Sometimes medical professionals make mistakes. If you have suffered an injury due to medical negligence you may be entitled to compensation. Our firm can help you with a variety of medical malpractice cases, including surgical errors, emergency room malpractice, failure to diagnose, and medication errors. We strive for maximum compensation in every case. Medical malpractice is a highly complex area of law and you need to have a skilled attorney fighting for you. Contact us today.
Hospitals can be private or public organizations that can be held directly liable or "vicariously" liable for negligence of their employees. In the latter case, the hospital is deemed responsible for the malpractice of its doctors and other employees.
When a hospital hires licensed physicians, nurses, physician's assistants, and nurse practitioners, they must look into the applicant’s education, training and licensing. If a reasonable inquiry has not been completed this can constitute “corporate negligence” when that unqualified practitioner provides negligent medical care to a patient. A hospital will be held liable for negligence when they knowingly retain an unqualified staff member or fail to verify the credentials of its employees.
A sufficient number of registered nurses are required to be on duty at all times in a hospital to ensure quality patient care. If patients are harmed due to nurse shortages the hospital can be held liable. An additional cause for liability is if a hospital doctor fails to comply with instructions from the patient's private physician. On the other hand, if a hospital doctor finds fault with a private physician’s treatment plan but fails to act, the hospital can also be held liable.
Under the doctrine of "respondeat superior" a hospital can be held vicariously liable for the malpractice of an employee. Through this doctrine, the acts of an employee may create liability for their employer if they were acting under the scope of their employment when the harm occurred. In medical malpractice cases this doctrine is essential because it guarantees there is a financially responsible party who can pay any damages awarded.
There are situations where the “respondeat superior” doctrine is not applicable, such as when the physician is considered an independent contractor. In some situations, the hospital cannot be held liable for the actions of an independent contractor even when the harm occurred on the premises. However, there are other cases when a hospital can be held directly or vicariously liable for acts or omissions of independent contractors it retains to operate emergency rooms and outpatient facilities.
Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Injury
If a drug manufacturer fails to warn physicians of a drug's potential side effects or dangers the manufacturer can be held responsible for any resulting harm to a patient. Generally, a manufacturer will not be liable for a patient's injury if the doctor was informed of all the possible risks involved. The only duty of a pharmaceutical manufacturer is to provide reasonable safety and functionality of a drug before it can go on the market. Research must be put into all possible side effects of a drug before it can be distributed. Failure to disclose all the risks of a drug to a physician will make the drug “unreasonably dangerous” under product liability law and the manufacturer will be held accountable.
Typically, the prescribing physician is the “learned intermediary,” meaning that they are assumed to have acquired the appropriate information from the manufacturer and know whether a particular drug is right for a patient. Therefore, the duty of advising the patient of potential risks of a medication falls on the physician.
Seek Advice From a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you believe you have been harmed as the result of medical malpractice it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your case and advise whether you should take legal action.