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Recently the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of a hospital over a whether non-medical negligence occurring in a hospital is “professional negligence” or “ordinary negligence.”  This case shows that these details can be the difference between dismissal on statute of limitations or not.

In Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, there were bedrails raised on the patient’s bed at the doctors orders. This is common if the patient is at an increased risk of falling out of bed. Despite the bedrails being raised, when the patient attempted to get out of bed, the latch failed causing the rail to collapse. Without any support the patient fell to the floor and was injured.

Just before reaching two years since the incident the patient sued the hospital on premises liability and general negligence theories. The hospital demurred on the ground that the complaint was untimely, because when suing a healthcare provider for professional negligence, the complaint must be filed within 3 years, or within one year of discovery, whichever is sooner (CCP §340.5.)

Since plaintiff was on notice of potential negligence as soon as she fell, the hospital argued she was required to file suit within one year.  Plaintiff argued that her claim arose from something less than professional negligence, because once the doctor ordered the bedrails in a raised position, there was no further medical decision-making required. Therefore, she argued, her causes of action for premises liability and ordinary negligence would be governed by the 2-year statute of limitations set out in CCP §335.1. The hospital countered that because the injury occurred while the patient was in a bed on the hospital, any negligence would be professional in nature, rather than ordinary.

 

Over the years there has been quite a bit of judicial debate as to whether this would be “ordinary” negligence or “healthcare professional” negligence.  The Supreme Court clarified this, holding that maintenance of hospital equipment sounded in professional negligence, rather than ordinary negligence, applied the shorter statute of limitations, and dismissed the case.  Had the plaintiff slipped and fell coming up the steps or ramp to the entry of the hospital, it is probable that the Court would have ruled differently after determining it was a ordinary negligence case.  There is at least one other case pending before the Court involving a fall on a wet floor shortly after being mopped, but we still wait for the Court’s ruling and analysis for further clarification.

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Medical malpractice is a part of the law which is often forgotten by an ordinary citizen. That is, until a person has become a victim of this complex medical situation.

When a case goes to civil court, a jury will consider the preponderance of evidence to determine the medical provider’s guilt or innocence, and the amount of recovery owed to the plaintiff.

Duty of Care

The plaintiff has to prove that the medical provider (e.g. hospital, nursing home, doctor) had a duty of care in the relationship.  Typically, this relationship is easy to prove using admittance papers and similar documents.  They prove that the patient contracted with the provider for specific medical care.

If an independent contractor was involved, such as a doctor who was not an employee of the hospital but brought in to consult, it becomes harder to determine which provider owed the duty of care—in this case, the hospital or consulting doctor.

Once the responsible provider’s identified, the next step is to compare their care with the standard of care that should have been provided.  One way to do this is to compare it with the treatment a provider of equal skill and education would have provided in a similar situation.

Breach of Duty

After identifying the responsible provider, and the duty of care, the plaintiff must prove that the provider breached their duty of care.  Typically, showing how the provider deviated from their duty of care fulfills this requirement.

One way to prove that deviation is by introducing testimony from a medical professional.  By describing what a reasonable course of action would have been, they could show how the defendant deviated from reasonable medical standards.

Causation

The patient must prove that the provider’s breach of duty directly caused their injury.  Despite a breach of duty, causation can’t always be proven.  For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses a patient with a terminal disease, but the patient was suffering from a different—and also terminal—disease, they might not be able to prove their case.

Damages

This element demands that the patient suffered serious economic or other damages beyond inconvenience or dissatisfaction.  Examples include medical bills for treatment of the breach, lost wages and emotional suffering.

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If a medical professional is involved in a negligent treatment, this issue can be considered as a breach of duty,  and if a patient gets injured, he can file for a medical malpractice claim. An injured patient is entitled to a number of damages as well as on the compensation for lost wages. It’s recommended to get legal advice about any related problem on medical malpractice.

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Patients can expect health care professionals to give them the sensible and proficient level of health care.  The law strictly imposes a responsible duty on medical professionals to do it so.

Medical providers, like nursing homes and hospitals, are held to a high standard of medical care for individuals.  These standards are in place to protect patients from becoming victims of negligence, and enable them to sue in instances of medical malpractice.

Medical Malpractice Defined

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical practitioner fails to meet the legal standards of care in their field, and that failure causes harm to their patient.  Malpractice is often grounds for a personal injury legal case.

Damages in a malpractice suit can include reduced quality of life, pain and suffering and the cost of medical bills.

