Visitor Question

Hurt in hospital waiting room…

Submitted By: Steve (Findlay, Ohio)

While waiting for his baby sister to be born, my 4 year old grandson fell off a couch in the hospital waiting room, striking the edge of a glass-topped coffee table on the way to the floor.

The impact opened two cuts near his eyebrow.

Nurses and an attending pediatric doctor from an adjacent pediatric ward suggested my grandson be taken to the ER to close the cuts to his eyebrow.

My grandson’s father was with his wife (the boy’s mother) who was in active labor during the birth of our granddaughter, and he was asked to sign an authorization form allowing the ER procedure to take place.

An invoice for the ER procedure to my grandson in the amount of over $750 was sent to my grandson’s parents.

Shouldn’t the hospital be liable for the cost of this procedure since the accident that injured my grandson happened in the hospital’s waiting room? This accident occurred in Ohio on October 10, 2013.

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 Steve,

To be liable for your grandson’s injuries and the resulting $750.00 emergency room bill, the hospital would have to be negligent. Determining negligence will include weighing factors such as how late at night it was when the boy fell, and if so, was it past the boy’s bedtime? If so, he may have been tired and fell of his own accord.

In such a case you or the boy’s parents might have unknowingly contributed to the boy’s injuries. The boy’s actions must be accounted for. Was he playing around? Did his actions cause him to fall? Was their a rule prohibiting young children from being in the waiting room area where the table was located?

While these questions don’t seem fair in light of the new baby, unfortunately they are legally relevant and must be addressed.

On the other hand, was the table unusually sharp? If so, maybe it shouldn’t have been in the waiting room. Have other people, young and old, been previously injured by the table? If so, why didn’t the hospital remove the table? Have there been previous complaints from people who were cut or bruised by the table? Was the table inherently dangerous? If so, the hospital should have known injuries might occur as a result.

As you can see, there is no easy answer to your question. There is nothing wrong with you contacting the administrator of the hospital and asking to have the hospital pay the bill. As long as you or the boy didn’t contribute to the boy’s injuries, you have a reasonable platform upon which to make a claim for the hospital to pay the bill.

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 13, 2013

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