Every day, patients and their families place their lives in the hands of doctors, nurses, residents, and other care professionals, trusting that they will care for them and restore them to good health. However, healthcare professionals at times make careless mistakes that may cause injuries, and sometimes death, to patients.
If you or anyone close to you has been injured owing to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you may be eligible for legal compensation for your injuries. The best way to successfully sue a hospital for negligence is by partnering with a Morris Bart medical malpractice lawyer.
What Are the Main Types of Hospital Negligence?
There are different types of medical negligence claims. Any hospital employee may be the source of this negligence. The following employees may be held responsible for cases of medical negligence:
- Hospital admins
The following are some of the common examples of medical negligence:
1. A Lack of Supervision
This is whereby the healthcare professional in charge fails to properly supervise a very ill or injured patient, causing them to fall or sustain serious injuries.
2. Medication Errors
Such errors arise when doctors prescribe the wrong medication to a patient, give the patient an underdose or an overdose, or fail to consider potential adverse side-effects of the medication. Furthermore, a hospital may be sued for negligence if the doctor does not consider a patient’s medical history before prescribing certain medications.
3. Not Calling a Doctor
Failing to report an emergency case or failing to immediately call a doctor in the case of a potential complication, resulting in further injuries or damage can amount to medical negligence.
4. Nursing Negligence
A hospital may be sued for medical negligence if the nurse does not inform the doctor of a serious complaint or fails to attend to the patient’s needs.
5. Resident Negligence
This includes the failure of the supervising doctor to properly monitor residents in training.
In case you get an injury or suffer damages due to negligence, you have between two to six years to sue the healthcare facility for hospital negligence. This is called the statute of limitations, and it differs from one state to the next.
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When Are Hospitals Held Liable for Employee’s Actions?
Hospitals are held accountable if an employee causes injuries and damages to a patient by acting negligently. In simpler terms, the hospital is usually held liable for any injuries to a patient resulting from their employee’s negligence. Provided the employee was carrying out a job-related task when the injury happened, the patient can sue the health facility for any injuries or damages.
It is important to note that in a majority of cases, the hospital will only be liable for a doctor’s negligent actions if the doctor is employed by the facility. Also, if a hospital employee carries out a negligent act under the doctor’s supervision, the patient may sue the doctor. In such a case, the healthcare facility may be off the hook.
Here is how to know if the employee was under the doctor’s supervision when the mistake was made:
- The doctor was physically present in the room.
- The doctor could have done something to prevent the injury but chose not to. Case in point, a surgeon may be held responsible if an attending nurse wrongly counts surgical sponges, making the surgeon leave a sponge in the patient.
Is the Doctor Employed by the Hospital?
This is the most important question to ask yourself before suing a hospital for negligence when a doctor offers substandard care that leads to injuries or damage. It is worth noting that, because most doctors work as independent contractors, you should first establish the relationship between the doctor and the facility.
Being an independent contractor means that in the event that the doctor causes an injury due to negligence, the hospital cannot be held accountable for its actions. This is notwithstanding the fact that medical negligence happened in the facility.
Instances When a Hospital May Be Held Responsible for the Actions of a Non-Employee Doctor
The following are examples of cases when a hospital may be sued for the actions of an independent contractor:
1. The Hospital Appeared to Be the Employer
If the hospital fails to inform the patient that the doctor is not an employee, the patient has grounds to sue the hospital for negligence if something goes wrong. In most states, this provision does not apply to patients in the emergency room, since there is limited time to inform the patient. However, in other states, a patient can sue the hospital for emergency room medical negligence carried out by a non-employee.
2. The Hospital Works with an Incompetent Staff
Some states hold healthcare facilities responsible for offering staff privileges to an incompetent doctor. For example, if the doctor has a well-known history of drug addiction but is still allowed to work in the facility as an independent contractor, the hospital will be held accountable for the doctor’s careless mistakes.
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How to Sue a Hospital for Negligence
If you have done a thorough background check and have established that your injury was caused by a hospital employee’s negligent actions, the first thing you should do is to reach out to a medical malpractice attorney. While filing a lawsuit is generally not easy, taking on a large establishment such as a health facility is even harder.
All hospitals usually have a team of highly-qualified lawyers who would do anything to reject your claim or offer you the lowest compensation possible. Therefore, you are better off hiring an attorney if you want to succeed with your lawsuit.
Get Legal Help Today
It is often advisable to seek legal advice or representation from an attorney. This is because medical malpractice law is complex, and is governed by sophisticated rules, which vary considerably by state. Morris Bart would like to guide you through the legal process of finding out how you can sue a hospital for injuries and damages sustained from an employee’s negligence.
We are a team of lawyers committed to fighting for personal injury victims in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. If you believe that you sustained injuries in hospital due to an employee’s negligence, you do not have to suffer alone. Contact us today to get the justice you deserve.
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