Who Can You Sue if the Doctor Makes a Mistake While Treating You in the Hospital?
Medical malpractice lawsuits occur when a healthcare provider injures a patient due to negligence. If the incident occurs in a hospital, you may think that the hospital is liable, but there are a lot of what-ifs and questions about who can be held responsible. It often depends on many factors, from the laws in your state to the who caused the accident.
Did the Mistake Constitute Negligence?
Before you can sue anyone for an injury that occurred in the hospital, you have to determine whether the incident rises to negligence. To prove medical malpractice, you must show that you had a doctor-patient relationship and that the doctor was negligent. You must also show that the doctor’s negligence caused you harm. In some cases, it can be difficult to determine whether the doctor or your prior condition actually caused the harm. Even if the doctor caused the injury, you have to show that you have specific damages.
Who Employs the Doctor?
One you determine whether you have a medical malpractice lawsuit, you have to look at the relationship between the provider and location. If the injury occurred while you were hospitalized, you may have recourse against the hospital, if the responsible party was employed by the hospital itself. Hospitals are only liable for the actions of their employees, such as nurses, support staff or technicians. Most hospitals don’t actually employ doctors but allow doctors to have privileges to practice and treat patients at the hospital. Doctors are considered independent contractors.
The hospital may also refuse to accept liability for their employee’s actions if the incident occurred under the supervision of a doctor. If the doctor was present and had control to prevent the negligence, the hospital may be off the hook for an injury. If the nurse, employed by the hospital, gave the wrong medication during a surgery where the doctor was in charge, the hospital may not be liable.
Of course, there are multiple exceptions to the rule. In some cases, the hospital has to make it clear to the patient that the doctor is an independent contractor and not employed by the hospital. Some states have rules that apply to emergency situations. In some places, the hospital can be held liable if they keep an incompetent doctor on staff.
Medical Malpractice Claims Are Complex
Who you sue depends on many factors. To fully understand who is liable for your medical injuries, it can take a medical malpractice lawyer to sort through the layers of relationships and legal aspects of your situation. Discuss your injuries with a hospital malpractice lawyer to determine the next steps to take.