Hospitals are places of healing and recovery, but visitors and patients are not immune to slip and fall accidents that can lead to serious injuries. Determining who is liable to pay damages for those injuries is not a simple or straightforward process. The California slip and fall accident lawyers at Salamati Law have represented victims in lawsuits against hospitals and other institutions for more than 28 years. We have the knowledge and experience to determine who was negligent and hold that party responsible for compensating our clients for their injuries and losses. Schedule a free consultation, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions and assess your case.
Types of hospital slips and falls
Hospital patients and visitors might encounter slick floors from spilled liquid substances, medical carts obstructing paths, unsecured carpet tiles, and other slip and fall risks. Elderly patients and others with mobility limitations are at a heightened risk of falling, particularly if their medications or wound dressings impair their judgment or movements.
Depending on the circumstances, the underlying reason for a hospital slip and fall could be general negligence or professional negligence, each carrying a different statute of limitations, limit of recoverable damages, and burden of proof.
Ordinary negligence slip and falls
A hospital defendant may be liable in a premises liability claim when that party knew or should have known of a hazard but failed to issue a warning or fix it in a timely manner. The slip and fall accident victim bears the burden of proving that the defendant or their employees acted unreasonably and negligently.
Our attorneys use all available evidence, including eyewitness testimony, medical records, and hospital facility maintenance logs. This evidence is used to satisfy that burden of proof and assign liability to the negligent party that failed to keep the hospital premises safe.
When is a Hospital Considered Negligent in a Slip and Fall case?
Under California law, hospitals have an absolute obligation to use reasonable care to keep their physical property safe for patients and visitors. The entity that owns or controls a hospital facility will be liable for a slip and fall victim’s damages when:
- That entity knew or reasonably should have known about a slip and fall risk but did nothing to remedy it or warn patients and visitors.
- That risk was the direct and proximate cause of the victim’s slip and fall accident.
- The victim suffered injuries and financial losses as a result of the accident.
Who Pays When the Hospital is Responsible?
The specific facts of a hospital slip and fall accident will determine which parties are liable for paying compensation to the victim. The hospital generally bears primary liability. However, negligence by independent doctors and other medical professionals may also be responsible, particularly when a separate medical corporation employs them. Further, third-party contractors, such as cleaning crews and maintenance personnel, may also bear part or all of the blame.
In every case, establishing responsibility is less clear-cut than it sounds. Some hospitals are privately owned. Others are part of a regional medical chain. Some are owned by or operate under contract with the federal government, meaning claims would need to comply with tort liability procedures under federal statutes.
When you hire us to represent you in your Southern California hospital slip and fall lawsuit, we will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your claim to identify every party who contributed to your accident and injuries.
What is the Time Limit on Hospital Slip and Fall Claims?
In California, a slip and fall victim has two years to file a personal injury lawsuit under an ordinary negligence theory. The notice period for filing a claim is substantially shorter if the fall occurred at a government-owned hospital. To avoid missing a crucial deadline and having your case dismissed for being filed too late, you should always contact an attorney as soon as possible after you suffer injuries in a fall at a medical facility.
Contact Salamati Law for a Free Case Evaluation
When you or anyone close to you has suffered a slip and fall injury in a hospital or medical facility property, you need experienced counsel who will fight for your rights. Filing claims against hospitals can be daunting, given the multiple parties, bureaucracy, and red tape.
We have dedicated more than two decades to fighting for the rights of victims in California. To speak with a slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles, please call us today for a no-fee, no-obligation assessment of your claim and the damages you may be entitled to recover.
Additional hospital slip and fall resources:
- Micra.org, Provisions of MICRA, http://micra.org/specifics-of-micra/provisions-of-micra/
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Claims Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, https://www.va.gov/OGC/FTCA.asp