Suing a Hospital for Medical Malpractice

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Suing a Hospital for Medical Malpractice

Patients may sue a hospital for medical malpractice if an employee of the hospital injured them. Generally, only nurses, paramedics, and medical technicians are considered employees. Doctors are considered independent contractors, and they hold their own personal malpractice insurance.

Negligent Hospital Employees

Hospitals are liable for their employees’ negligence. In other words, if an employee acts carelessly when treating or dealing with a patient, then the hospital will be financially responsible for the employee’s actions. Please note that not all acts of carelessness are considered to be negligent. Negligence may be a difficult term to define, but it does include any action that is shocking to the general public.

As doctors are not normally considered hospital employees, patients may not be able to sue a hospital for their doctor’s negligence. However, the patient will be able to sue the doctor directly, but this is done on a case-by-case assessment. Furthermore, if a hospital employee was negligent due to a doctor’s supervision, the patient may sue both the hospital and doctor.


Are Doctors Ever Considered to Be Employees?

There are special cases where doctors are considered to be hospital employees. This really depends on the nature of the relationship the doctors have with the hospitals, especially on how much control the hospital exerts over the doctor. The doctor is more likely to be deemed a hospital employee when the hospital controls the doctor’s hours and vacation time, as well as when the hospital sets the doctor’s fees.

Exception Where Hospitals Are Liable for Non-Employee Doctors

If the hospital does not inform their patients that the doctor is an independent contractor or if the hospital keeps an incompetent doctor on staff, then the hospital will be liable for the doctor’s malpractice. The former scenario is often the case for emergency room doctors. Patients  in an emergency room will likely be obtaining care, and many of them may be unconscious, meaning that care must be given without their informed consent.

Consulting an Attorney

If you are seeking to make a medical malpractice claim, a personal injury attorney can assist you. He will help you investigate whom you can sue and how viable your claims are.

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Last Modified: 10-03-2016 09:12 PM PDT

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