Can you sue the hospital after sustaining an injury due to the medical treatment offered at the facility?
Although hospitals often bear legal liability for negligent and incompetent care provided by medical technicians, nurses, and other related medical personnel, they are not always directly responsible for a doctor’s medical practice. Therefore, in some cases, you may not be able to hold the hospital liable for your injuries.
We have created a short primer about when you can expect to file a successful lawsuit against the hospital for medical malpractice when doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, or hospital employees are involved.
Hospitals should be liable for their employees’ negligence
The hospital typically is liable if one of its employees acts incompetently and injures a patient. Negligence occurs when the employee does not exercise reasonable caution in treating the patient. In such cases, the hospital will often bear responsibility for any injuries that occur.
A patient can usually sue the hospital if the employee was performing a work-related task when he or she caused injury to the patient. For instance, if an anesthesiologist supplied a patient with a wrong dose of anesthesia or other medicine and the patient suffers harm as a result, the hospital could be held responsible for the mistake.
If the doctor is supervising a hospital employee who acts negligently while under his or her supervision, the supervisor may be held accountable, too. If it is a teaching hospital, you can make a strong claim for liability; after all, the hospital’s charter likely includes language that dictates its responsibility for its students.
Remember, though, that the majority of doctors working in hospitals are not employees of the facility. These doctors operate as independent contractors under the law. As a result, the hospital could avoid liability for injuries to a patient resulting from the doctor’s malpractice.
Conditions under which hospitals are liable for a non-employee doctor’s actions
Although a hospital is generally not responsible for the malpractice of an independent contractor physician, the hospital may bear liability in certain cases. These include:
- The doctor on staff is incompetent, inebriated, or dangerous. The hospital is liable for patient injuries if the doctor is dangerous. For example, if a hospital hires a surgeon who has been repeatedly disciplined by the State Board, has had had his/her privileges revoked at other facilities because of negligence or incompetence, or has a known substance-abuse problem, then the hospital could be liable.
- The doctor appeared to be a hospital employee. A patient may sue the hospital for a doctor’s malpractice if the hospital failed to clearly indicate to the patient that the doctor is not a hospital employee. Often, hospitals avoid this issue by indicating on hospital admission forms that the doctor is not an employee.
- The Clark In Ohio, a patient may sue the hospital if the patient chose that hospital for medical care and had a physician assigned to him or her by the hospital. This frequently happens when patients seek treatment in the emergency room.
At Crandall & Pera Law, our experienced Ohio and Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys understand the physical and financial losses you may be facing due to hospital or doctor negligence. Allow us to review your case with a free consultation to see how we can help you recover compensation. Call our law office today at 877.686.8879, or fill out our contact form to get started.