If you are hurt or taken ill, you trust that a visit to the doctor’s office is all it will take to receive the treatment you need so you can get back on your feet and carry on with your life. And this is what happens most of the time.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a patient to sustain injuries at the hands of a healthcare provider. If this happens, you may be in a position to sue the facility or the doctor who treated you for damages via a medical malpractice claim.
The hospital may be responsible for employee actions
Under the doctrine of “respondeat superior,” the hospital is typically responsible if its employee’s incompetence results in your injuries. In simple English, if a healthcare provider acted negligently, the hospital will usually be held liable for the resulting injuries.
For instance, if a registered nurse who is the hospital’s full-time employee administers the wrong medication due to a mistake that should have been reasonably preventable, resulting in your injuries, then you will likely be able to hold the hospital liable for the nurse’s mistake.
What if the doctor who treated you is a non-employee?
Generally, two questions arise when determining hospital liability during a medical malpractice claim:
Is the provider an employee of the hospital?
If the hospital does not make it clear to you that the doctor who will be treating you is a contractor, you may potentially pursue compensation from the hospital instead of compensation just from the doctor. However, the situation is different in an emergency room scenario. For example, the hospital will not have the opportunity to inform you that the doctor is not an employee if you are unconscious.
Did the hospital knowingly hire and retain incompetent staff?
If the hospital gives staff privileges to a dangerous or incompetent doctor, even if they are an independent contractor, then you can hold the hospital liable for any resulting injuries.
Medical negligence claims can be complex, especially if you are not certain about the doctor’s work arrangement with the hospital. Knowing your legal options, however, can help you protect your rights and interests while pursuing a medical malpractice claim.