busy hospital lobby staircaseWhether you are sick, hurt, or visiting a patient, few people would fault you for thinking the hospital is the safest place to be. However, an unfortunate number of accidents occur inside medical facilities. Each and every year, thousands of people slip, fall, or otherwise get injured inside hospitals. The injuries sustained after a hospital slip and fall accident can vary in severity, from minor bruising to a life-altering disability. While many of these accidents can be attributed to individual fault, others are caused by hospital negligence.

If you or a loved one has been injured after falling inside a Kentucky hospital, you could be eligible for compensation through an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit. An experienced Louisville attorney can help you show the adjuster, judge, or jury that your injuries were caused by the hospital’s negligence, getting you the money you need to move past an accident that was not your fault.

Kentucky Hospital Slip and Fall Accidents

Every hospital in Kentucky has a legal responsibility to ensure that its premises are safe for staff, contractors, and the general public. However, hospitals must often take additional precautions to keep surfaces and medical equipment free from disease-spreading pathogens and other dangerous sources of contamination. The challenges of keeping a hospital both safe and clean can be immense, with responsibilities often shared between nurses, EMTs, and custodial workers.

While most hospital staff take their responsibilities seriously, they still make mistakes—mistakes that can jeopardize the well-being of visitors and patients alike.

Common causes of hospital slips and falls include:

  • Wet floors
  • Uncleaned spills
  • Unsafe obstacles, such as misplaced wheelchairs, lost clothing, or patient beds
  • Narrow, uneven, or otherwise unsafe stairways and building infrastructure
  • Badly maintained patient safety equipment, such as bed guards and rails
  • Poor lighting

Serious slips and falls can happen anywhere inside a hospital. However, the following areas or wings within a hospital can present elevated risk:

  • High-traffic locations, such as the building’s entrances and exits
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Bathrooms
  • The hallways connecting different wings and departments
  • Cafeterias, breakrooms, and other areas in which food and drink are consumed
  • Construction zones

Everyone who visits a hospital is expected to both follow the facility’s rules and maintain reasonable care in traversing the property. However, when a hospital acts negligently and fails to mark or remove hazards, people can get seriously hurt.

The Dangers of Slip and Fall Accidents

Slips and falls, even inside hospitals, can result in serious and sometimes catastrophic injury. In fact, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified slips and falls as one of the leading sources of accidental injury in the United States. If you fall inside a Kentucky hospital, you could sustain injuries such as:

  • Bruises
  • Lacerations
  • A sprained ankle
  • Twisted or torn muscle tissue
  • Traumatic brain injuries

However, broken bones are among the most serious and common outcomes of slip-and-fall-type accidents.

Understanding the Severity of Broken Bones and Fractures

Any broken bone has the potential to cause serious pain. However, not all broken bones and fractures are alike. Physicians recognize several different types of fractures, including:

  • Open-skin fractures, where the injury breaks or pierces the skin.
  • Closed-skin fractures, where the injury does not break or pierce the skin.
  • Complete fractures, where the fracture breaks a single bone into two or more pieces.
  • Displaced fractures, where a bone breaks into two or more pieces and is moved out of its ordinary position by the force of impact.

While any bone can break after a serious slip, some parts of the body are especially vulnerable to fractures:

  • The hip joint and pelvis
  • The wrist
  • Hands and fingers
  • The ankle
  • The skull

The nature and location of a broken bone influence the options physicians have to fix it as well as the length of time it will take to recover.

Unfortunately, even minor, closed-skin fractures still have the potential to wreak havoc in a victim’s life. For example, you could be responsible for hospital bills, including physician’s fees and treatment costs. Even if you have insurance, you may still have to pay out of pocket to meet your deductible or cover co-pays. You might have to take time away from work, losing valuable income, or exhausting paid vacation days you were saving for a personal holiday. Finally, your doctor might instruct you to attend long-term physical rehabilitation sessions to help rebuild bone and muscle, taking time away from family, friends, and everyday life. In other words, the costs of recovering from a broken ankle can reach into the thousands of dollars.

You could have an even longer, more expensive recovery if:

  • You are an older adult.
  • You have broken the same bone in the past.
  • You fractured your skull and sustained internal brain damage.

Slips and falls are, in fact, one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury can be as minor as a low-grade concussion. However, serious brain injuries can lead to permanent disability if they are not quickly treated.

What to Do After a Kentucky Hospital Slip and Fall

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a  Kentucky slip and fall, you could take several steps to bolster your chances of making a successful legal recovery:

  • Photograph, record, or otherwise document the conditions that caused or contributed to your slips and fall.
  • Ask any potential eyewitnesses to share their contact information, including their name, phone number, and address.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Once you have ensured your physical safety, contact an experienced premises liability attorney immediately. A lawyer could help you secure compensation after your accident—compensation you can use to recover from and move past your injuries.

While Kentucky does not specifically cap the amount of damages you can claim after breaking a bone in a hospital slip and fall accident, the state does have a strict statute of limitations restricting how long you can wait to file a legal claim. In most cases, you only have one year from the date of injury to claim and pursue damages.

Contact Us Today

Gray & White Law specializes in hospital negligence claims. We believe that nobody should have to suffer the consequences of another person’s negligence. Our dedicated legal team has decades of experience representing people who were hurt because a Kentucky hospital failed to keep its premises safe from danger. Contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law