If you have suffered unnecessary harm at the hands of a medical professional, it can be both physically and emotionally devastating. Patients like you may want to hold someone responsible for their injuries but may be unsure who to go after in a court of law. The concept of medical malpractice is not limited to just doctors, but other health care professionals and facilities as well.
That leaves the question: who can be sued in your medical malpractice case? Hospitals are often listed on many malpractice claims. Hospitals are considered to be corporations that are either public or private entities. Hospitals can be held liable for their medical negligence or the negligence of their employees. When a hospital is held responsible for the negligence of a doctor or other staff member, this is referred to as vicarious liability.
When making hiring decisions, hospitals are required to conduct some form of background check to look further into an applicant’s education and training. Failure to do so may leave the hospital liable under the corporate negligence doctrine for negligent supervision if a patient is injured as a result.
Hospitals also must make sure that there is a sufficient number of nurses working at all times to ensure that the patients are properly taken care of. If there is a shortage of staff, and a patient is injured as a result, hospitals may be liable.
As mentioned previously, hospitals may be liable for employee negligence under vicarious liability. Vicarious liability under the “respondeat superior” doctrine holds hospitals responsible if the employee acted within the scope of his employment at the time of the incident. Physicians can sometimes be considered independent contractors, in which case, the hospital would not be held liable for the doctor’s negligence.
Each medical malpractice case is different. An experienced legal team may be able to help you determine who can be held liable in your case.
Source: FindLaw, “Medical Malpractice: Who Can Be Sued?,” accessed on Sept. 15, 2015