Visitor Question

Is the hospital liable for my injuries?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Portsmouth, VA)

I was in the hospital for a bowel resection surgery. On the last night of my stay, I fell and broke my wrist. The booties given to me by the hospital had twisted in bed while I was sleeping. I was still on heavy drugs at the time, but it was the first time they were given to me orally instead of through an IV.

The booties only had nonslip pads on one side so when I reached the tiled floor I lost my balance and fell. I only remember looking at my broken wrist, seeing blood and crawling to the toilet where the call button is. I was taken to surgery and had 3 pins put in my wrist.

No one ever talked to me about the accident that I knew of. I do know that I fell upon entering the bathroom. I have since found a nurse’s statement that said I fell off the toilet as I was nauseated, which did not happen at all. We did request all information from this incident and were denied.

I then spoke with the patient advocate about the fall and asked why no one had seen or spoken to me. She suggested I file to get my records under the Freedom of Information Act. We did and it was again denied to us. I was also told by her that this would be addressed as a safety issue. I was since told they had changed their policy so that everyone now uses the booties that they previously used only for fall risk patients.

This happened at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center. I understand I have 2 years from the date of injury to put in a tort, and I only have a few days left to file it.

Do I have a valid claim since this incident caused more pain and suffering, especially since I was recovering from another major surgery? My husband needed to stay home to help me, losing wages/leave as I did too. How much is a reasonable amount to ask for, considering I will always have some pain and do feel my wrist injury was due to their negligence? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

The process of filing a claim against a governmental entity can be overwhelming, especially of you are not an attorney.

If the two year Statute of Limitations” time period is about to expire you HAVE TO file your lawsuit or tort claim now.

If you don’t you may lose your access to the legal system.

Once you file your suit or notice of claim within the statutory period you will have about as much time as you will need to pursue your claim. If you fail to file your notice of claim or lawsuit within the requisite 2 year period you will be out of most legal options.

You have a right to see and copy your medical records. It shouldn’t be necessary to file a Freedom of Information request to get them. Instead you should only have to sign a medical release.

From the facts you present it appears you are about to let “slip through your hands” what appears to be a viable claim for compensation for your injuries, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.

You should consider filing your claim before the statutory time period expires and then make an appointment with a personal injury attorney who has some familiarity and experience dealing with governmental entities. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for an initial office consultation. You may want to visit with several of them before you decide what course of action to take.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: January 7, 2012

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