Can you sue the hospital for medical malpractice if you were injured at the hospital while getting treatment?
Although hospitals are always on the spotlight for unskilled care offered by staff like medical technicians, nurses, and paramedics, they are often not liable for any doctor’s negligence or malpractice. Here are a few pointers as to when a hospital can and cannot be held liable for medical malpractice by its staff.
Are Hospitals Responsible For Their Staff’s Actions?
Provided a person is employed by the hospital, you can hold the hospital liable if that employee harms you due to their incompetence. In short, if the employee is reckless/ negligent when treating a patient, the hospital can be held liable for any injuries to that patient.
Remember that not every action or mistake that happens in a hospital is because of the hospital’s incompetence. To sue for malpractice, you have to show that the doctor caused you harm in a way that any other doctor given the same circumstances, wouldn’t have.
As long as the doctor or staff of the hospital was doing something related to their job when you were injured, you can sue the hospital. For instance, if the doctor injects you with the wrong medicine in his office, then the hospital can be held responsible for the doctor’s mistake.
In addition, if an employee of the hospital, under the supervision of a doctor commits medical malpractice, you can sue the doctor but the hospital may not be held responsible. If an employee committed malpractice under the doctor’s supervision depends on:1. If the doctor was there
2. If the doctor had the capacity to prevent the employee from malpractice
For instance, you can sue a surgeon for medical malpractice if they leave a sponge inside you after surgery because the attending nurse did not correctly count the surgical sponges.
Is A Doctor A Hospital Employee?
A doctor can be considered an employee of the hospital depending on the kind of relationship they have with the hospital. Most doctors are typically not employees of the hospital; rather, they are independent contractors. This means that even if the doctor’s malpractice happened in the hospital, you can’t hold the hospital responsible for their mistakes.
A doctor is considered an employee of the hospital if:
- The fee that he/she can charge is controlled by the hospital
- The hospitals gives the doctor vacation time and working hours
Can A Hospital Be Held Responsible For Non-Employee Doctor Medical Malpractice?
There are certain exceptional situations where a hospital can be held liable for a non-employee doctor’s malpractice. For instance, if there is proof that the hospital gives incompetent doctors and staff (even if they are independent contractors) privileges to treat patients.
The hospital can also be held responsible if they knew that the doctor was previously competent but later became incompetent and still allowed him to treat patients. For example, if a doctor becomes addicted to drugs and the hospital knows about it but still lets him treat patients, this can create grounds for suing the hospital for medical malpractice if the doctor injures you.
Another exceptional case where you can sue the hospital is whereby the hospital fails to inform you that the doctor is not an employee before seeking treatment from them. Many hospitals try to avoid this predicament by including in patient admission forms that the doctor is not employed by the hospital.
If you are injured in the ER, then the situation is different because the hospital may not have the chance to tell you that a doctor is not employed there. This means that if you are an ER patient, you can file a lawsuit against the hospital for a doctor’s malpractice.
It is very important that you seek help from a qualified medical malpractice lawyer. Medical malpractice law is highly regulated by a complicated body of rules, which varies from one state to another.
You can speak to one of our experienced medical malpractice lawyers. We will provide you with a free initial consultation and advise you of your rights. We will try as much to understand your side of the story and work with insurance companies, hospitals, and other attorneys to ensure you get justice.
To set up your free consultation or to speak with one of our lawyers, call (800)-200-7752 or fill out our contact form today.