not ignore a medical facility’s past and use good information to avoid potential problems with your care.
But it is important to look at documents incidents and reliable data only. One person experiencing a slip and fall accident in a facility over the course of several years should not result in potential patients avoiding that facility. Accidents can happen, even in places where operations are strictly monitored.
The Most Prominent Incidents
Approximately 32 percent of all residents of assisted living facilities ages 65 and over fall every year. Falls are the most common source of accidental fatalities in these closely monitored facilities, which gives an indication of how common the problem really is. This idea of elderly residents of assisted living facilities falling and getting seriously injured has been an ongoing issue for over half of a century.
How Do Falls Occur?
The potential for a serious slip and fall incident is significantly enhanced in a medical facility. Some of the most common reasons for patients slipping and falling include:
- Substances on the floors
- Patient disorientation
- Objects blocking walkways
- Falls from windows (some due to an altercation with another person)
It is important to analyze the top reasons for slip and fall accidents in medical facilities because these can have a considerable effect on determining liability. If a patient is recovering from surgery and told not to leave their bed without a nurse because they could become disoriented, then a slip and fall accident with that patient is going to be difficult to blame on the hospital. However, a disoriented patient that is not properly monitored becomes a medical facility’s problem if they slip and fall after leaving their bed.
Common Slip And Fall Incidents Can Occur As Well
In July 2018, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals settled a claim with a person who said that she slipped and fell on a clear substance that the hospital knew was on the floor. This type of scenario plays out in public facilities all over the country every day, and it is especially challenging for medical facilities. That is why medical facilities have strict policies on spills that require employees to report a spill the moment they notice it. But with so many different liquids being transported throughout a medical facility, keeping up with every spill can be a challenge.
A medical facility has to follow the same general rules of safety as any other public structure. If there is a spill or some sort of obstacle on a floor that could be dangerous, then the medical facility must take care of that spill or obstacle as soon as possible. However, medical facilities also get the same reasonable amount of time to notice a potential slip and fall hazard as any other business.
Medical facilities also must warn people about potential hazards resulting from maintenance, construction, the weather, and anything else that could result in a slip and fall accident. There are no special considerations given to any medical facility when it comes to the very basics of preventing slip and fall accidents for the public.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured?
Visitors and patients of a medical facility both face the same hazards when it comes to slip and fall accidents. When patients are admitted to a medical facility, they normally sign a waiver that states that they will follow all instructions they are given by the medical staff while in the facility’s care. This means that if a patient slips and falls after leaving their bed when they were told not to leave their bed, the medical facility may not be considered negligent when the insurance companies and other investigators are determining liability.
Visitors to medical facilities must also be mindful of all posted signs to avoid slip and fall accidents. Some parts of medical facilities are prone to slip and fall situations, and those areas are often heavily marked with warning signs. As with any other public building, visitors must be mindful of warning signs when they are in a medical facility.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in a medical facility, your first priority is to get emergency care for your injuries. You should not refuse the care offered by the medical facility as that could be used against you by the insurance companies. The fact that you slipped and fell in a medical facility is not enough of a reason to refuse treatment by that facility.
If you are with someone when you are injured, ask that person to take photographs and record as much of the accident scene as possible. Things can happen quickly in a hospital, and you want to make sure that the exact conditions of your accident are preserved properly.
Talk To A Lawyer
You must treat a medical facility the same way you would treat any public place if you are injured. You should hire a personal injury attorney immediately so they can start gathering the proper information. If there are video cameras where you were injured, then you will need to hire an attorney quickly so they can get copies of the videos before they are erased.
Public buildings are allowed to erase surveillance footage after a certain amount of time to prevent having to pay for staggering amounts of video storage. An attorney will know how to act quickly and get video footage before it can be erased.
Your attorney will immediately start getting the names of witnesses and employees who were working during your accident. Despite all of this, you should remain under the care of the medical facility until their doctors have deemed you well enough to leave.
Accidents can happen anywhere, and that includes the places that we go to be healed and cared for. If you or a loved one are injured in a medical facility, you should treat it like any other public place. You should get emergency care immediately, and then you should hire an experienced attorney who can help you to get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.