When Can You Sue the Hospital for Negligence?Author: Portner & Shure
While many clients already understand that when they are injured due to the negligence of a doctor, they are able to sue that physician for medical malpractice, but can you sue a hospital for negligence?
Hospitals are often not responsible for a doctor's medical malpractice but are responsible for the negligence of their employees such as nurses, medical technicians, and staff. This means that if the hospital staff, or an employee of the hospital, is negligent and injures a patient, the hospital may be liable for that employee's negligence if that employee was acting under the scope of their employment. This means that so long as the employee was performing a duty of their job at the hospital and that employee acts negligently, the hospital may be liable for the employee's negligent actions. Unless a doctor is an employee of the hospital, the hospital is not liable for the negligence of the doctor.
In order to determine if a doctor is an employee of the hospital, one must look to the nature of the doctor's relationship with that hospital. It is likely that the doctor is an employee of the hospital if the hospital controls the doctor's hours and leave time or if the hospital sets the fees that the doctor charges. In cases where the doctor is an employee and the doctor is negligent and commits medical malpractice, the hospital may also be held liable for the negligence of that doctor.
Finally, there are some specific instances where the hospital staff may not be liable for the negligence of its employees. In cases where there is negligence and (1) a doctor was present, and (2) the doctor had control to prevent the employee's negligence, the doctor may be liable for the employee's negligence and the hospital may not be liable at all
Negligence can be confusing and hard to understand due to the complexity of the law. In order to gain the best advantage, it is advised that you see an experienced medical malpractice attorney to assist you with your case.