What is the legal remedy if a senior fell off of an examination table while unattended?

Patient on pain medication for ongoing back pains with obvious balance and diminished motor function, was ask to get on an examination table, then left unattended. Patient lost her balance, fell off examination table and broke her wrist. What should be the next course of action

Asked on February 27, 2016 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
If this injury occurred at a doctor's office, the patient or patient's representative would contact the doctor's medical malpractice insurance carrier.
If this injury occurred at a hospital, the patient or patient's representative would contact the hospital's insurance carrier.
Notify the appropriate insurance carrier in writing of the patient's malpractice claim.  When the patient completes her medical treatment for this injury and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in her medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain her medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  The claim filed with the insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of the injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the patient is disssatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier,  she should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the doctor/hospital.
If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, the patient's lawsuit for negligence must be filed with the court prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or the patient will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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