Hospitals are not entitled to offer their patients five-star service. But there are certain basics that must be adhered to, which includes zero malpractices. When a hospital is guilty of malpractice, the patient can sue the hospital for the act. If the facility is collectively responsible for the wrongdoing, then one can sue a hospital for medical malpractice. However, if a particular doctor’s medical negligence is the problem, the subsequent steps would depend on the relationship that exists between the practitioner and the facility.
Hospitals and Medical Malpractice – Determining Who is Responsible Legally
It’s important to specifically ascertain who is at fault, since medical negligence happened in a hospital doesn’t necessarily mean the facility is legally responsible. A hospital, generally speaking, like any other employer, is liable for its employees’ negligence, but not for an independent contractor’s negligence.
Typically, medical technicians, nurses, support staff, etc. are employees of the hospital. In case a patient gets injured during treatment by a hospital staff, the patient could sue the facility for the physical and mental grievances accrued. However, most doctors are not employees of a hospital, but independent contractors. Therefore, if the injuries were caused due to an independent doctor’s medical negligence, the medical malpractice claim should then be directly against the doctor and not the hospital.
To make sure evidence witnesses are available, and to prohibit claimants from unnecessarily delaying the process of seeking compensation for the injuries suffered, states impose stringent statutory time limits, called statutes of limitations, on the lawsuits filed. While these periods could vary across states, the window is usually one to three years, starting from the date of negligence. If the client does not file a lawsuit within this period, the claim would likely not be entertained.
Paperwork Should Be in Place
To prevent baseless medical malpractice lawsuits getting filed, many states in America now need patients to file ‘affidavit of merit’ or ‘certificate of merit’ alongside initial lawsuit paperwork. Preparing this certificate entails seeking the assistance of a professional medical witness to assess pertinent medical records and state under oath that the hospital deviated from the norm, leading to injuries. The medical practice lawyer would be familiar with such a filing requisite and other procedural protocols that the medical malpractice plaintiffs should conform to.
Seeking an Attorney’s Help
Often, medical malpractice lawsuits are tremendously complex, which makes self-representation for most plaintiffs a non-option. An experienced lawyer would assist with navigating the medical, procedural and legal nuances of a lawsuit and would retain ideal expert medical witnesses to strengthen the case.
The majority of medical malpractice lawyers function as per a contingency fee arrangement, which means the client will not have to pay the attorney out-of-pocket. The lawyer would instead get a portion of any amount the client gets rewarded within court or outside court, as out-of-court settlement.
The process of bringing medical malpractice to books and winning the case is quite an overwhelming task. But it’s all worth it in the end if there’s an actual case of malpractice, as reporting such practices would make healthcare better for other people in the future.