Can I sue a hospital who has taken responsibility for heel ulcerations due to lack of care?

UPDATED: Jan 9, 2012

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Can I sue a hospital who has taken responsibility for heel ulcerations due to lack of care?

My 83 year old mother went into a hospital for a knee replacement. In 3 days she developed Stage 3 heel ulcerations which were not noticed on discharge. Upon arriving via medical transport to rehab, wound care was called in to evaluate. This was gross negligence at the very least. She is now home-bound, and her physical therapy for her knee is compromised. The hospital is asking to pay any bills incurred. Is there a suit here?

Asked on January 9, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Florida


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable hospital would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence, it may be possible to settle the case with the hospital's insurance carrier.  When your mother completes her medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your mother's medical bills and medical reports.  Your mother's personal injury claim filed with the hospital's insurance carrier should include these items. The medical bills are included in the claim whether or not they have been paid.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your mother's injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.

If the case is settled with the hospital's insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If your mother is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, she should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the hospital.  If the case is NOT settled with the hospital's insurance company, your mother's lawsuit against the hospital for negligence needs to be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your mother will lose her rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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