If I am a psychiatric nurse and was assulted by a patient, can I sue the hospital for not providing a panic button?

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If I am a psychiatric nurse and was assulted by a patient, can I sue the hospital for not providing a panic button?

I was attacked unprovoked patient. My nose is broken and I have multiple contusion on my head and hands. I was able to break away but unable to help the other nurse as she was brutal attacked. Finally another patient was able to get him away from her. Hospital police arrived. A eequest was previously made for a safety system.

Asked on May 11, 2012 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the hospital for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable hospital would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

To establish negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.

Actual cause means but for the hospital not having a security system, would you have been injured?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the hospital of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.

Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for negligence against the hospital.  Your damages would be compensation for your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to your medical bills and compensation for wage loss.

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of any wage loss.  Prior to filing your lawsuit against the hospital, it may be possible to settle the case with the hospital's insurance company.  Your personal injury claim filed with the hospital's insurance carrier should include your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which as mentioned above is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with the hospital's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the hospital's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the hospital.  If the case is NOT settled with the hospital's insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the hospital prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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