Can a Hospital Be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on August 20, 2018  in Medical Malpractice News. Updated on March 2, 2022

empty bed in hospitalHospitals, like health care providers, can be held liable when a patient suffers an injury or death as a result of medical negligence. However, there are several factors you must be able to prove before you can recover compensation for a medical malpractice claim.

Lynch Law Firm, PC’s New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers understand how difficult it can be to hold a hospital or medical facility liable for negligence. We have represented numerous medical malpractice victims and will not hesitate to pursue every legal option available to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Below, we have provided several aspects of a medical malpractice claim we examine to find out if a hospital is at fault for a patients injuries. To find out more about hospital negligence, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Hospital’s Duty of Care to Patients

Hospitals have a legal duty to ensure patients under their care are provided adequate medical treatment and facilities to recover from their injuries and ailments. A hospital must apply up-to-date medical procedures, security initiatives and employ trained staff members that tend to patients’ needs.

Additional responsibilities hospitals have to ensure patients’ safety include:

  • Hiring appropriately trained health care providers and staff members
  • Providing adequate supervision of its employees
  • Overseeing all medical procedures within the hospital
  • Maintaining operating equipment
  • Maintaining a sterile and sanitary environment
  • Repairing or replacing faulty equipment

Although you may suffer an injury while being treated in a hospital, it does not meant the hospital is liable for your damages. You must be able to prove the hospital or a staff member’s negligence caused you to suffer an injury.

When is a Hospital Liable for Medical Malpractice?

When a patient is under a hospitals care, the facility must operate at a level that meets the medical community’s standards for treating patients. This means the hospital or its staff members cannot cause the patient harm as a result of negligence.

However, patients are often harmed when a hospital fails to uphold its obligation. There are several factors that may contribute to hospital negligence, including:

  • Incompetent or improperly trained staff – Hospitals are required to hire competent staff members who are qualified to perform the essential functions of their job. This requires looking into the educational and experience background of health care providers who apply for jobs. Additionally, hospitals have an ongoing duty to discipline or terminate staff members who are not able to perform their required duties.
  • Understaffing – Hospitals must ensure there are enough staff members to tend to the needs of patients. If a hospital lacks enough qualified staff members to care for or treat patients’, it can be held liable for any resulting injuries or death.
  • Unsanitary conditions – Hospitals can be held liable for medical malpractice if they fail to implement and maintain procedures to keep the hospital sterile. Patients may develop infections and other medical conditions in a hospital setting that is not clean or sterile.
  • Failing to protect the safety of patients – Hospitals must also take measures to protect the safety of patients, such as carefully maintaining patient medical records, correcting safety problems in the hospital such as removing fall hazards and properly administering medications.

Is the Doctor an Employee?

Many health care providers who work in a hospital are not actual employees. Instead, they are considered independent contractors who treat patients in a hospital but are not subjected to its rules or oversight. In this situation, the health care provider, and not the hospital, would be liable for any injury or death suffered by the patient.

It may be difficult for most people to determine the difference between a hospital employee and a health care provider who acts as an independent contractor. When reviewing your medical malpractice claim, an attorney will consider the following factors to determine if the doctor is an employee:

  • What degree of control does the hospital have over the health care provider?
  • Is the hospital responsible for setting the doctor’s hours and fees?
  • Does the health care provider receive benefits from the hospital, as an employee would?
  • How is the health care provider compensated for his or her work?

An experienced medical malpractice attorney can investigation the employment relationship between the negligent health care provider and the hospital to determine which party can be held liable for the patient’s injury.

Contact Lynch Law Firm, PC for a Free Consultation

In New Jersey, you only have a two-year statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice claim after being injured by medical negligence.

For this reason, it is imperative that you contact a trusted personal injury lawyer in New Jersey who can help you determine if you have a medical malpractice case. Lynch Law Firm, PC’s committed attorneys have decades of experience representing victims of negligence.

We will help you build a case that proves the hospital where you received negligent medical treatment is liable for your injury. All of our services are provided at no upfront cost and we will only charge you if we recover compensation for your claim. There is no risk in contacting us to find out if you have a case.

Call (800) 518-0508 to get started.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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