Medical malpractice claims are based on the strong suspicion that a healthcare professional’s negligence in administering the standard medical care and treatment has caused harm to the person receiving treatment. The question arises if the patient, who is receiving healthcare services in a hospital, can sue the facility for medical malpractice. Hospitals are often in big trouble for inept medical care provided by their employees. However, they are not often held responsible for a doctor’s negligence.
In this blog, we will inspect when a healthcare service center is (and also when it is not) liable for medical malpractice committed by doctors, nurses and other employees working at the facility.
Hospitals Responsible for Employee Actions
Under “Respondent Superior”, a time-tested legal theory, if someone is an employee of a hospital, the hospital is legally liable for the harm suffered by any patient due to the employee’s incompetent action. It implies if the employee’s negligence (which means he is not careful while treating or handling the patient), is the cause of the injury, the hospital can be held liable for any harm to the patient. However, not every mistake or unfortunate incident in the hospital is accounted a medical malpractice, unless ‘negligence’ is the cause of what happened.
As long as a hospital employee is busy with job-related work, for any harm caused due to his or her incompetence, the injured patient is entitled to sue the hospital for his or her pain and suffering. If a hospital employee, directly responsible for the malpractice, commits the mistake while working under a doctor’s supervision, the injured has the rights to bring a lawsuit against the doctor but the healthcare center may not be on the hook.
Whether the Treating Doctor is a Staff of the Hospital
It’s an important question whether the patient can sue the hospital staff when a physician administers substandard care which harms the patient. Whether the treating doctor is an employee of the hospital is based on the relationship between the professional and the facility.
Not all doctors are hospital employees. Non-employee physicians are usually called as “independent contractors” in law jargon. The term means that the hospital, in case any medical malpractice happens in the hospital, cannot be held liable for the doctor’s mistake if the physician is officially affiliated with the hospital.
A physician is most likely to be an employee instead of being an independent contractor if”
- The facility enjoys the absolute right to control the professional’s working schedule and vacation time or.
- The facility sets the annual salary package the doctor can demand.
When Hospitals Are Liable for Non-Employee Doctors’ Actions
Even if a hospital is generally not responsible for an independent contractor doctor’s mistake, which is infamously called medical malpractice, the facility might be sued in certain circumstances.
- Hospital seems to have employed the doctor
- Hospital has an independent doctor on its staff board.
Words of Wisdom
If you are convinced that you have a medical malpractice case against the hospital where you received treatment, consult a medical malpractice lawyer in Miami, FL before filing a lawsuit.