Does my father have a case if he was being transported from the hospital to a long term care facility when a private ambulance company dropped him from the gurney?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does my father have a case if he was being transported from the hospital to a long term care facility when a private ambulance company dropped him from the gurney?

He has limited mobility and cannot walk. He was on able to get himself up from the floor. He received for stitches on the top of his head and was in pain for several weeks after. I called several lawyers and was told it was in negligent case but nobody ever calls back to represent him. Does he have a case? He questions me weekly to find him a lawyer because he feels what happened to him was not okay.

Asked on January 19, 2017 under Personal Injury, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The problem is, there are two elements to a successful personal injury case.
The first is liability, or fault: the person or business (I will call them "defendant" from here on) you sue must have done something intentially to injure you, or else injured you through negligence, or unreasonable carelessness. There seems to be liability in this case; it seems negligent to drop a patient from or off of a gurney.
But the second element is "damages," or what you can sue for. You can only sue for the sum of:
1) The out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance, medicare, or medicaid) medical costs the careless act caused you.
2) Lost wages and reduced future earning potential, if any. 
3) For injures causing *significant* disability or life impairment lasting typically months, years, or more, some amount for "pain and suffering"-- but the amount you can get will be minor until you start geting to permanent damage to a joint, impairment of vision, prominent facial scarring, constant lifelong pain or discomfort, etc.
Some stiches on the top of his head and pain for a few weeks will not generate much, if anything, in terms of a pain and suffering award. So unless your father incurred large medical bills specifically from the fall or lost significant amounts of earnings due to the injury, there is no point in suing--you will spend more on the lawsuit (even without a lawyer, since you'll need to hire a doctor or other medical person to testify about his injuries unless you're only suing for easily proven medical costs) than you will get back.

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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