Examples of malpractice include:

  • A doctor who misdiagnoses a patient when most providers could have easily, accurately diagnosed the patient
  • A nursing home that doesn’t move patients often enough to avoid bedsores
  • A surgical team that accidentally leaves medical instruments inside of a patient or performs the wrong surgery

For a plaintiff to establish that malpractice occurred, and recover for damages, they must prove all of four legal elements: Duty of Care, Breach of Duty, Causation and Damages.

Get Legal Advice About Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice suits are complex and demanding cases.  If you think you’ve suffered from medical malpractice, consult a qualified attorney for advice.  They will help you determine the strength of your case and how to move forward.

The law in medical malpractice offers a way for victims and patients to recover compensation from the harms resulted from a sub-standard treatment. The regulations and the standards for medical malpractice vary considerably from country-to-country.

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When cars and bikes have a collision, who is more likely to be at fault? Bicycle accidents involving cars usually happen due to the car driver’s lack of attention or failure to give the right of way for the bicyclist.

But this is not always the case when accidents happen. So let’s figure out who, between the two, is at fault for this type of road accident.

Despite everyone’s best efforts, accidents happen. And either, or both, the cyclist and driver could be at fault.

Just as with car accidents, liability depends on whose negligence caused the bicycle-car accident.

Both drivers and cyclists are required by law to follow the rules of the road. That means, for example, giving the right-of-way and respecting traffic lights and signs.

Drivers will want to remember that violating traffic laws during a bicycle-and-car accident can be considered “negligence per se.” Speeding is one example. Their speeding violation can contribute to evidence that they were negligent in the accident.

It’s also worth noting that drivers face a higher standard in accidents involving children riding bicycles.

Bicyclists should think of themselves as drivers. For example, if they fail to signal, or ride against traffic, it constitutes “contributory” or “comparative” negligence. If the driver were injured, it would be the cyclist’s fault. That would mean the cyclist also couldn’t collect for any injuries or damages they sustained in the accident.

Whenever you’re involved in a bicycle-car accident, protect yourself by calling the police to file a report. Gather the other person’s name, address, phone number, vehicle information and insurance information. And get contact information for witnesses. And never admit fault.

Always consult a professional lawyer who’s familiar with vehicle accident law. Visit www.aclawyers.com today to get help with your bicycle-and-car accident questions.

To reduce the risk of road accidents with cars and bicyclists, both should maximize their visibility, familiarize themselves with the road rules and recognize the dangerous intersection perils.  Both should take safety precautions especially when getting close through an intersection.

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 Often, cars are more likely the culprit when there’s an accident because they are larger in size and more powerful.  But if you’re going to consider the data arising from various bicycle-car accidents, bicyclists are as likely to cause road accidents as the motorists.

As more cities adopt bicycle-friendly cultures, bicycle-and-car accidents become more common. Even though cyclists often enjoy their own lanes, cars and bicycles still share the road. In most states, they also share the same traffic laws—and liability for negligence.

By remembering these common causes of bicycle-car accidents, you can help protect yourself from injury and lawsuits.

  1. The “Right Hook.” Many bicycle lanes are along the side of the road. When there isn’t any bike lane, cyclists often ride close to the shoulder. Drivers turning right at an intersection might not see cyclists approaching on their right and accidentally cut them off.
  1. The “Left Cross.” This happens when a car, turning left at an intersection, pulls into the path of an oncoming cyclist. The bicycle could be coming from the opposite direction or going in the same direction as the car on its left side.
  1. Not all roads have stop signs at intersections. Sometimes, a car will heed its stop sign but not realize that an oncoming cyclist, with the right-of-way, doesn’t have a stop sign. The car then pulls out in front of the bicycle, causing a collision. Other times, the bicyclist has a stop sign and the car does not.

Some states require that cyclists come to a complete stop at intersections. If they don’t, and are involved in a collision, it could bar them from recovering damages—regardless of who was at fault.

  1. Sometimes cyclists follow too closely to cars. If a car stops abruptly, it can lead to a rear-end collision.
  1. Drivers who fail to check their mirrors can accidentally block a cyclist’s path by opening their doors as the cyclist approaches.

Both cyclists and drivers can take steps to minimize the likelihood of an accident. For example, cyclists can always ride with traffic, wear reflective clothing and use hand signals to indicate their intentions. Drivers can exercise greater awareness of cyclists and maintain a safe distance.

When it comes to road security, still both bicyclists and drivers should take the proper precautionary measures. They should both learn from the common bike-car collisions to make them reminded about possible accidents and how to avoid them.

Posted in Car Accident | Comments Off on The 5 Most Common Causes of Bicycle-Car Accidents