Corporate negligence is the legal doctrine that holds healthcare facilities and hospitals liable for any patient injury. Before the corporate negligence doctrine was enacted, hospitals were often protected from lawsuits for the malpractice or negligence of their doctors and medical staff. The injured client usually had to file their claim against an individual, like a doctor or the lead medical personnel. Under corporate negligence doctrines, a client may sue the health care business as a whole for the negligence of its employees.
In the past, the presiding surgeon was usually held responsible for the actions of all employees under their supervision under the “captain of the ship” doctrine. The captain of the ship doctrine failed to recognize that many employees were not under the direct supervision of a surgeon.
In the 1991 Pennsylvania case of Thompson v. Nason Hospital, the court ruled that the hospital was responsible for the actions of all surgeons who practiced there, even if they were not considered employees of the hospital. The ruling in this case established the doctrine of corporate negligence, which has since been upheld and expanded by courts in other states.
The corporate negligence doctrine requires health plan providers and medical organizations to:
- Ensure clients that their doctors are properly qualified and certified to provide treatment; and
- Create and execute policies that allow the client to receive quality medical treatment and care.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Corporate Negligence?
Corporate negligence liability often applies to smaller healthcare businesses and organizations. Liability may extend to any surgeons or specialists who practice at the hospital, regardless of whether the hospital employs them. Corporate negligence liability laws vary by state.
Today, injured clients can recover damages in instances where they might have been limited in the past. Corporate negligence laws may also apply to other entities that provide comprehensive medical care for clients, including nursing homes, dentist offices, and medical clinics.
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What Are Some Examples of a Corporate Negligence Violation?
Corporate negligence violations include:
- Failing to check doctor’s credentials;
- Failing to perform a thorough license check;
- Failing to maintain and provide a safe, clean medical environment;
- Failing to train medical employees properly; and
- Implementing unsafe policies.
Health care organizations may be required to remove any doctors or medical staff known to pose a risk to patients and clients, such as those having a history of medical malpractice or violating medical industry standards.
Does Corporate Negligence Apply to Nursing Homes?
Under the corporate negligence doctrine, any type of healthcare organization can be negligent in causing a patient’s injury. Any small healthcare business, including a nursing home, medical clinic, or dentist’s office, could be held responsible for the actions of their employees if a patient is injured.
Any facility that provides comprehensive care can be found liable under the corporate negligence doctrine. The definition of “comprehensive care” has been expanded to cover many areas.
Are There Any Legal Remedies for Corporate Negligence Violations?
Corporate negligence policies allow a patient to sue a hospital or medical organization for an employee’s misconduct. Corporate negligence lawsuits can result in legal remedies such as a monetary damages award to compensate the client for economic losses.
Monetary damages can cover expenses such as medical bills, lost work wages, and other costs. Depending on the case, other consequences may occur, such as the termination of a doctor’s employment with the organization.
Can I Sue for Corporate Negligence in Nursing Homes?
In the 1998 case of Shannon v. McNulty, the court found that the corporate negligence doctrine could be applied to health management organizations. In the 2010 case of Scampone v. Grane Health Care Company, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the doctrine of corporate negligence applies to nursing care facilities as well as hospitals because nursing homes provide comprehensive medical care.
Any healthcare business, including a nursing home, medical clinic, or dentists’ office, could be sued under the doctrine of corporate negligence for the actions of its employees. A court might rule that corporate negligence does not apply to the business in question. In past cases, such as Scampone v. Grane, the court has based its decision on the level of care provided by the facility. Any facility that provides comprehensive care can be found liable under the corporate negligence doctrine, and the definition of comprehensive care has been expanded over time.
What Does Corporate Negligence Mean for Me?
If you are injured in a nursing home, hospital, or any type of healthcare facility or health-related business, you may file a claim against the individual who caused you harm. You can file a claim against the facility itself as long as negligence or recklessness caused your injuries.
- Under the corporate negligence doctrine, hospitals and other healthcare businesses are responsible for:
- Hiring safe staff, employees, doctors, and surgeons and ensuring they are properly trained and competent
- Implementing safety and care policies protecting the well-being of patients and guests
- Providing a safe and clean environment
How Do I File a Legal Claim Against a Hospital?
Even with the corporate negligence doctrine on your side, filing a medical malpractice or personal injury lawsuit against a healthcare business can be challenging. Doctors and other healthcare professionals are protected by unions, professional associations, and other professionals. You may not have access to all the files and information you need to prove negligence occurred. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have legal teams and large insurance companies protecting them from liability.
If you have been injured in a healthcare facility, a doctor’s clinic, a walk-in clinic, a dentist’s office, a nursing home, or any healthcare-related business, use LegalMatch to contact a personal injury or medical malpractice attorney for a consultation. Attorneys on LegalMatch are not afraid to represent clients against large defendants. Many attorneys hire medical consultants and other experts to build strong cases.
To find a lawyer near you, use LegalMatch.
Can Corporate Negligence Apply to Auto Defects?
Negligent drivers can be held responsible for car accidents, but what if the manufacturer was negligent? Perhaps the manufacturing company knew that the braking systems on their cars could fail in cold weather, but they covered it up because a recall would be expensive and generate bad press. A company cannot fail to identify a design problem when it absolutely should have done so.
Meanwhile, say a driver’s brakes go out when it’s 20 degrees outside. The driver loses control of their car and strikes another car. People in both vehicles are injured. The company had a duty to produce a safe vehicle, failed to do so, and directly caused harm as a result.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Assistance with Corporate Negligence Issues?
Corporate negligence doctrines often allow clients to receive compensation for faulty medical care and other issues. Medical negligence cases can often be highly complex, especially when determining who is responsible for a client’s losses.
You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you need legal assistance with corporate negligence claims. Your lawyer can research the law and represent you in court to help you receive the appropriate legal remedy. Use LegalMatch to find a lawyer today.