When you are a victim of negligence or other forms of medical malpractice at a hospital, you will most likely sue the doctor or hospital staff that is responsible. However, this doesn't mean the hospital themselves should not be sued. There are many instances when the malpractice suit directly or indirectly involves the hospital, therefore they should be involved in your lawsuit. Here is more information about when you should sue the hospital.
Identifying Malpractice as Negligence
One of the most important things to understand is that the hospital is only liable when the injury or illness occurred as the result of negligence by a hospital employee. If an employee of the hospital, whether it is a triage nurse or paramedic, is negligent and it leads to injury or harm of a patient, the hospital is liable for the consequences. This is because the hospital is responsible for proper training and supervision of their employees. Negligence by an employee becomes the hospital's lawsuit, not the employee's.
Keep in mind this is only for negligence. The act must have been due to the employee's failure to provide good care to the patient, and not a purposeful act. If a nurse's ex-boyfriend comes into the hospital and she does something to purposely harm him, that is not negligence. The nurse can be sued for damages, not the hospital. However, if a nurse is drawing blood and attempts to draw it from an artery instead of a vein, nerve pain or nerve damage experience by the patient would be the fault of the hospital since it is considered negligence.
Deciding Who to Sue for Malpractice
Keep in mind this is only for hospital employees. Most doctors are not hospital employees, but nurses, paramedics, office staff, and medical technicians are. This is where the tricky part comes in. If a doctor or surgeon misdiagnoses a patient or makes a mistake during surgery, that doctor or surgeon is liable, but the hospital is not. Additionally, if a hospital employee was acting under the supervision of a doctor and they harm a patient due to negligence, the doctor is liable. The latter is more difficult, as the person liable will depend on if the doctor was present and whether they had control over what occurred.
When Doctors Are Hospital Employees
While it is less common, there are some cases where doctors are hospital employees, therefore their negligence becomes the hospital's liability. Most doctors work as independent contractors and have their own medical malpractice coverage. These doctors are liable for their own mistakes and injuries caused to patients. However, some hospitals have doctors as employees, where they schedule their time, have to approve time off, and set fees the doctors can charge.
When a Doctor Becomes the Hospital's Liability
There are exceptions regarding independent contractor doctors and who is liable for their negligence. While they are usually liable for their own mistakes, there are some instances where the hospital becomes liable. For example, if the hospital was aware that they had a doctor on staff with a history of substance abuse, or who had a habit of making incorrect diagnoses, they could be responsible for any damages that doctor made.
If you received an injury due to negligence, the first thing you should do is contact a medical malpractice lawyer like McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C. They will help you determine who you are suing, and whether or not you should sue the hospital.Share
9 April 2015
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