When you are forced to go to a hospital, it seems reasonable to expect that they’re going to give you the attention and care you deserve with no errors that could lead to detrimental consequences. Unfortunately these things happen somewhat often and when they do, you may be wondering what options for recourse you have available. Do you have to hold the individuals who took care of you responsible, or can you accuse the entire hospital as a whole? On this blog, we’ll answer that question.
Hospitals are Liable for Employees
Businesses are typically responsible for the conduct of their employees, so when an employee of a business causes harm to another person, the company is usually the one liable to be sued. This concept holds true for hospitals, so you could hold the hospital itself liable for the conduct that any of its doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other staff members took part in which led to your injury. While not every mistake that leads to harm to a patient is negligence, you should speak with a Springfield medical malpractice attorney to find out if you might have reasonable grounds for a medical malpractice case.
Are They An Employee?
If the worker who treated you is an employee of the hospital, then the hospital is directly responsible for their conduct. However, whether the worker is an employee of the hospital isn’t as clear as you might think. Hospitals are filled with all types of workers, including numerous independent contractors and even private practitioners who simply operate out of the hospital’s facility. If one of these individuals is negligent in your care, then the hospital is not liable for the harm they do to you—they’re responsible for themselves, and thus you should file a medical malpractice claim against them directly.
Generally, a doctor, nurse, or other worker is a hospital employee if the hospital sets their work schedule, has control over what fees they can charge, awards their vacation time, and several other factors. Doctors who set these factors on their own are independent contractors.
However, hospitals are not completely immune from the conduct of their independent contractors. If a hospital allows an incompetent doctor or independent nurse to remain on staff, then they can still be held responsible for allowing that doctor to practice at their facility. In this instance, you could still hold them responsible for the conduct, but this is much more difficult to prove.