When Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Hospital for Medical Malpractice?

doctor in hallway at hospitalVictims of medical malpractice often file lawsuits against the health care professional who provided substandard care. However, there are situations when the hospital or medical facility where you were treated could have contributed to malpractice and be held liable.

Our Savannah medical malpractice attorneys will evaluate your claim to determine if the hospital or medical facility where you were treated could be held liable. If so, we will pursue all of the compensation you are entitled. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation today.

Vicarious Liability

Under this legal doctrine, hospitals can be held vicariously liable for medical malpractice committed by the hospital’s employees, if they were acting inside the scope of their employment when negligence occurred.

For instance, hospitals could be held liable for the actions of any of the following health care professionals if they are employees of the hospital:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Therapists
  • Medical technicians
  • Support staff
  • Other health care providers

Hospitals can be held liable for a variety of negligent actions by these health care professionals, including:

  • Failing to properly monitor a patient
  • Not taking patient vital signs when needed
  • Failing to review medical records for patient information
  • Operating on the wrong body part or performing the wrong operation
  • Giving a patient the wrong medication or wrong dose of a medication
  • Failing to diagnose a patient
  • Not responding to a call from a patient
  • Not checking bedridden patients for bedsores or failing to rotate them on a regular basis

How to Determine if a Doctor Is an Employee

It can be difficult to build a case based on vicarious liability because many health care providers are not directly employed by the hospital where they work. Many physicians are independent contractors who may work at a number of hospitals as well as a private practice. In many cases, hospitals cannot be held responsible for negligence committed by non-employees, such as independent contractors.

Determining if a doctor is an employee of the hospital or medical facility can be difficult. Our attorneys must look for factors that indicate an employment relationship between the facility and the health care provider. For example, any of the following factors may indicate an employment relationship:

  • The hospital sets the fees charged by the doctor
  • The hospital has significant control over payment to the doctor
  • The hospital controls the hours a doctor works
  • The hospital has significant control over the doctor’s job conditions

Can Hospitals ever be Held Liable for Actions of Non-Employees?

Hospitals may still be held liable for malpractice committed by independent contractor doctors in certain situations:

  • If the hospital appears to be the doctor’s employer – For example, maybe the hospital failed to make it clear to the patient that the doctor is not employed by the hospital. This may happen in situations involving emergency room care as patients may not be informed that a doctor is not an employee.
  • If the hospital continues to give privileges to an incompetent doctor – If the hospital is aware that a doctor who was previously competent has become dangerous or incompetent yet does not revoke his or her privileges, the hospital can be held liable for the doctor’s malpractice even if he or she is an independent contractor.

Get Help with Your Medical Malpractice Claim

If you were injured due to the substandard care provided by a health care professional or medical facility, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Our firm’s Savannah hospital negligence lawyers are skilled in handling claims against hospitals and will work to recover maximum compensation for you.

Request a free, no obligation consultation and learn what legal options are available in your case. There are no upfront fees and payment is only owed to our firm if we recover compensation in your case.