Many things can go wrong in a New Mexico hospital, but not all instances are necessarily cases of medical malpractice. For example, a visitor might slip and fall while walking through a puddle caused by a ceiling leak, which is more likely to be a matter of premises liability. When a patient slips or falls, the matter might be considered a medical malpractice issue in certain cases. Because this is a confusing area of law, it may be important to understand what factors are used to determine that malpractice or medical negligence has occurred.
Although medical malpractice is considered an action or failure to act by a medical professional that causes harm to a patient, some hospital slip-and-fall cases involving a patient are more appropriately dealt with as matters of premises liability. One of the most important factors in pursuing a claim for medical malpractice after a slip or fall may be whether a medical professional is willing to affirm that the situation is a case of malpractice. In many states, the connection between medical care and a slip or fall must be clearly established.
In a hypothetical situation, a patient who is considered to be a fall risk after a hip replacement surgery might fall due to improper monitoring by the nursing staff. These patients might fall because the bed railing is not secured or because they are left unattended in the restroom. Medical negligence might not be an issue if a patient falls because of uneven flooring, however, as this is more likely to be considered a premises issue.
Although premises liability situations might cause harm to a patient in a hospital, a lawyer might be helpful for evaluating the options in the case. If there is evidence that nursing staff recognized the problem and failed to report it, for example, there might still be reason to pursue a malpractice claim.