If a person is hurt while being treated in a hospital, can they sue the facility for medical malpractice or negligence? Though hospitals are usually responsible for incompetent care offered by medical techs and nurses, they are not often held liable for a doctor’s malpractice. Here, readers can learn when hospitals are (and aren’t) responsible for the medical errors committed by doctors, anesthesiologists, and other providers.
Hospitals are Responsible for Employees’ Actions
If a provider is employed by a hospital, that facility is responsible if a patient is hurt because of the provider’s incompetent actions. Simply put, if an employee is negligent, the hospital must compensate the patient for his or her injuries. As long as an employee is acting within the scope of his or her employment when an injury occurs, the patient can file a claim against the hospital. If a physician’s mistake injures a patient, the facility is not responsible for the damages unless the doctor is employed by the hospital.
Is the Doctor an Employee?
This is the important question when a Medical Malpractice Attorney determines whether a hospital can be held liable when a physician provides poor-quality care and a patient is harmed as a result. Whether the physician is an employee depends on his or her relationship with the hospital. Though some doctors are employees, most are independent contractors in a legal sense, which means the facility cannot be held liable for the doctor’s malpractice. A doctor is likely to be considered an employee if:
* The facility controls their vacation time and work hours
* The hospital controls the fees charged by the doctor
Exceptions to the Rule
Even if a facility would not normally be held liable for a doctor’s malpractice, it can be held responsible in some situations. If the hospital doesn’t make it clear to patients that a doctor isn’t an employee, the patient can sue the facility for malpractice. Things are different for those injured in the ER, as the staff typically has no chance to tell the patient the doctor isn’t an employee. An ER patient can usually sue for a doctor’s mistakes. It is important for victims to get advice and legal representation from a Medical Malpractice Attorney because the law is complex and varies by jurisdiction. Consult the team at Edwards & Bullard Law today.
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