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Slip-and-Fall at a New York Hospital: Medical Malpractice or Premise Liability?

Slip-and-Fall at a New York Hospital: Medical Malpractice or Premise Liability?

A slip and fall can occur virtually anywhere – including on the premises of a New York hospital. In fact, slips and falls may be particularly likely in these locations. Despite the best efforts of staff, hospitals are inherently messy places with plenty of spilled liquids and other fall hazards. Whether you slipped on a puddle of intravenous fluid or were struck by someone pushing a stretcher, these incidents can lead to serious injuries. But does this count as a premise liability lawsuit or a medical malpractice claim in New York?

Blind Woman Falls Off Exam Table: Medical Malpractice or “Ordinary Negligence?”

This question came up in a recent New York lawsuit filed by a blind woman. This individual fell off an exam table at a New York medical facility, and she claims that this constitutes medical malpractice. However, her lawyers experienced considerable pushback – and a New York appeals court eventually instructed her to produce a statement from a medical expert. The court explained that this expert statement should indicate the woman’s fall represents medical malpractice and not “ordinary negligence.”

The woman claims that her visual impairments call for specific medical needs – including protection from falls. By not preventing her from falling off the table, the plaintiff argues, her doctors “mis-assessed” these unique medical needs. 

Which is Better, Premise Liability or Medical Malpractice?

One might hear about this story and wonder why this distinction even matters. Both premise liability lawsuits and medical malpractice lawsuits can lead to compensation – so what is the benefit of choosing one type of lawsuit over the other?

Often, hospitals use this distinction as a defense strategy – although some might describe it more along the lines of a “stalling tactic.” The goal is to argue that the plaintiff has filed the wrong type of lawsuit, forcing the injured party to start again from square one. This can frustrate the plaintiff and potentially make them more willing to accept a low settlement. For every month that passes, financial pressures continue to mount for injured plaintiffs. At some point, these pressures simply become too high – and the patient may agree on a relatively low settlement. 

In addition, you should know that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is shorter compared to normal personal injury cases. In other words, you have more time to file a slip and fall lawsuit compared to a medical malpractice case. This could provide additional incentives to stall. 

Finally, the general consensus is that medical malpractice claims are more challenging compared to “ordinary” premises liability lawsuits. Panels of medical experts are involved in the process, and research can be extremely time-consuming. You may need to explore complex medical terminology, policies, and so on. In contrast, a premise liability lawsuit is relatively straightforward. All you really need to do is establish that the hospital staff delayed unreasonably before cleaning up a spill. 

Find an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New York

Whether you are filing a medical malpractice lawsuit or a premise liability claim, The Glassman Law Group can provide all the assistance you need. We have handled numerous personal injury cases in the past, and we know that injuries at New York hospitals can be quite severe. Book a consultation today to learn more about your legal options. 


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