Hospital Negligence Lawyers
What is Hospital Negligence?
Hospital negligence occurs when a hospital or health care facility fails to follow the required duty of care in dealing with patients. A person may be able to file a negligence claim against the hospital if the breach of duty directly causes measurable injuries or losses. Hospital negligence is sometimes called hospital medical malpractice.
Many medical malpractice claims involve injuries caused by a physician or other health care professional; however in a claim for hospital negligence, it is the medical institution itself that is being sued. Thus, there may be a high likelihood that more than one person was affected by the hospital’s negligence. If the hospital is found to be liable, they may have to reimburse the plaintiff(s) for their losses or injuries.
What are Some Examples of Hospital Negligence?
Hospital negligence can occur in two basic forms- the direct negligence of the hospital, or the negligence of a worker that the hospital was “vicariously liable” for. In the first instance, the direct acts of the hospital result in the breach of duty to the patient.
In the second type, it is not the hospital that performed the negligent act, but rather an employee of the hospital. However, the hospital may be held liable if the employee acted while under the hospital’s control, or if the hospital ordered the employee’s actions. This is known as “vicarious liability”, and requires that a number of additional elements to be proved.
Examples of direct hospital negligence include:
- Failing to ensure that hospital staff meet the required standards for licenses, training, and education
- Failing to ensure that non-employees in the hospital meet the proper credentials (non-employees may include independent contractors or “attending physicians”)
- Not maintaining enough staff, nurses, or physicians to ensure the appropriate level of patient care
- Losing, mishandling, or unlawfully transferring confidential patient records
Some examples of vicarious liability of a hospital can include:
- A nurse or technician giving a patient the wrong medication or an improper dosage
- Negligent care in an operation (such as leaving an object in the patient’s body)
- A health worker administering medication, where they knew or should have known that the patient may have an allergic reaction
- Improper treatment/dressing of wounds
- Disregard of proper medical care standards
When the hospital negligence claim is based on vicarious liability, it needs to be proven that the employee was acting under the control or direction of the hospital facility. Otherwise, the hospital may not be liable, but instead the employee themselves.
In a successful hospital negligence claim, the plaintiff may be able to recover losses such as hospital bills, additional costs associated with the injuries, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity. Punitive damages aren’t normally awarded in negligence claims, since the defendant is usually not acting intentionally.
How Can a Lawyer Help With a Hospital Negligence Lawsuit?
Most hospital negligence claims can be difficult to understand, especially if they involve legal theories like vicarious liability. If you have any issues involving the negligence of a hospital, you may wish to contact a lawyer in your area for advice. Your attorney can assist you in filing a claim and can help you obtain a damages award for your injuries.
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Last Modified: 03-06-2012 04:18 PM PST
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