Who Can Be Sued Under Medical Malpractice Laws?

Medical malpractice happens when you or a loved one sustains an injury resulting from a medical professional’s lack of expertise, wrong decision-making, or poor service. Basically, this means that if a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or therapist makes a poor decision or mistake while providing medical care, and you become injured as a result, then you may have reason to contact medical malpractice attorneys at Wapner Newman for a medical malpractice case. A medical malpractice case generally occurs when a health professional provides substandard medical services to a patient, causing either injury or death. Although this may seem like a simple cut-and-dry situation, it can be difficult to determine if you have a medical malpractice claim. Here is what you need to know about medical malpractice and who can be sued.

Obtain Affidavit’s

Before starting a medical malpractice claim, you have to get one or more affidavits from professional witnesses that will agree to confirm, on record that medical professional did indeed commit medical malpractice. Obtaining these documents is usually time-consuming and costly because professionals typically charge a specific fee just to review your records and to provide a sworn statement indicating that your situation actually falls under the umbrella of medical malpractice.

Breach in Care

In order to ensure you have a chance of winning your medical malpractice case, the claim needs to show a clear breach of the standard of health care. In the majority of situations, the winning cases were successful because of undeniable and obvious misconduct on the part of the medical provider, which resulted in a significant loss such as extreme medical bills or even loss of the patient.

Legal Representation

A successful medical malpractice claim can cause insurance providers to take a significant loss in costs and reputation, so they are not going to willingly lose. The insurance provider will spend a significant amount of time and money in their defense in order to avoid the loss. So, this means it is essential that you have legal representation that is experienced in dealing with medical malpractice claims.

The Doctors and Other Medical Professionals

Basically, anyone from an anesthesiologist to the surgeon, that provides medical care may be liable for medical malpractice. Doctors and other medical professionals may include:

  • Nurses-Just like doctors, nurses have licensing requirements and standards that they are required to uphold. If they fail to follow their professional duties, they may be held liable for a medical malpractice claim.
  • Nursing agencies-In some situations even a nursing agency may be the subject of a medical malpractice claim, particularly if a medical facility outsources its nurses. If a medical malpractice incident involves an outsourced nurse, the nursing agency may be held liable.
  • Medical technicians-This group may include technicians that do blood work, a pharmacy technician that gave you the wrong prescription, the pharmacist that incorrectly filled the prescription, or the ultrasound technician that falsely reported something identified on a scan.
  • Doctors-This is a large category and may include everyone from a family physician that incorrectly diagnosed and treated you to a surgeon that conducted the wrong or “unfit” surgery.

Hospitals and Other Medical Facilities

In some situations, there may be cause to sue the hospital or other medical facility for the actions of the physician and/or another medical professional. Basically, when employees of any type are acting on behalf of or working for an employer, then the employer may also be held liable for mistakes made by the employees. This is because an employee is thought to be an agent of their employer, so anything that the employees do is the representation of the employer.

However, there are certain expectations that apply to this rule, so it’s essential that you consult with a knowledgeable lawyer to help you determine who should be sued in this type of situation. This basic rule typically applies to hospitals as well as other medical facilities, such as same-day surgical centers. If someone is injured while doing their job, the hospital or medical facility may be liable; however, if the employee is acting outside their responsibilities, then the medical facility may not be included in the lawsuit.

Suing the Hospital/Medical Facility and the Doctor

It is common for people to not realize that some doctors at a hospital are not employees of the hospital, but instead independent contractors. As an independent contractor, the doctor is able to have more control over their practice, including the patients they see and the hours they work. In most situations, unless outsourced, medical technicians and nurses are usually employees of the hospital where they work, which means the hospital/medical facility may be sued for their errors, but not mistakes made by the doctor.

In this type of situation, the injured patient would have to sue the physician directly and the medical facility may or may not be involved in the lawsuit. Also, if the employee, such as a nurse, is working directly under the physician’s supervision, the hospital may or may not be held liable. Instead, depending on the situation, the physician may be held directly liable for the employee.

When questioning who can be sued in a medical malpractice case, it’s important to understand that it all depends on the individual circumstances of the case. It is extremely important that you file the lawsuit against the appropriate parties involved, or you may risk losing the entire case based on a simple, yet unavoidable technicality. An attorney experienced in medical malpractice cases can help you determine who should be involved in the medical malpractice lawsuit.

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