Hospitals and their staff have an obligation to provide proper, safe medical care to patients in their charge. However, sometimes errors occur, which can result in life-changing injury or illness. Suing a hospital or healthcare system can be daunting, and there are certain factors that must be considered before filing a claim or lawsuit. Having a medical malpractice law firm evaluate your case can help you understand the nuances of these types of cases and who may be responsible for any injuries caused by negligence.
When Hospitals are Liable for Employee Actions
Nurses, CNA’s, technicians, and other medical workers are typically employees of hospitals. If their incompetence or negligence causes injury, illness, or death, the hospital that employs them most likely will be liable for any damages caused. For example, if a nurse gives a patient the wrong medication and the patient is harmed as a result, the hospital could be liable for the nurse’s mistake and be sued for medical malpractice.
Physicians and Hospital Employees
Many physicians and surgeons who work in hospitals are not direct employees of the facility. Unless a doctor who makes a medical error is an employee, the hospital usually will not be liable if the doctor’s actions cause injury or harm.
Similarly, if a hospital employee is negligent while under a doctor’s supervision, the hospital may not be liable, and the patient may have to file a claim with the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company instead. Things can get very complex very quickly in these situations. Top-rated personal injury lawyers know how to sort out the facts to determine which parties may be held accountable for a patient’s injuries.
Determining Whether a Doctor is an Employee of the Hospital
Figuring-out the nature of a physician’s relationship with a hospital is a critical piece of the puzzle if you are considering filing a medical malpractice claim. If a doctor is an employee, the hospital typically will have control over their hours and vacation time, and will take payroll taxes out of any compensation the doctor receives. If a doctor is affiliated with a hospital but classified as an independent contractor, the hospital usually cannot be held liable for the doctor’s medical malpractice, even if the malpractice occurred there.
Other Situations in Which a Hospital May Be Liable
It is important to note that in some cases, if a physician appeared to be an employee of a hospital, the hospital may be liable if the patient was not informed that the doctor was not an employee. In addition, some states may hold a hospital financially liable if it continues to give staff or admitting privileges to a doctor who is incompetent or dangerous, whether the facility’s administration was aware of it or not.
Medical malpractice law is complex. Before filing a claim, make sure to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.