If you are a patient, and you, unfortunately, become a victim of a medical malpractice at a hospital, can you sue a hospital for negligence? In most cases, hospitals become liable for negligence committed by their employees, which means you have the right in suing hospitals for medical malpractices so that you can claim a substantial compensation after being given a substandard medical care.
While that may be true, there are certain cases when hospitals can not be held responsible for negligence. This is especially true when the doctors, who allegedly committed negligence, are not employees but only act as independent contractors of the hospital.
When Can You Sue a Hospital for Negligence?
Suing hospitals for medical malpractices can be done when the person, who was negligent in his or her line of medical duty, is an employee working in the hospital and is being paid by the hospital. Nurses, medical technicians, and paramedics are generally hospital employees. If a patient sustains injuries after being treated by a hospital employee, then the patient can sue the hospital to compensate for the damages.
But if the negligence was caused by a doctor who is only an independent contractor of the hospital, then the medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed directly against the doctor, not the medical facility.
There are also some instances when a patient can file a lawsuit against the hospital and the doctor. For instance, an independent contractor doctor injured a patient in the middle of a medical procedure, but the hospital was aware or should have been aware of the doctor’s incompetence, then the patient who got injured may seek negligence claims against both the doctor for the medical malpractice and the hospital for being negligent in hiring or supervising the doctor.
Considering all the circumstance, it is important to verify the medical professional’s employment status first before suing hospitals for medical malpractices. Just because a medical malpractice happens at a hospitable does not necessarily imply that the hospital should already be held liable for all the misconduct and negligence.
Statutory Time Limits for Bringing Medical Malpractice to Court
If for instance, you have decided to sue the hospital for medical malpractices, then make sure to act on it before the time limit expires. Now, what does this mean? States have imposed statutes of limitations in filing different types of lawsuits and getting them started for litigations in the state civil courts. Imposing such statutory time limits will make sure that the evidence and witnesses are still available, as well as, prevent unnecessary delays in claiming the needed compensation for the injuries.
While the statutes of limitations vary from one state to another, the statutory time limit for bringing the medical malpractice cases to the court is usually from one to three years, starting from the date when the act of negligence happened. Failure to file the case within the given time period means higher chances of having your claims dismissed. But if you can provide an acceptable reason why missed the deadline, then you may be entitled to an extension, which rarely happens.
Proving that there is Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case
How can you sue a hospital for negligence? Basically, you have to prove that there was indeed negligence from a hospital medical professional. In most cases, it is necessary for the plaintiff, and even the defendant, to have expert witnesses, i.e. other doctors or healthcare professionals, to testify or explain what a reasonably skilled doctor would have done in a similar medical scenario. Sometimes, the clinical practice guidelines provided by groups of medical professionals can be used as basis or evidence in providing the care in particular medical situation.
After getting someone to become your expert witness, the expert witness will, then, apply the standard medical procedure to your case and show how the defendant (or the alleged negligent doctor) made the mistake, which caused the injury.