Hospital found responsible for injuries sustained in a car accident

Hospital found responsible for injuries sustained in a car accident

A recent case posed an interesting question – when can a car accident be considered medical malpractice? This issue was raised in the context of an individual who was hurt in a car crash due in part to the failure of her doctors to warn her of the side effects of the drugs they administered to her. The woman had been admitted to the emergency room and was treated with intravenous drugs. She was later released from the ER, however hospital staff failed to warn her that she may be impaired and unable to operate a motor vehicle.

The patient then left the ER and got behind the wheel over her car. While driving, she became disoriented and crossed the yellow lines – driving into oncoming traffic and crashed into another car. The driver of that vehicle sustained serious personal injuries. The inured driver then sued the hospital asserting that the clinicians owed a duty to the injured party and that the hospital owed a duty to warn the patient, and the breach of that warning created a danger for every motorist in the patient's vicinity.

Thus, on appeal the court determined that the duty of care of the hospital and the prescribing physician extended to the people who may be injured as the result of the failure to fulfill their responsibility to the patient.

In other words, a medical provider's duty of care extends not just to their patients, but also to third parties who may subsequently be injured by those patients.

In California, several cases have found that a doctor's duty extends beyond just the patient but may include others who may be foreseeably harmed.

For more information, or if you believe that you have been injured as the result of medical malpractice, please contact the dedicated San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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