A slip-and-fall injury outside of a hospital setting might become a straightforward lawsuit alleging negligence. A similar injury within a Pennsylvania hospital, however, could face significant legal barriers because it might fall under the rules applied to medical malpractice cases. In such cases, a plaintiff needs to obtain a statement from a medical expert that malpractice has occurred. Without this testimony, the lawsuit will be dismissed by a court.
Legal experts assert that doctors and hospitals try to apply the tougher legal standards of medical cases to slip-and-fall accidents in order to dodge liability. Although Pennsylvania courts have been inconsistent when addressing this tactic, a court in another state has acted to end this practice. In order to apply the burdens of proof needed for medical malpractice in that state, the evidence in the case must show a relationship between the accident and the act of providing health care.
Because tort reform laws intended to block frivolous medical malpractice claims are relatively new, the courts continue to develop their precedents on the subject. Attorneys representing clients who suffered accidents inside hospitals will need to carefully evaluate their legal strategies when filing a lawsuit.
For a person who needs to make a legal claim against a physician or medical center, the standards necessary for a medical negligence lawsuit will still need to be met. Because expert testimony will be needed, the person should seek representation from an attorney who has access to medical professionals. Then, the attorney would determine if the evidence could show that the practitioner or facility failed to observe the requisite standard of care.