A corporation's sign fell on my friend's foot which caused her to use crutches.
She has breast cancer and the crutches rubbed the skin on her breast raw after only a few hours use. She now has exposed tumors and never had them before. Her doctors are now afraid of infection setting in which could kill her. She has always been against having Chemotherapy & her doctors said she could have the surgery to remove the cancer without Chemotherapy. But now, after the injury, they'll ONLY operate WITH Chemotherapy. She already knows she has a malpractice suit against the hospital for giving her crutches, knowing she has breast cancer, but does she ALSO have a FULL suit against the corporation? In California, is the act of the fallen sign responsible for EVERYTHING that follows?
In California, the defendant "takes the plaintiff as they find them" and may be responsible for injury that would not have occurred but for some physical condition that may have made the more susceptible to injury. She should consult a personal injury attorney about the sign issue. She will need to show that the company knew or should have known that their sign created a dangerous condition. As far as the potential "medical malpractice" claim, this is highly speculative and would require a doctor providing an opinion that prescribing crutches for a patient with a foot injury who is also known to have breast cancer is below the "standard of care". There are strict time deadlines on filing both types of claims so, she should consult with and/or retain an attorney immediately if she wishes to pursue one or more of these claims.
Although there is a theory in the law that if injured the defendant is also responsible for injuries which occur as a result of receiving treatment for the injury. There is also a defenses for pre-existing condition. This is a very complicated case.
I would recommend that your friend meet with medical malpractice attorney who can review her medical records.
My colleague is right. There are a multitude of issues at hand here. Luckily, I have personally had many clients with these same sorts of injuries in California and can speak to it. Pre Existing medical conditions can complicate the case significantly. so care should be taken in how that is presented. Irregardless of that pre existing cancer, your friend has a very strong case on many levels. She may have previously survived the cancer without chemotherapy, however now due to the injury chemotherapy is required which puts a strain on her life, which in turn can lead back to the sign falling. I have had numerous clients win large settlements that took them through their last days and left a nest egg for their family with injuries like this. I urge you to contact a local attorney immediately to address this suit. Time is of the essence when dealing with these things so you should call immediately.
This is a very complex issue. The law was generally that if someone caused you injury and in the course of getting reasonable treatment for the inury, medical malpractice occurred causing fy=urther injury, the original party responsible for the injury could be liable for the damage due to subsequent malpractice. It was deemed legally forseeable. A few years ago the law changed when the court said that the deft should not be responsible for all damages if some were caused by another party who malpracticed. Now the original party can point a finger at the treaters to avoid paying for all damage. If your friend brings a med mal case, it may be best to consolidate it with the case against the original party causing injury. Your frined needs to have good legal representation in both matters to make sure she/he recovers for all damages.
If there is liability in "tort" (e.g., negligence or strict liability) for the sign falling on your friend, then there should be liability for damages and complications reasonably foreseeable which follow from that trauma except for superseding causes (e.g., like your friend assuming the risk of further injury as by refusing necessary medical treatment or some third party's extraordinary criminal behavior). Your friend will need competent evidence that the trauma of crutch use caused or exacerbated her breast cancer.
(This is a complicated fact scenario and medical question which really cannot be answered specifically. Your friend should take all of her medical records to a competent attorney and have them reviewed. Generally, all of the consequences which flow from an original negligent act are compensable, even malpractice committed after the initial injury. All are foreseeable consequences of the original injury.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
The egg shell skull doctrine, which is applicable in most states, says that hypersensitive plaintiffs can recover for damages which a healthier person would not have sustained. That is, your friend can recover for her otherwise unforeseeable injuries even if they only occurred because of her preexisting condition being aggravated.
Also, subsequent reinjury and subsequent medical treatment negligence injures are foreseeable damages to a plaintiff in most jurisdictions.
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