Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Texas decided a case that illuminated the intersection between two different areas of personal injury law. Ultimately, the court determined that a slip-and-fall accident that occurs at a hospital does not fall within the hospital’s provision of health care and therefore should not be held to the heightened requirements of a medical malpractice action.
In the case, Reddic v. East Texas Medical Center Regional Health Care System, the plaintiff was a hospital visitor who slipped on a floor mat a few feet after entering the hospital. The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result and sued the hospital under a premises liability theory.
The Case Goes to Trial
At trial, the defendant hospital petitioned the court to dismiss the lawsuit because the plaintiff failed to submit an expert report validating her claims, as is required in medical malpractice cases. The plaintiff’s position was that a slip-and-fall accident taking place in a hospital is not so related to the hospital’s business of providing health care as to mandate the heightened requirements.
The lower court hearing the case agreed with the defendant hospital and dismissed the case for failure to comply with the expert report requirement. The plaintiff, unsatisfied with the ruling, appealed to a higher court.
The Plaintiff Wins on Appeal
The Supreme Court of Texas agreed with the plaintiff, explaining that while the accident did occur in a hospital, and the condition of the floors is a part of providing quality health care, the law requires more in order to qualify the case as a medical malpractice action. The court explained that in order to qualify as a medical malpractice action under the applicable Texas law, there has to be more of a connection than the mere fact that the injury occurred in a hospital. The court then reversed the lower court and ordered the case to proceed to trial.
Medical Malpractice Actions in Maryland
As in Texas, the law in Maryland requires that medical malpractice plaintiffs submit a form or statement prepared by an expert, explaining that in the expert’s opinion the case has merit. Without this statement, the case will not be allowed to proceed to trial, and the judge will likely dismiss the case. In some cases, a judge has dismissed a case with prejudice for failing to meet this requirement, meaning that the plaintiff will not be permitted to refile the claim even if the statement is later obtained.
Have You Been Injured While in a Maryland Hospital?
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, as is made evident above, medical malpractice cases are subject to heightened requirements that may make it more difficult for an unprepared plaintiff to successfully bring a case. To learn more about the requirements in a medical malpractice case, and to speak with an attorney about your injuries, call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Two Killed in Glen Burnie Head-On Collision; Alcohol Suspected To Be a Factor, Maryland Accident Law Blog, November 2, 2015.
Marine Struck and Killed in Thurmont by Hit-and-Run Driver, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 7, 2015.