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New York Rules That Hospitals Have a Duty to Inform Drivers about Effects of Medication

In December 2015, a state appellate court held that a hospital owed a duty to other drivers to inform patients about the effects of medication administered at the hospital.

According to one news source, on March 4, 2009, a patient sought treatment at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, NY. As part of her treatment, the hospital gave the patient an opioid narcotic painkiller and a benzodiazepine drug. However, the hospital did not warn her that the medication impaired or could impair her ability to safely operate an automobile. After leaving the hospital and driving herself, the patient was involved in an accident that injured Edwin Davis. As she was driving, the patient’s car crossed a double yellow line and struck a bus driven by Davis. In Davis v. South Nassau Communities Hosp., Davis brought suit against the hospital, alleging that the crash was the result of the hospital’s failure to warn the patient about the effects of the medication.

The court held that the hospital owed a duty to other motorists to warn the patient that the medication administered to her either impaired or could have impaired her ability to safely operate an automobile. The court reasoned that the hospital’s employees were the only people who could have provided a proper warning of the effects of the medication.

In finding that the hospital owed a duty to Davis, the court reasoned that since the hospital gave the patient the medication without warning her about the effects, its failure put every other car on the road at risk. The court noted three considerations in coming to its conclusion. First, the cost to physicians and hospitals in informing patients of the effects is small, especially since physicians already have an obligation to inform patients of the effects. Second, the hospital can meet its duty simply by informing patients of the dangers of the medication, and it does not require the hospital to prevent a patient from leaving. Third, the duty does not greatly extend the duty of care but continues to uphold the idea that courts should be cautious in recognizing a duty. Therefore, the court found that the hospital had a duty to Davis to warn the patient that the drugs could impair her ability to safely operate an automobile.

Third Party Liability

Third party liability is a legal concept that refers to the obligation of third parties (such as insurance companies, individuals, or entities) to pay part or all of the injured party’s medical bills. Some courts have expanded the duty of a treating physician or hospital to include a duty to people other than the patient when another person was injured as a result of the physician’s treatment.

Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?

If you have been injured in a truck or car accident, and you believe the driver may have been impaired, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries. Our goal at Moll Law Group is to inform consumers of potentially dangerous products and provide assistance with the filing of claims. If you were injured in a car accident, there may be other liable parties aside from the driver. Call Moll Law Group today at (312) 462-1700 to set up your free consultation.

See More Posts:

Common Carriers Must Take Reasonable Care or Face Liability, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 12, 2016.

State-Owned Railway Is Protected by Sovereign Immunity, Supreme Court Decides, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 9, 2016.

Illinois Protects Police with Partial Immunity in Police Misconduct Cases, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2016.

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