Asked in Workers' Compensation for Arizona

Q: If a worker calls a nurse triage line to report an injury but refuses a triage, is there any liability on the nurse if

something happens later in relation to that initial injury? Technically the nurse/patient relationship starts as soon as a nurse answers the phone but a patient has the right to refuse treatment in any other setting.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Joel Friedman
Joel Friedman
Answered
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Thank you for the question, but I don't think it has anything to do with a workers' compensation claim. The issue is more related to liability of a healthcare provider when the "patient" does not accept treatment in the first place. The general rule is that the provider is responsible if they are negligent, meaning they do something wrong, and if they never actually do anything because the patient refuses treatment, it is not clear to me how the nurse would have been negligent. I don't believe he or she would have any duty, another key issue, to ask more and more questions if the caller refuses to answer any questions or stops answering questions at some point.

You can reach me at joel.friedman82@gmail.com and, if it appears there is a valid complaint, I will contact other attorneys to see if someone is willing to speak with you directly. I do not just refer to personal injury lawyers without some more information than I have now.

Thank you

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
Answered

A: I don't see a workers' comp element to this either. In terms of liability for medical error, if it is a well-administered operation, the record should show that the patient declined the nurse's intervention. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

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