Can I Sue a Hospital for Medical Malpractice?
A victim of medical malpractice can be left with heavy financial burdens from medical expenses and an inability to work. Additionally, a medical malpractice victim may be left with emotional pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life that may not have occurred had he or she received proper treatment in the first place. If you received negligent care while at a hospital, you may be left wondering what parties can be held accountable and what damages you may be able to receive.
Typically, a hospital can be held accountable for the negligent actions of its staff. If someone is an employee of a hospital, the hospital is can he held liable for damages if that employee hurts a patient by acting incompetently. In other words, if the employee is not reasonably cautious when treating or dealing with a patient, the hospital is responsible for any resulting injuries to the patient.
Generally, nurses, medical technicians and paramedics are hospital employees. As long as the employee was doing something within the scope of employment when he or she injured the patient, the patient can file a lawsuit against the hospital. For example, if a nurse improperly administers medication and that results in an injury to a patient, then the hospital can be held liable for the nurse’s negligence.
Also, if a hospital employee commits malpractice while under a doctor’s supervision, the patient can sue the doctor, while the hospital may not have any liability. Whether an employee is under the supervision of the doctor when the misdeed occurs depends on whether or not a doctor was present at the time and whether or not the doctor could have prevented the action. For instance, a surgeon may be liable if a nurse incorrectly counts the surgical sponges, resulting in the surgeon leaving one of the sponges in the patient.
However, if a doctor makes a mistake and injures a patient while working in the hospital, the hospital will not be liable for the doctor’s negligence unless the doctor is an employee, which is unlikely in most cases. Whether or not a doctor is a hospital employee depends on the nature of his or her relationship with the hospital. A doctor is more likely to be employed by a hospital if the hospital makes the doctor’s schedule and controls vacation time, or the hospital determines the fees the doctor can charge. Otherwise, doctors are considered independent contractors, which means that the hospital cannot be held responsible for the doctor’s medical malpractice, even if it occurred in the hospital.
However, misdiagnoses can be a common occurrence in an emergency room. If this is the case, then a hospital may be liable for the mistakes made by emergency room staff, which can include doctors in certain circumstances. For more information regarding your rights in emergency room malpractice claims, consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
As with any medical malpractice claim, expert witness testimony will be required in order to show that any reasonable medical professional under similar circumstances would not have made the same mistakes. Medical malpractice claims often involve complex medical and legal issues. If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, you need to assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Remember that, in Florida, there are limits on how much you can receive for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to get the compensation you deserve, contact a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney from Wolf & Pravato – 1-954-633-8270.