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Can I Sue for Hospital Negligence?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

We tend to think of hospitals as places we go to get well. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. And if you've suffered from substandard care in a hospital, you may be wondering if you can sue the hospital.

Hospitals that fail to provide patients with a standard of care can be sued for negligence. They can be held directly liable for their own negligence, but could also be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees. Here is what hospital negligence looks like:

Hospital Negligence

A hospital hires a medical staff consisting of licensed physicians and health care providers, including nurses, physician's assistants, and nurse practitioners. If a hospital failed to make reasonable inquiries when hiring its medical staff, and a staff member's negligent care injures a patient, the hospital could be held liable for negligent supervision or retention. Hospitals may also be liable for patient injuries if employees fail to follow the orders of a patient's physician.

Hospitals are also required to ensure that there is a sufficient medical staff on duty at all times to maintain quality patient care, and may be held liable for injuries to patients resulting from a staff shortage. And hospitals, like any other business, can be sued for slip and falls on their premises.

Vicarious Liability

When a hospital employee's malpractice injures a patient, the hospital itself may be held vicariously liable under the legal doctrine whereby employers are held liable for the negligent acts of their employees. This doctrine is especially important in medical malpractice cases, because it usually means a financially responsible party will compensate an injured plaintiff.

Vicarious liability could be limited if a hospital employs medical staff as independent contractors rather than employees, but generally a hospital can still be vicariously or directly liable for the acts or omissions of medical contractors it employs to operate emergency rooms and outpatient facilities.

If you've been injured due to hospital negligence, you should contact an experienced injury attorney to discuss your claim.

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