Family Of Sacramento Woman Sues Nursing Home For Her Death, Part 4 of 6

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury case and its proceedings.)

In Hastie v. Handeland (1969) 274 Cal. App. 2d 599, a case involving a vehicular collision and subsequent death of the victim following medical care, the court held a tortfeasor was liable for the subsequent injury suffered during medical treatment. Id. at pp. 604-605 If death resulted from a risk inherent in the medical treatment reasonably required to cure the injuries caused by the accident, respondents the original would be liable irrespective of whether such treatment was rendered in a proper or a negligent manner.

The question is one of causation, and where the additional harm results either from the negligence of doctors or hospitals who furnish necessary medical care, or from the materialization of a risk inherent to necessary medical care, the chain of causation set in motion by the original tort remains unbroken. [Citations.] (Id. at p. 606.)

In one case, the victim of a motorcyle accident was injured further by a trauma room surgeon. Following that care, the patient sought care from Kaiser Foundation facilities, where their negligence further aggravated the situation. The court held that the trauma surgeon was responsible for the additional injuries caused by the negligence of the Kaiser staff. The court explained: The principle usually appears in cases involving automobile accidents, where the initial tortfeasor’s careless driving exposed the plaintiff to a risk of physical harm, including medical treatment for the injuries resulting from the accident. The initial tortfeasor therefore is liable for the resultant medical treatment. The rationale for the rule is that such medical treatment is closely and reasonably associated with the immediate consequences of the defendant’s act and forms a normal part of its aftermath.

Put more succinctly, the rationale has been expressed as subsequent negligent medical treatment is foreseeable as a matter of law. . [W]hen subsequent medical treatment of an injury results in aggravation of the injury, the original tortfeasor is liable because he or she is always considered to be a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s further injuries. Maxwell v. Powers, supra, 22 Cal. App. 4th at pp. 1606-1607. (See Part 5 of 6.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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