The hospital may be negligent in how it maintains its operations or conducting improper medical treatment on the patient. The hospital may also be liable for its doctors’ and nurses’ medical malpractice.

Under the theory of vicarious liability, an employer is liable for an employee’s negligence while on the clock, performing his assigned tasks. For instance, an emergency room doctor may have failed to diagnose a very critical condition, resulting in a loved one’s death.

An OBGYN doctor may have performed a botched cesarean section, resulting in a birth injury to the infant. A nurse may have failed to give proper the proper prescription.

Can I Sue a Hospital for a Doctor’s Mistakes?

You can sue a hospital for the doctor’s or nurse’s improper treatment or negligence. Improper treatment claims occur when a patient receives treatment that is not sufficient to remedy their medical condition. These types of claims typically involve various medical malpractice issues that could include:

If the doctor or nurse was a independent contractor working at the hospital, then the hospital cannot be held liable and you must sue the doctor or nurse independently.

What are the Main Theories to Sue a Hospital?

There are two main legal theories under which you can sue a hospital: negligence and medical malpractice.

The hospital may be negligent in how it maintains its operations. For instance, the hospital may hire health care professionals who do not have the required educational background or training. The hospital may also improperly schedule staff so that during certain time intervals, too few doctors or nurses are on the clock, resulting in a lower quality of care for each patient.

The hospital may also be liable for its doctors’ and nurses’ medical malpractice. Under the theory of vicarious liability, an employer is liable for an employee’s negligence while on the clock, performing his assigned tasks.

For instance, an emergency room doctor may have failed to diagnose a very critical condition, resulting in a loved one’s death. An OBGYN doctor may have performed a botched cesarean section, resulting in a birth injury to the infant. A nurse may have failed to give proper the proper prescription.

What are Some Examples of Hospital Negligence?

Some examples of a hospital engaging in direct negligence include:

  • Failing to ensure that hospital staff meet the required standards for licenses, training, and education;
  • Failing to ensure that non-employees, such as independent contractors or attending physicians, in the hospital meet the proper credentials;
  • Not maintaining enough staff, nurses, or physicians to ensure the appropriate level of patient care;
  • Losing, mishandling, or unlawfully transferring confidential patient records;
  • 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 when they knew or should have known that the patient may have an allergic reaction;
  • Improper treatment/dressing of wounds; and/or
  • Disregard to medical care standards.

Remember, hospital’s have a higher standard of care than an ordinary, reasonable person because they have skills and resources beyond the ability of an ordinary, reasonable person. This means mistakes or negligence that normally wouldn’t apply to an ordinary person would apply to an institution like a hospital.

What are the Steps to Take to Sue a Hospital?

When you are injured after staying or being treated in a hospital, there are certain steps you want to take to make sure you get the relief you need and that your situation doesn’t become more serious.

There is an obvious first step of seeing a medical professional to get diagnosed and properly treated. If you are injured due to malpractice, it’s important to get another physician to help you determine what was the cause of your injury. This will be important evidence to support your claim, later on.

It also ensures that you do not sustain a serious injury and worsen your health. This will not limit your damages, but instead be a sign that you mitigated damages, which means you did your best to prevent the situation to worsen (which is often viewed favorably by the court).

  1. Act quickly. Your state may limit the amount of time you have to file your complaint and statute of limitations may expire on your case.
  2. Determine whether you believe the hospital can be sued. either for its own negligence or for the medical malpractice of one of its employees.
  3. Discuss case with a personal injury attorney.
  4. Gather all information. Including medical records, incident reports, photographs, and more.
  5. Contemplate what damages you would like to request. Damages can include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering. When you have decided which damages are applicable, try to calculate the damages. 
    1. For instance, estimate how much you lost in wages because the injury kept you out of work for an extended period of time.
  6. Determine who to sue like the hospital, doctor, and/or nurse.
  7. Draft and file your complaint. Your complaint should include the facts such as the negligent actions and resulting injuries, any claims you are asserting, and what damages you are seeking for each claim.

What are Some Legal Remedies Involved in a Hospital Lawsuit?

Hospital lawsuits that are based on the negligent actions of an employee will typically result in a monetary damages award. This will offset the financial losses of the plaintiff which were caused by their injury. Damages may cover:

  • Hospital Bills;
  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Future medical bills relating to injury; and/or
  • Emotional distress.

Can I Sue a Hospital for Wrongful Death?

Yes, you can sue a hospital for wrongful death if they contributed to the death of a loved one by being negligent in their medical procedures. Wrongful death is a lawsuit brought by a family member of the deceased victim against the person who caused the death.

The standard of proof for wrongful death claims is also lower than criminal cases; in other words, it is easier to win a wrongful death case than it is to get a conviction for a criminal case.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue a Hospital?

Medical malpractice and even negligence lawsuits are extremely complicated. Often, you need to gather and pore over very confusing medical records. In addition, many states require expert medical witnesses such as doctors to review these records, analyze them, and testify as to how they interpret them.

A personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your claims, review your medical records, craft skillful arguments, and decide between settlement negotiations and trial.