Hospitals across the country have attempted to protect themselves from medical malpractice suits by classifying doctors who work there as independent contractors rather than employees. Under the law, an employer is liable for the acts of its employee, but most times is not liable for the acts of an independent contractor. Though patients often think of the doctor as a member of the hospital staff without a second thought, some of the consent forms signed during a hospital stay expressly state that the doctor is an independent contractor. This may act as a bar to success in a lawsuit for malpractice committed by a doctor in a hospital setting.
Before releasing a hospital from liability for medical malpractice, be sure to examine the contract with the doctor and the admissions forms. Certain factual scenarios will still allow for a cause of action to be brought against the facility for hospital malpractice.
Hospital Employee Errors Can Lead to Hospital Liability
Other hospital employee errors can trigger liability for the hospital as well. The hospital, as an employer, may be responsible for errors by hospital employees, such as nurses, hospital staff and pharmacists. Improper dispensing of medication, lab errors and poor sterilization techniques that lead to infection are all sources of liability for the hospital. Inadequate training, supervision and staffing may also support claims for hospital malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Cases Require In-Depth Investigation
Usually, when dealing with a claim for medical malpractice, the injuries will be significant. Long-term care, future surgery, extensive physical therapy and other treatment can all be very expensive. Often, the doctor or person who committed the malpractice does not carry insurance. Therefore, to improve the likelihood of fair financial recovery for the injured person, it is very important to conduct a thorough investigation into the practices, policies and procedures of the hospital. Sometimes, a suit against the hospital for medical malpractice will be the only hope for a recovery.
An Attorney Can Help
For guidance and an evaluation of your legal rights after a possible incident of hospital malpractice, contact a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney, like those at Greenberg Stone and Urbano An experienced hospital malpractice lawyer can assess your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve. For more information, visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
Related Resource: ABC News “Medical Errors: Past and Present“