How to Sue a Hospital

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Most Common Personal Injury Law Issues:

When Should I Sue a Hospital?

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

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

Medical malpractice lawsuits cost the medical profession millions of dollars a year. In order to shield themselves from liability, many hospitals employ doctors as independent contractors. This means that the doctor is not an official employee of the hospital. The doctor does not receive benefits, is not taxed by the hospital, and does not receive a W2.


Usually, you must sue the doctor directly, and not the hospital, if the doctor is an independent contractor. The doctors are required to carry medical malpractice insurance.

However, there are situations in which you can sue a hospital for a doctor’s mistake:


How to Sue a Hospital


  1. Determine whether you believe the hospital can be sued – either for its own negligence or for the medical malpractice of one of its employees.
  2. Gather all information, including medical records, incident reports, photographs, and more.
  3. 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. For instance, estimate how much you lost in wages because the injury kept you out of work for an extended period of time.
  4. Act quickly. Your state may limit the amount of time you have to file your complaint.
  5. 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.


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.


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Last Modified: 08-09-2016 01:56 PM PDT

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