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Should I be worried that my patient, who was confused and at high-risk for falls, fell out of a chair during my shift?

Question:

Dear Nancy,

My patient fell when she got out of a chair. She was confused. She broke her hip. She was a high-risk for falls. Should I be worried? I have some assets. Should I move my assets over to my husband’s and children’s names? Should I get liability insurance or is it too late? Is liability insurance good for past issues?

Melva

Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Melva,

When a patient is injured under your care, it is a worrisome event. It is impossible to speak to your liability or potential liability for the patient’s fall. It would be in your best interest to seek legal advice from a nurse attorney or attorney who works in the area of professional negligence and who can provide you with specific advice as to your liability in this situation and who can represent you in any litigation that might arise from this incident.

You and your employer may not be in agreement about the circumstances surrounding the fall; that is, whether the fall was due to your negligence or whether the fall was an unfortunate accident. If there is a disagreement about your conduct in this incident, you may need your own attorney rather than relying on the employer’s attorney to fully represent you. Remember, it is the employer who has paid for the professional liability insurance for its employees and employees may not be named as insureds under the policy. If that is the case, the employer is the client of the attorney representing the employer,
not you.

Insofar as your assets are concerned, you would need to speak with your attorney about that issue
as well.

Professional liability insurance rarely covers situations that took place before the insurance policy came into effect. You could certainly explore this issue with your insurance agent, but it is highly unlikely that you could purchase insurance now for this past event.

Sincerely,
Nancy

By | 2014-09-19T00:00:00-04:00 September 19th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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