When a person is injured in a slip-and-fall accident in a North Carolina hospital, the question of whether it must be filed as a medical malpractice or as a premises liability case may arise. With increasing tort law reform for medical malpractice matters, the procedural hurdles for those cases are significantly higher than those for other types of personal injury matters.
In medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs in many states must first have a medical expert review the incident to confirm whether medical professional negligence occurred before it can proceed. This can be a huge hurdle for slip-and-fall accidents. How this issue has been handled around the country is largely inconsistent. In Pennsylvania, for example, hospitals and doctors frequently use it to try to get courts to dismiss these cases outright.
Texas has changed that practice with a ruling from the state's highest court. The Supreme Court of Texas has held that a plaintiff will not be required to meet the procedural hurdles of a medical malpractice case unless there is a substantial relationship between the fall and the provided medical care. Medical malpractice matters not only have stricter requirements, they are also generally more expensive than other types of personal injury cases.
When a hospital has unclean premises that lead to a slip-and-fall accident, the injured patient may want to seek advice from a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney may be able to determine whether the case will be required to meet the procedural hurdles of a medical malpractice case or if it can instead be filed as a premises liability action. A successful lawsuit could result in a finding of hospital negligence.