When to include a hospital in your medical malpractice suit
May 11, 2018
After suffering injuries from medical malpractice, it is not always easy to determine who is liable for the harm and on the hook for compensating you fairly. In many cases, this may include the hospital where the injury occurred — but not always. Before you assume you can include the hospital in your claim, it is wise to carefully examine the relationship of the hospital to the doctor or other medical care provider that caused your injury. You’ll also want to look into other ways that the hospital may hold liability due to negligence or other egregious actions.
Building a strong claim takes time, but you only have a limited amount of time to file your claim before the window to do so closes. If you have any grounds for a medical malpractice suit, you should examine the hospital’s roll in the injury very carefully. Without taking special care to build your claim effectively, you may not receive the full compensation that you deserve, or may overlook vital protections to your rights throughout the process.
Did the hospital’s negligence cause the injury?
Hospitals are complex operations with many moving parts, both literally and figuratively. If the hospital where you suffered your injury did not properly maintain its facilities and staff, then it may face liability for your injury due to negligence.
Hospital negligence takes several forms. Of course, if your injury occurred because of unsafe conditions within the facility, the hospital’s negligence should be easy to identify. However, the facility may also face negligence liability if it did not properly vet its staff or keep sufficient care providers on site.
This may mean that the doctor who performed the procedure that injured you misrepresented his or her credentials, which the hospital should catch before ever employing a candidate. Similarly, if the hospital keep fewer nurses on the floor than it should have according to regulations, it may face liability for failing to maintain proper staffing.
Employee or independent contractor?
In some cases, doctors who work in a hospital are not actually employees of the hospital, but are only independent contractors working within the hospital. If so, then the hospital may not hold liability for your injury.
However, if the doctor is an employee, then you may have grounds to include the hospital in the claim. In general, employers are liable for the actions of their employees, so it is common to include a hospital in a suit that involves its employee. This is often beneficial, because hospitals carry much larger insurance policies than individual practitioners.
Your medical malpractice claim deserves all the time, energy and resources you can give it to ensure that your rights and priorities remain secure while you pursue fair compensation for your injury. Be mindful to carefully consider all the potential defendants as you build your claim, increasing the chances of securing complete compensation for all of your losses.