If an individual is prescribed pain medication, drives from the hospital and causes an accident, the doctor may be liable for third-party damages. This is what a New York court determined in one case that took place in 2009. A woman drove herself home from the hospital shortly after receiving pain medication, and she was not warned of the dangers of doing so.
She then veered into traffic while driving home and hit another vehicle. The driver of that vehicle suffered injuries and took legal action against the woman's doctor and the hospital for medical malpractice. Both defendants moved to get the suit dismissed, and their motion was granted by a trial court. However, the injured driver appealed the case all the way to the state's Court of Appeals, where the court ruled 4-2 to allow the case to proceed.
Writing for the majority, one justice explained that the doctor created a peril for all drivers when giving a patient medication without explaining potential side effects. The Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Medical Association both filed briefs disagreeing with the court's decision. However, the court argued that doctors have the responsibility to advise patients of all dangerous side effects a medication may cause.
If an individual is injured or their condition worsened because of hospital negligence, it may be possible to take legal action. With the help of an attorney, it may be possible to win compensation for medical bills, lost wages and lost future earnings. Compensation may be awarded through a formal trial or through informal negotiations outside of court. In some cases, informal negotiations may lead to a faster resolution in the favor of the injured victim.