Is it possible to claim injury compensation for a patient falling out of bed in a hospital due to a nurse forgetting to use guard rails?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

In order to claim injury compensation for a patient falling out of bed in a hospital, two conditions have to be met – that you sustained an injury, and that the injury was due to the negligence of somebody who owed you a duty of care.

The first condition is reasonably straightforward to ascertain, as an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition which occurred due to a fall out of bed in hospital would have received medical attention and be chronicled in your medical history.

The second condition may be a little more difficult to establish; as a compensation claim for a fall out of a hospital bed has to show that ‘at the time and in the circumstances’ your injury was avoidable. If there was a mitigating situation which prevented nursing staff from being available to raise the guard rail on the bed, it may the case that your claim for compensation for negligent care in a hospital is unsuccessful.

It is highly probable that a member of the nursing staff failed to raise the guard rails on the bed because of forgetfulness or because there were an inadequate number of staff available to complete all the nursing duties which had to be performed, but it is dangerous to make that assumption when compiling a claim for a fall out of bed in a hospital.

In order to prepare a claim for injury compensation for a patient falling out of bed in a hospital due to a nurse forgetting to use guard rails, a solicitor would first write to everybody who may have been involved in your hospital treatment to access copies of their notes relating to your accident. These notes would then be reviewed by an independent medical expert to establish whether or not you have a claim for compensation for negligent care in a hospital which is worth your while to pursue.

If so, and if you still wish to proceed with a claim for a fall out of a hospital bed, your solicitor would then make an official complaint on your behalf and send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the hospital, advising the Health Service Executive or private clinic in which you were staying that you are making a claim for injury compensation for a patient falling out of a hospital bed.

After reading the above, if you believe that you have a justifiable claim for compensation for negligent care in a hospital, you should discuss the circumstances of your accident and injury with a medical negligence solicitor at the earliest practical opportunity, so that the solicitor will be able to collect evidence of negligence in support of your claim for a fall out of a hospital bed while it is still recent.