Suing the Hospital For Medical Malpractice

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are injured or become ill during the course of treatment at a hospital, do you sue the doctor or the hospital? It’s a question many people ask, as they are unsure which route to take. While your medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand the details of the situation, the following are some basics to keep in mind.

Employed or Contracted?

One of the first things you should look into if you are injured by a doctor in a hospital is whether the doctor is employed or contracted by the hospital. The hospital is only liable for employees. In many hospitals, nurses and other similar staff members are actual employees, while doctors are contracted with the hospital. Because of that, you would not be able to sue the hospital if the doctor was not an actual employee.

How do you know if a doctor is an employee? You could just ask the doctor or the staff on duty. It should also be in writing somewhere, possibly in the paperwork you filled out on your first visit. Some other clues that indicate the doctor is an actual employee are if the doctor’s work and vacation hours are controlled by the hospital, and if the hospital controls fees the doctor is allowed to charge. If the doctor controls those things, he is more than likely contracted with the hospital instead.

A Couple Exceptions

As with almost anything in life, there are some exceptions when you could sue a hospital for a doctor’s negligence. If the doctor appears to be employed by the hospital, you may have a case against the hospital. This almost never happens because most admission forms are clear about the doctor not being an employee. When it does happen, it’s generally in an emergency room situation in which the hospital staff doesn’t have a chance to inform every patient that comes through the door about the doctor’s employment status.

Another exception is when the hospital knowingly allows an incompetent doctor to work at their facility. Even if the doctor is independent from the hospital, the hospital has a duty to ensure all doctors contracted with them agree to safety practices. If the doctor violates policies, hospital management should not keep him or her at the hospital. If the doctor does remain and causes harm to a patient, that patient may be able to go after the hospital.

Getting Your Lawyer’s Help

When your doctor makes a mistake, you should know what to do and where to turn. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to get the help of a medical malpractice lawyer. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer, today for assistance.


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