Key Decisions

March 2013 – Injury In Hospital Not Necessarily Professional Services

(filed under: Key Decisions Archive | March 22, 2013)

Injury In Hospital Not Necessarily Professional Services

Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital
(Cal. Ct. of App., 2d Dist.), filed February 27, 2013

KEY FACTS

Catherine Flores was a patient at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital.  Flores injured her left knee and elbow when a bed rail collapsed, causing her to fall to the floor.  Flores sued the hospital for general negligence and premises liability.

The hospital asserted that Flores’s lawsuit was time barred because she had not brought the lawsuit within one year after the date of her injury.  It argued that Flores’s lawsuit arose out of professional malpractice, which has a one-year statute of limitations.

The trial court concurred and dismissed Flores’s lawsuit.

HOLDING & REASONING

The Court of Appeal reversed.  Based on a survey of case law and statutory analysis, the court concluded that Flores’s action sounded in ordinary negligence, so as to be governed by the two-year statute applicable to personal injury actions.

ANALYSIS

It is not always easy to distinguish between ordinary and professional negligence.  Obviously, the distinction significantly impacts the applicable statute of limitations.