Suing a Hospital for Medical Malpractice

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Can a Hospital Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?

Patients may sue a hospital for medical malpractice if an employee of the hospital injures them. Generally, only nurses, paramedics and medical technicians are considered employees. Doctors may be considered independent contractors, who 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 negligent. Negligence may be a difficult term to define, but should include any action that is shocking to the general public.

As doctors are not normally considered hospital employees, patients may not be liable to a hospital for their doctor’s negligence. The patient will be able to sue the doctor though. However, 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.

Exception Where Doctors Are 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. The doctor is more likely to be deemed a hospital employee when the hospital controls the doctor’s hours and vacation, and where 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. The former is often the case for emergency room doctors. Many patients will be obtaining care in an emergency situation, and sometimes, are unconscious and a decision is made without their informed consent.


Consulting an Attorney

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

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 08-30-2016 03:11 PM PDT

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