When Can a Hospital be Held Liable for Medical Negligence?
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Dec 07, 2018 in Medical Negligence
Most medical malpractice cases deal with doctors and other medical professionals who injured patients by acting negligently. However, sometimes medical facilities and hospitals are held liable for malpractice.
If you believe that you were injured by a negligent hospital or medical facility, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Milwaukee for assistance. The attorneys at PKSD are well-versed in all aspects of medical malpractice law. We can discuss your particular circumstances and help determine if the hospital may be legally liable for your injuries.
A hospital can be held liable for the actions of its employees under the legal principle of vicarious liability. Various staff members of the hospital may be employees, including nurses, paramedics, medical technicians and support staff. If the injury occurs within the scope of employment, the injured victim may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the hospital for compensation for the damages that he or she suffered.
Some actions that can lead to hospital liability include:
- Giving the wrong medication to a patient
- Not checking on a patient regularly
- Not running necessary tests
- Not asking about a patient’s medication history or allergies
- Misdiagnosing a patient
A hospital can also be held liable for negligent hiring. The hospital is responsible for ensuring that its employees are properly credentialed and have the necessary experience and education to perform their job duties in a competent manner. The hospital is also responsible for training its staff. Hospitals should also check employee backgrounds for problems such as drug addiction or the commission of crimes against patients.
Hospitals must follow appropriate screening procedures before they grant employees privileges to work with patients. State and national standards have been developed that provide recommended screening procedures.
Hospitals can also be held liable for keeping an employee on staff who is negligent. A hospital may be aware of patient complaints or other problems that a particular health care provider showed signs of lacking competence.
What if the Medical Provider Was Not an Employee?
Doctors are often not employees of the hospital and hospitals may sometimes be able to shift liability to the doctor for this reason. Many doctors are considered independent contractors. However, sometimes doctors are employees of the hospital. Whether a doctor is an employee of the hospital depends on the relationship between the doctor and the hospital. A few characteristics that suggest the doctor is a hospital employee include:
- The hospital controls the doctor’s working hours
- The hospital has an employment contract with the doctor
- The hospital provides paid time off, vacation time and other benefits to the doctor
- The hospital sets the fees the doctor can charge
When Are Hospitals Liable for Non-Employee Actions?
Hospitals may be held liable for the actions of a non-employee in some limited instances. For example, if a patient was led to believe a doctor was an employee, the hospital could potentially be held liable.
Additionally, a hospital can be held liable if it gives staff privileges to a doctor who is not competent or who is dangerous. Medical facilities can also be held liable if they should have known a doctor was incompetent or dangerous and kept him or her on staff anyway.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe that your injuries stem from a negligent doctor hired by a hospital or the negligence of the hospital itself, it is important that you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can walk you through your legal options. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer can investigate your claim to determine which parties may have contributed to your injuries.
PKSD offers a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options. We charge no upfront fees and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you do not pay any attorney’s fees unless we help you recover on your claim.