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Medical Negligence: Can I claim compensation if I have suffered a fall in hospital?

At Fosters Solicitors, our Medical Negligence & Inquests team support those who have been injured or bereaved because of medical negligence.

Where a mistake has occurred whilst a patient is under the care of a medical professional, in both the NHS and the private sector, this can lead to injury, pain, distress and sometimes tragically even death.

When medical treatment does not go as planned, obtaining the compensation you deserve can seem daunting, complicated and patients are often left feeling alone.

Here we explore the law surrounding making a claim for injuries sustained through falling in hospital.

When does a fall in hospital come under Medical Negligence?

Falls in hospitals are often the cause for patients or their families, making a claim under medical negligence.

Falling in hospital can often lead to patients suffering further injuries and additional pain and suffering.

Hospitals have a duty to ensure vulnerable patients, who are at high risk of falling, have undergone risk assessments to ensure their safety. Where a hospital has failed to follow risk assessment measures which has led to patients suffering injuries following a fall, those patients may be able to bring a claim for compensation.

When should a risk assessment be completed by the hospital?

Hospitals have a duty to complete risk assessments for all patients over 65 and any younger more vulnerable patients. There are many reasons for patients to be at high risk of falling, some of these are as follows:

  • Visual impairment.
  • A medical condition that increases the likelihood of falling, for example, dementia.
  • A history of falling.
  • Issues with mobility.
  • Side effects of medication that may cause dizziness or impact balance.
  • Cognitive impairment.

If a patient presents with any of these conditions, the hospital staff should deem the patient as high risk of falling and certain preventative measures should be put in place.

Patients at risk of falling may need to be monitored more closely by staff, it may be that 1:1 care is required. The use of bed rails may need to be assessed, as a confused patient may try to climb over them. Low level beds should be considered and the use of crash mats for patients unable to stand. If a patient at high risk of falling is moved to another setting, a further risk evaluation should be carried out.

Where a risk assessment has not been completed or followed and has resulted in a patient falling and sustaining injuries, it is possible that patient may be entitled to compensation.

Why bring a claim?

Where a patient has suffered physical or mental injuries as a result of a failure in care by a hospital or medical practitioner, any reward for compensation can help patients rebuild their lives.

Our Medical Negligence & Inquests team are able to support you or your family with a potential claim. We understand you will want to know how we can assist, so we offer a free of charge no obligation first meeting or chat, which we follow up with a full letter of advice. If you are in any doubt as to whether you may have a claim, please do contact us. This is completely without obligation.

We are also able to discuss how the costs of the claim are covered, including through a no win no fee agreement.

For more information, or to arrange a free no obligation chat, please call 01603 620508 or email the team. Details of all our Medical Negligence services can be found here.

This article was produced on the 9th November 2023 by our Medical Negligence & Inquests team for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.