Can I sue the hospital for neglect? 25 Answers as of June 23, 2013

My father was admitted to the hospital. While in their care, my father fell from the bed. He is now complaining of backpains which he did not feel prior to the fall. Can I sue the hospital for neglect? Isn't it their responsibility to watch over my aging father while in their care? What is the best course of action that I can take?

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Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
First, you cannot sue the hospital; if a suit could be brought it must be done by your father or on his behalf by a legal guardian. Second, from the information you provide, I cannot say whether your father has a case against the hospital. Whether the hospital should have done more to prevent your father from falling out of bed depends on whether he was considered a "fall" risk. Most hospital do an initial "fall" assessment when a patient is admitted into the hospital. This assessment may change depending on what your father was in the hospital for and whether he demonstrated behaviors that would put the hospital staff "on notice" that your father might fall. If your father was not considered a risk and was permitted to get up out of his bed on his own and he fell doing so, the hospital likely would not be at fault. However, if your father should not have been permitted to get up on his own and his bed guardrails were not up, then the hospital might be responsible. To determine whether there is a case I would suggest obtaining his medical records from the hospital and those from the doctor who admitted him. This could help determine whether your father was a "fall" risk as well as the events prior to and just after his fall. DISCLAIMER: This response should be considered general in nature and for information purposes only. It is based on the limited information provided, makes certain assumptions and assumes that all events took place in Nebraska. It is intended only for cases involving Nebraska and Nebraska law and is not applicable to any other state or jursdication. In addition, this response is not a substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation for additional legal advice or legal representation. If you ignore this warning and convey confidential information in a private message or comment, there is no duty to keep that information confidential or forego representation adverse to your interests. You should seek the advice of a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction to fully discuss your case. You should be aware that there are Statute of Limitations (the deadline imposed by law within which you may bring a lawsuit) as well as other requirements and/or limitations that limit the time you have to file any potential claims you may have. This response may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under the applicable law and ethical rules. The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. The author of this response is not certified as a specialist in any particular field of law by an organization that has been approved by an appropriate state authority or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 3/5/2012
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
For it to be negligent, the hospital knew or should have known that your father could fall. So perhaps they did not take all the steps necessary to prevent the fall, or perhaps they failed to completely assess your father's fall risks. Either way, you should have a full consultation with an attorney and be prepared to give many more details. Likely the attorney won't know whether or not this is negligence/medical malpractice until she/he reviews the hospital records.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 3/5/2012
Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
You have a basis for a lawsuit .More information needed.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/23/2013
Richard E. Lewis, P.S.
Richard E. Lewis, P.S. | Richard Eugene Lewis
The hospital is responsible to provide reasonable care to your father. More info is needed to determine if specific precautions were needed to protect your father from a fall. For example, did he have balance issues or other reasons to put the hospital on notice that he might fall? Whether the case is worth pursuing also depends on the extent of his injuries. Best of luck to you and your father.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/2/2012
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
Yes. You can sue. You need a personal injury or medical malpractice attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/2/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Stand by the bed, you mean. The hospital must not be neglectful but they don't guarantee to watch you 24 hrs. they cant. They don't have the personnel. Check the hospital report of the incident, check the hospital chart and see if there is neglect.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    You can sue the hospital, but you should first consult with an attorney. Depending on why your father was in the hospital the hospital may or may not be negligent and responsible for his fall. This type of suit would be very expensive and the damages that your father suffered must be serious enough to warrant the time and expense of any lawsuit. Consult with an attorney, the best course of action would be first to approach the hospital administration about a resolution of the claim.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    It's a tough one. You'd have to prove that they knew or should have known this would happen. It would depend on his condition and what was known about his inclination to fall or try to get out of the bed. There are protocols involving having the bed rails up, and when its proper to strap someone in. Get all of the records and have them reviewed by an expert. I'd suggest a legal nurse consultant.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    Health care providers who fail to follow the accepted standard of care can be liable for the injuries they caused. You should call a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC | Patrick E. Donovan
    Yes, you can sue the hospital if you can establish its negligence. I have a similar case pending at the moment. First step, have your father send the hospital a written request for all of his medical records and notes concerning his treatment at the hospital. Then, get your Dad into treatment and find out what is wrong. Then, call an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    The hospital bed should have had railings that were in an up position while he was in bed, so they may be negligent s open to suit. It would be a negligence and not medical malpractice case. You need to speak with an attorney who handles negligence cases to see what they think of the likelihood of success and how much your father could get. The attorney will want to speak with your father also, as he will be the client.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    This is actually a pretty common problem. Whether your father should have been in a bed that prevented him from falling depends on a lot of factors. Hospitals try to maintain the dignity of their patients, but sometimes they are simply careless. If you feel that the hospital should have known he has a fall risk, talk to a lawyer who handles hospital negligence cases.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Proving why he fell will be impossible.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Med Mal cases require the agreement of a medical practitioner that the claimant suffered less than appropriate care under the relevant standards. See a medical malpractice practitioner. You cannot sue.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    Possibly. Go see a medical malpractice attorney. If the hospital didn't properly assess his fall risk or failed to provide safeguards for him, it could be a case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Ford, Howard & Cornett, P.C. | Bradley Cornett
    Your father may have a claim for negligence if the hospital was on notice of the need to take special precautions and the hospital failed to do so. If so, it is your father's claim and not yours. You could only bring a claim if legally authorized to do so (i.e., power of attorney).
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A.
    Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A. | Howard Mishkind
    If your father was a fall risk, the hospital had a duty to have certain fall prevention protocols in operation. Each hospital has to evaluate a patient for past falls as well as current risks for falls and put bed alarms and other safety precautions to minimize the risk of a fall. If they failed to evaluate your father to determine if he had fall risks and failed to follow standards published for prevention of falls and their own hospital policies then your father would be entitled to recover for his injuries. The bigger question is what are the injuries he suffered and would it be worthwhile to proceed with a lawsuit? That is a question that only a qualified personal injury attorney can answer after learning exactly what happened due to the fall and what treatment your father required for his injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    The best of course of action is to hire an attorney because this is a medical malpractice case and requires specific notice with an expert who has reviewed the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Koning & Jilek, P.C.
    Koning & Jilek, P.C. | Jonathan Neal Jilek
    The best course of action is to contact a firm experienced in nursing home liability. Your father may have a medical malpractice claim and/or a negligence claims. There is a two year statute of limitations period on medical malpractice claims. There is a three year statute of limitations on negligence actions.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    Yes. Consult with a personal injury attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Yes, your father may sue for negligence. However, he should at least consult with a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer for specific legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    The answer to your question depends on many factors that are unknown. There are times when you can hold a hospital accountable for something like this, and other times not. It depends on the condition of your father, and reasonable concerns the hospital should know of. For example, if I went into the hospital to have my wisdom teeth removed, and I am a healthy individual otherwise with no mental issues, I would not expect the hospital to have me on 24 hour surveillance in case I fall. However, there are certainly times when more care is warranted. You would be best to contact an experienced malpractice attorney in your area to discuss in more detail.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    This type of case can be very difficult, but it does seem like malpractice. You should speak with a medical malpractice attorney to see whether your father has a case.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 3/1/2012
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