Injury accidents can take place virtually anywhere, including in a hospital. If you believe that you were harmed as a result of someone else’s negligence, then it is essential that you speak with a competent North Carolina personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to understand and protect any legal rights that you may have.
One aspect that an attorney can assist you with is determining the appropriate venue and method for asserting your rights. In a recent appellate opinion, a North Carolina court discussed whether a plaintiff’s cause of action was properly based in medical malpractice or personal injury. In the lawsuit, a hospital patient was injured during a fall while undergoing an x-ray examination. The plaintiff asserted a cause of action for ordinary negligence. During discovery, however, the evidence indicated that the fall happened when the technician operating the x-ray machine was rendering specialized services that required skill and clinical judgment. As a result, an issue arose regarding whether the plaintiff should have brought the claim as a medical malpractice action, which would have required compliance with certain procedural rules.
The plaintiff was an elderly woman who was brought to the hospital by her daughter on the day of the accident. The mother had been experiencing chest pains after suffering a fall several days beforehand. She had a history of falling as a result of her lack of steadiness and she frequently requested assistance to walk. At the emergency room, the personnel determined that a chest x-ray was appropriate. She was transported to the radiology room in a wheelchair. The technician asked the elderly woman whether she would be able to stand for the procedure and she indicated that she believed she would be able to stand. Once she stood up and walked a few steps, the technician indicated that she seemed stable so he turned around and walked a few steps away to position the equipment. It was at that time that he turned around to observe the elderly woman falling backward, resulting in a severe traumatic brain injury.