Visitor Question

Fell out of bed in doctor’s office…

Submitted By: Rhonda (San Diego, CA)

After a procedure in the doctor’s office, I was in recovery and fell out of the bed. The safety rail was not lifted as it was supposed to have been and I was left unattended. I have been on disability for 6 months, and under chiropractic care three times a week for two injured lumbar discs and sciatia.

I was subsequently fired from my job because I could not perform my duties. I have medical bills, and I want to send the doctor a demand of payment letter. I have worked for over 25 years and this injury is awful! The doctor at fault does not want to involve his insurance company and wants to pay out of pocket. Is it a good idea not to involve the insurance company? What are my options in a situation like this? Thanks.

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 Rhonda,

It certainly appears the doctor was at fault for your back injuries. Even if his staff was at fault for leaving the bed rail down, the doctor is still liable under the legal doctrine of “respondeat superior.” This legal doctrine makes employers liable for acts of their employees when the employees were acting within the scope of their employment. Clearly, in your case the employees were acting within the scope of their employment.

Because of the seriousness of your injuries you will need the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. As you’ve already discovered, the doctor won’t cooperate with you. The doctor will have to cooperate with your attorney.

You shouldn’t be concerned about the doctor’s insurance company. It will be up to the doctor whether or not he wants to refer your claim to his insurance company. Once your attorney contacts the doctor, he can either pay to settle your claim out of his own pocket, or refer the matter to his insurance company.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Gather copies of your medical records and bills. Bring along your medical records and bills to the appointments you make with attorneys.

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: November 1, 2013

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