Is a claim for compensation for a patient slipping on the floor due to inadequate nursing care made against the hospital via the Injuries Board, or is this scenario considered to be medical negligence?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

A claim for compensation for a patient slipping on a floor due to inadequate nursing care could be made in either of the two methods you describe depending on the circumstances of the accident.

If your accident occurred at a time and in the circumstances when it would perfectly reasonable to expect nursing staff to be available to assist you, but none were available due to staff shortages or because the nursing staff were failing in their duty of care, your claim for slipping on a hospital floor could be perceived as medical negligence and the Injuries Board would reject any application for the assessment of your claim submitted to them.

Alternatively, if it were considered that your mobility was sufficiently adequate for you to manoeuvre yourself around the ward without assistance, but you slipped on the floor due to an avoidable hazard, the claim for slipping on a hospital floor would be made against the hospital´s public liability insurance and, as you rightly state, would be made via the Injuries Board – although it would be in your best interests to first discuss your accident with a solicitor to ensure you have a claim for compensation for a patient slipping on the floor which is worth your while to pursue.

Even before a solicitor tackles the question of negligence, he or she would first want to know the level of injury you sustained due to your slip and fall, and if your claim for slipping on a hospital floor could be contested due to your own contributory negligence.

In order to claim compensation for a patient slipping on a floor, you must have sustained a unique injury or exacerbated an existing condition that was recorded in your medical history and treated at the hospital. The incident should have been recorded in the ward´s ‘Accident Report Book’ and you should have noted the name(s) of the hospital staff who came to your assistance after your accident.

Furthermore, your claim for slipping on a hospital floor could be contested on the grounds that the hazard which caused you to slip was easily recognisable and that ‘any reasonably attentive person’ would have taken steps to avoid the hazard and brought it to the attention of the nursing staff so that it could be removed.

Without knowing the full circumstances of your accident and injury, it is impossible to answer your question accurately and it is therefore advised that you speak directly with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.