When people are hurt by a doctor or surgeon’s medical malpractice, they may understandably assume that the hospital has some sort of accountability for what happened. After all, if you slipped and fell in a retail store due to a clerk leaving a puddle of water on the ground, the parent company or employer would be found liable. However, you might be surprised to find that doctors are rarely employees of a specific hospital, and so hospitals are rarely liable for their mistakes.
Employee Negligence & Independent Contracts
In the average hospital, the only employees in the building who could be linked to a medical malpractice case are nurses, medical technicians, and medical support staff members. If one of these three parties causes a patient harm, the negligence can be traced back to the hospital, usually due to a lack of adequate training and safety precautions. If a doctor causes injury, though, it is a different situation since doctors are almost-always independent contractors. Even if the doctor has a lab coat with their name and the name of the hospital on it, this doesn’t guarantee they are an employee there. Due to this loophole in the employment system, the majority of medical malpractice cases are filed directly against doctors.
Can a Hospital Ever Be Liable for Injuries?
The difficulty surrounding suing a hospital for negligence by no means makes hospitals immune from lawsuits based on the actions of a doctor. If there is evidence to suggest that a doctor is not suited for work, such as making surgical errors, missed diagnoses, or some sort of drug addiction, they hospital could be held accountable for any wrongdoing they do while working there. This is true even if the doctor is an independent contractor.
If an emergency room error occurs and it leads to serious injuries, the hospital might also be seen as liable. This is due to the patient never being told that the doctors helping them were independent contractors.
If you need help creating a lawsuit against a negligent hospital or medical practitioner that harmed you or a loved one, you can call 614.321.3212 to connect with Rourke and Blumenthal. Our Columbus medical malpractice attorneys can hear your case details for FREE during a complimentary consultation.